Video unseen since 1984: Steve Jobs unveils the Macintosh at Boston Computer Society with Q&A, demos, and more

Steve Jobs’ first Macintosh “presentation, at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on January 24, is the stuff of tech-history legend,” Harry McCracken reports for TIME Magazine. “What’s not so well remembered: Jobs did it all twice, in less than a week. Six days after unveiling the Mac at the Flint Center on the De Anza College campus near the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., he performed his show all over again at the monthly general meeting of the Boston Computer Society.”

“All 90 minutes of [the video]… available for the first time in their entirety since they were shot on January 30, 1984,” McCracken reports. “The Cupertino and Boston demos may have been based in part on the same script, but the audience, atmosphere and bonus materials were different. In Cupertino, Jobs spoke before investors, towards the end of a meeting which also included dreary matters such as an analysis of Apple’s cash flow. In Boston, he presented to the kind of people who Apple hoped would buy Macs. You didn’t even have to pay the BCS’s $24 annual membership fee to get in, which meant that the meeting was the closest thing the computer had to a launch event intended for the general public.”

“After the unveiling, Jobs participated in demos and a Q&A session with members of the Macintosh team: Bill Atkinson, Steve Capps, Owen Densmore, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, Rony Sebok, Burrell Smith and Randy Wigginton,” McCracken reports. “(Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, not a Mac team member, crashed the panel and talked about the Apple II line of computers.) Even more than the shareholder meeting, the BCS one was a prototype for the media extravaganzas that we citizens of the 21st century call Stevenotes.”

Direct link to video and much more background about this event in the full article – recommended – here.

[Attribution: FairerPlatform. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Wow. Nice to see all of the Mac team and even Woz popping up. And Jobs really shares the stage with everyone. It really look like a tight knit group. I think Jobs plans for the Mac would have been great. I’m glad he returned in the 1997 to finish what he started.

  2. “which meant that the meeting was the closest thing the computer had to a launch event intended for the general public”

    Nope, we at the Byte Shops, NW had a Macintosh launch event on January 24th for the general public in Seattle.

    Even more than the shareholder meeting, the BCS one was a prototype for the media extravaganzas that we citizens of the 21st century call Stevenotes.

    Nope, our prototype for this type of event was for the Apple IIe in 1983 in January of 1983. Again at the Byte Shop.

  3. Watching this video reminds me of the sense of overwhelming astonishment and magic I got working with the Mac for the first time. It is astounding what Apple did with rudimentary ideas for the GUI, not just innovating them but turning them into something coherent, polished, functional, exciting, fun and friendly. Nothing I have ever worked with has been so ‘insanely great’ right out of the box. Macs are art and science, productivity and relationship between machine and human all beautifully integrated. What an accomplishment. What a creation and creativity tool.

    Now, 30 years later, that same spirit lives on in everything they make. Some things more than others! But always FAR beyond any mere company/corporation. This is a company with vision that transcends mere monetary games. This is what being human is for: Becoming the best we can be, while collaborating and sharing with others.

    Wall-Nut Street: Learn.

  4. during the color monitor question , Steve spoke about “the choice to go with with hi-definition black and white ” someday we hope to put a macintosh in a book” at 1:07:21. He’s talking about full-powered e-books in 1984!!! Knowledge Navigator indeed.

    1. He was referring to the actual products they built. Laptops didn’t exist at the time, so there was no real name for it, notebook, is another name. So I don’t see it as that far reaching, however, I won’t guess what he was thinking, I am just basing my thoughts about what actually came out in a reasonable amount of time of what he actually said. Basically high res LCD screens, black and white, and color was just too primitive and expensive.

      Look at the projector they had. At the time, we were still using film and slides, yet they had this digital projector hooked up to the Mac, with custom hardware. It must have cost a fortune. It’s very reminiscent to the demo he gave to the iPhone and the custom cable they had attached to it for the demo. Very early dev stuff.

      I recall my work at Eclipse Comics. They had Mac SE systems with external 20″ CRT displays and an add-on card. The internal 9″ screen was simply not used. Everything was black and white. While I’m add it, they were using QuarkXpress 3.1 at the time, to typeset. They still used physical pasteboard for artwork, on a light table, and sent most of their work out to print on a Linotype, which was 20 miles away, in town.

  5. Two items, watching the video, and my impression of Apple at that time. OMG… I watched, intently the whole thing. What I learned, under Steve Jobs, initial presentation has remained consistent over the years. Jony Ive’s videos are the same format, as others, to the engineer’s slide show.

    Mac was 32bit from the start. I remember Windows NT 3.11 was 32bit in ’91, still in beta, and it wasn’t until 2000 where 32bit Windows, went mainstream. (W95, was partially 32bit, so it doesn’t count). Therefor Apple had a 16 year head start in the 32 bit arena.

    Bill Gates is as much a traitor and asshole as Eric Schmidt.

    Steve Wozniak, has always been rather not a team player. He was doing his own thing from the beginning. Steve Jobs was gracious in letting Woz on stage, who showed up unannounced, which is cool in itself. Woz and Jobs didn’t talk about stuff in development, however it seemed Woz was even more so.

    It’s funny, people wanted to “upgrade” their Apple // systems, I think even to the Mac level. Some were a little pissed that the Lisa 1 was getting a free upgrade. But the thing was Lisa sales were horrible, expensive and they both improved it with Mac software and lowered the price. So Apple had to do something for those customers.

    For me, a kid at the time, the Mac was unobtainable. I was barely able to convince my parents to invest in an Apple //e, with drives, monitor, and dot matrix printer, cost $2k or more OTD. This is unheard of for most families. I was originally looking at having to settle for a TSR 80. However since my brother worked for Radio Shack and then Tandy, he was able to bring a “demo” home to try out. I suspect my parents saw my utter disappointment, and rolled with it. My ecstatic delight, of my father pulling up in his car with big Apple boxes, in the back seat. The emotional excitement, pretty darn close to getting married and the birth of my kids, (as best as you can interpret for a kid.) I sat down in front of it and no one else had a chance to touch it for the next couple of years.

    I had opportunities to play and work with Macs. In ’93, 94, I was selling Macs, at the college book store. However, my first Mac purchase was for my wife’s personal business, which was a first gen G4 tower, from My first assigned Mac was from work, an iBook, clam shell. It had OS9, but I felt it was severely under powered. From there I had a copper keyboard Mac Book, Titanium G4, the first DVD writer Mac G4, Mirror Door G4, first gen G5, Intel MacBook Pro 17″ from ’06, MacBook Pro 17″ early ’09, and an iMac Thunderbolt, from ’11.

      1. Reflecting back, the TSR-80 wasn’t a bad system, it was just difficult to work with. I recall my neighbor getting one and having to enter code by hand, and not being able to save it. I suppose it was similar to the Ataris, and Commodores of the time, but certainly if you knew about Apple and used one in school, certainly you would know, understand what you were missing. Remember at the same time we also had the Timex Sinclair for $99. Also a whole host of crappy systems hoping to make a buck. As Steve said, two players emerged, IBM and Apple, and for good reason.

        1. Even if I hadn’t known about apple, the ridiculously bad keyboard on the trs-80 (remember all the keybounce problems?) would have made it deeply annoying. My friends and I wanted to feel an apple // keyboard almost as much as we wanted to feel a woman’s breasts. God we were geeks.

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