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When was the first Macintosh introduced?
When was the first Macintosh introduced?

The first Mac was introduced by Apple under the name Macintosh, and unveiled by Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984 An iconic computer in design, with an avant-garde graphical user interface for its time and that popularized the mouse as a control system.

The apple brand had at that time the Apple II range of personal computers, and had failed with the Apple Lisa project, so the Macintosh represented a family of more expensive equipment, but with better features.

At its launch, the first Macintosh 128K (it had 128 KB of memory) sold for $2,495, which would be equivalent to more than $5,400 if we adjust prices from 1984 to 2020.

The Macintosh revolution was to introduce the home user to a "friendly" computer, with a graphical interface and mouse control, something very striking compared to the PCs that IBM sold, based on the command console.

When was the first Macintosh introduced?
When was the first Macintosh introduced?

A "state of the art" hardware with 128 KB of RAM

The 1984 Macintosh hardware looks ancient today, but back in the day it was advanced, with the following specifications:

  1. 9-inch monochrome display with 512 x 342 pixels.
  2. Motorola 68000 8 MHz (6 MHz effective) processor.
  3. 128 KB of RAM memory.
  4. 64 KB ROM storage (boot only).
  5. 35.5-inch floppy disk drive.

The Macintosh had no true internal storage, to load the operating system System Software (macOS did not exist yet) it used a floppy disk.

It brought the programs MacPaint (for drawing) and MacWrite(a text editor), and even sold a version of Microsoft Word The window manager was called Finder, a name that is still used more than three decades later.

When was the first Macintosh introduced?
When was the first Macintosh introduced?

Given the weight of the graphical interface, the diskette (up to 400 KB) had to be kept inserted, since not all the elements could fit in the RAM, although it could be removed on occasions, for example, to save data on another floppy disk.

The design of the Macintosh was also attractive, it integrated the hardware, CRT monitor, and floppy drive in a compact package that"only" weighed 7.5 kg , to which the keyboard and mouse were connected, the latter with a single button.

An ad changed everything

Steve Jobs was savvy with technology, but even more savvy with marketing, and the Macintosh TV ad made a big impact. Despite its high price, the equipment sold some 70,000 units in that year, considered a commercial success, and publicity had a good part of the credit.

More than $300,000 was spent around the time filmmaker Ridley Scott recorded an ad for broadcast at the Super Bowl, the final of the American football league, which attracts millions of viewers each year.

The spirit of the video was that of Apple for decades: a young woman throws a hammer at a screen that shows a kind of "Big Brother" inspired by the character from George Orwell's 1984 novel, representing the rebellion of the Macintosh against the unique thinking of the PC.

The idea was very successful, and the Macintosh continued to evolve. While the Apple II range remained on the market, the Macintosh 512K (with four times more RAM), the Macintosh II, and many other models were released.

In 1998 the name was shortened to Mac, more attractive, although part of the meaning was lost. The term comes from a variety of apples called McIntosh, in reference to the fruit that gives Apple its name and logo.

Ultimately, the current MacBook, iMac and Mac Pro are heirs to the original Macintosh And the first Windows 1.0 (barely used) was based on its graphical interface, which led to a complaint against Microsoft for copyright, starting a trade war between the two companies.

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, and his illness had long since removed him from running Apple, but the Macintosh was only one of his flagship products.

Under his direction, the iPod, iPhone and iPad were created, while one of Jobs' personal investments was made in the animation company Pixar, which he owned in its early days.

The Macintosh is one of the key computers to understanding modern computing, and today many people prefer to pay more for a Mac than for a PC with Windows due to its simplicity, its commitment to design and its own software, something that was already present in the first model presented on January 1984.

What do you think of the first Macintosh? Do you think computing would be the same today without its precedents?

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