“On January 24, 1984, at the Flint Center on De Anza College’s campus in Cupertino, California, Apple formally announced the Macintosh at its shareholder meeting, in front an audience so packed that large numbers of people who owned Apple stock couldn’t get in at all,” Harry McCracken writes for TIME Magazine. “[Below is] a video of the entire event, complete with an introduction by then-CEO John Sculley apologizing to the shareholders who were stuck outside.”
“The Mac was the first successful computer with a graphical user interface, a mouse and the ability to show you what a printed document would look like before you printed it. As the computer turns 30, it’s tempting to celebrate simply by remembering how profoundly its debut changed personal computing,” McCracken writes. “But as I think about the anniversary, I’m at least as impressed by two other facts about the Mac: 1) It’s actually existed for 30 years; 2) More important, it’s mattered for 30 years… the Mac is the only personal computer with a 30-year history. Other than Apple itself, the leading computer companies of 1984 included names such as Atari, Commodore, Compaq, Kaypro and Radio Shack — all of which have since either left the PC business or vanished altogether. Even IBM, personified as the evil Big Brother-like overlord in the Mac’s legendary ‘1984’ commercial, bailed on the PC industry in 2004. That the Mac has not only survived but thrived is astonishing.”
“Technically, the Macs of today are actually based on operating-system software that originated with the computers made by NeXT, the company Steve Jobs founded after being ousted from Apple in 1985 and then sold to it in 1996. Philosophically, aesthetically and spiritually, though, they’re very much descendants of the original 1984 Mac,” McCracken writes. “The same things Apple cared about then — approachability, integration of software and hardware, a willingness to do fewer things but do them better — it cares about today. It’s always just tried to build the best, most Apple-esque personal computers it could with the technology available to it at the time.”
MacDailyNews Note: In the video below, the standing O and Steve struggling to keep his composure starts at 47:30.
“And if you trace the history of the Mac from 1984 to 2014, you keep coming up with ways the platform influenced the rest of the industry — yes, even during the scary period during the mid-1990s when the company flirted with financial disaster,” McCracken writes. “So for this list, I’m skipping the reasons why the Mac mattered in 1984. Here’s why it’s never stopped being the world’s most influential personal computer.”
Read about 20 ways Apple’s revolutionary, astonishing Mac changed everything here.
Apple invites website visitors to celebrate 30 years of Macintosh – January 24, 2014
Happy 30th Birthday, Apple Macintosh! – January 24, 2014