Top 10 moments in Mac history

It was 25 years ago that Apple released the original Macintosh – we take a look at the major moments in the history of this iconic computer.

This is really the one that started it all. Long before the iMac, the iPod, and the iPhone became household names, there was the Macintosh.

The Macintosh was a revelation in terms of bringing computers to the masses. It's now hard to think of a Mac without a graphical operating system but before the Macintosh, even Apple's computers just had basic text input.

It might have been a small beige box with a 9in monochrome screen but in terms of hardware, it was ahead of its time. Its use of a 32-bit chip made it more powerful than existing 16-bit designs by several orders of magnitude, though its initial complement of 128Kb of RAM proved to be a bottleneck, leading to an upgrade to 512Kb a year later.

The $2,495 Mac was just successful enough to pave the way for a series of successful products that has led the way to today's iMac and Macbooks.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

So let's take a trip down memory lane.

1. Jobs and Wozniak meet

It was in the summer of '69 that Steve Jobs and Steve Woziak first met through a mutual acquaintance. They might have looked very different in appearance, but they shared more in common than just their first names a deep fascination with electronics. They started working together creating a legally dubious product that enabled users to make phone calls without having to pay AT&T bills. After going separate ways they reformed their partnership in 1975, establishing Apple Computer in 1976.

2. Apple visits Xerox PARC

In December 1979 Steve Jobs and other Apple employees were granted three days of access to Xerox Alto, whose Xerox PARC research team had come up with the concept of the graphical user interface, complete with the desktop metaphor, controlled through a mouse. These totally revolutionary concept bamboozled the execs at Xerox who rejected it out of hand, but in exchange for shares in Apple, it was willing to show the technology off to Jobs - who immediately saw that this was the future of computing. It took five years, but on 24 January 1984, the Macintosh was launched.

3. Superbowl '1984' advert

Advertisement - Article continues below

In 1984, to launch the Macintosh, Steve Jobs and Apple chief executive John Scully wanted to do something special. They chose to run a commercial at half-time at that year's Superbowl, the biggest sporting event of the year in the US.

The Ridley Scott directed advert had deliberate overtones of George Orwell's book [1984 and depicted a woman, representing the Macintosh, running through a crowd of automatons and hurling a large hammer into a large screen on which Big Brother' is speaking to the masses. The ad ended with the words, "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984."

It's now considered a masterpiece of advertising and two years ago was named the best Superbowl ad in the 40-year history of the game. It also established the SuperBowl half-time spot as a major event in-and-of itself, giving Apple an unlikely place as part of sporting history - you can watch the 1984 ad here.

4. PageMaker

Advertisement - Article continues below

One of the main advantages of the graphical user interface was that it enabled documents to be represented on screen. The Mac shipped initially with just MacWrite and MacPaint, leaving some to dismiss the computer as no more than a toy. A year on though, Aldus released PageMaker for the Mac, introducing the concept of desktop publishing.

It helped demonstrate the advantages of the Macintosh, and along with QuarkExpress and Photoshop, helped establish it as the platform of choice for creative types.

Advertisement - Article continues below

5. PowerPC processors

The original Macintosh was powered by a Motorola processor, but in 1994 Apple moved to the RISC based PowerPC architecture, co-built by Apple, IBM and Motorola known as the AIM Alliance. By contrast, Microsoft had become firmly entrenched with Intel, and was bolstered by the release of Window 95 and the Pentium processor that gave PC, a similar GUI to Apple on powerful hardware. The PowerPC vs Intel architecture battle was a key part of the endless Mac vs PC debate in the 90s.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now

Most Popular

data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
cyber security

If not passwords then what?

8 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020
Policy & legislation

GDPR and Brexit: How will one affect the other?

9 Jan 2020