Twenty years ago this week, during the year of Big Brother, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple Macintosh. Although the seminal advert (which you can view on Apple's Website here) sticks in everyone's minds, it's easy to forget just how revolutionary that little beige, boxy, Mac was. At the time, Windows version 1 was still a year away, and overlapping windows and icons on the PC would not appear for another three years, in the form of Windows 2--later to be renamed Windows 286. And of course all those early versions of Windows ran on top of the DOS command-line operating system.
It was not just the graphical user interface that set the Apple Mac apart from the competition: it was the whole ease-of-use thing. While PC owners were getting tied up with conflicting IRQs and DMAs every time they tried to plug or unplug something, on the Mac everything just, well, worked. That PCs did not work was not necessarily Microsoft's fault, and nor was it necessarily IBM's fault. It was simply a symptom of multiple companies, industry groups and interests haggling over every layer of the PC's architecture, from the system bus to the operating system.
News source: ZDNet