Apple Macintosh History


So where does the Apple Macintosh history begin?

Near the end of the 1970's, the technology minds at Apple stumbled upon the concept of the Macintosh in pretty much the same way many things in history have been discovered. while they were busy doing something else.

The focus at the time was on a high-end computer model internally referred to as the Lisa project. But then Jef Raskin had an idea.

How about making a computer that would be practical for home use?

Something end users would not find difficult to fit into their homes. And with an operating system less technical than high end computers of the time. Jef was tasked by the Apple management team (including co-founder Steve Jobs) to set up the project.

The First Macintosh

It started with borrowing the Motorolla 68k microprocessor from the Apple Lisa computer and making a number of changes to the structure of ROM and RAM. This reduced the price of the end product, and led to the release of the first Macintosh personal computer.

It had a nine inch screen and a 512 by 342 monochrome display. The name Macintosh comes from a type of apple going by the same name. The name was chosen because that type of apple was Raskin's favorite. Initially, they tried to use the name McIntosh, but there was a potential copyright and brand conflict with an audio equipment company that used the name.

The design was so revolutionary that it caught the attention of Jobs. But Raskin left Apple in 1981 due to personal differences, leaving Jobs in charge of the Macintosh project. Jobs had already seen that the Macintosh was a much more marketable model than the Lisa and shifted his focus on improving and marketing the Macintosh.

Jobs was keenly aware of what was happening at other computer firms. As a result, he set up a visit to Xerox where he witnessed a ground breaking Graphical User Interface (GUI) model. The GUI environment of the first Macintosh computers borrowed from the Xerox GUI but also incorporated a lot of ideas from Apple's own development team.

Jobs had to leave Apple in 1985 following differences with then CEO John Sculley. But the team at Apple recognized one key thing about good products. It takes more than good functionality to sell a product. Energy was thus focused on coming up with an advertisement that would be able to launch the sales of Macintosh. This was the origin of the now famous commercial only known as "1984" that introduced the Macintosh 128k.

Apple Introduces the Macintosh Commercial

It was launched during the third period of Superbowl XVIII in January of 1984 and its impact on Apple Macintosh history is legendary. The sales of the Macintosh kicked off in earnest two days later. The need for a high impact advertisement could not be overemphasized. Macintosh had to make a name in the face of significant competition from other software and hardware manufacturers of the time.

Return from Apple Macintosh History back to Macintosh History

In the later half of the 1980's, Apple worked on continual improvements to the Macintosh in order to come up with a system that met the needs of end users. During this time, Apple Macintosh history showed two notable accomplishments.

  • Desktop Publishing
  • Macintosh Plus

In creating the concept of desktop publishing, ordinary desktop users could develop and print documents that incorporated graphics alongside text. This was unheard of at the time.

Macintosh Plus

The second important development was the release of the Macintosh Plus. This was the longest running Macintosh model in history, with units sold for just over 4 years. The Macintosh Plus was a classic response to a need. The original Mac was limited in capacity as well as expandability. With the Macintosh Plus, the speed was shored upwards, memory increased and included the ability to attach multiple auxiliary devices. The result was a product that resonated with users and helped build the legendary loyalty to Apple.

Apple Macintosh History Continues

From this point forward, most everything has pointed upwards for the Macintosh. The Mac has been the basis for the development and success of Apple's other highly successful products such as the iPod and the iPhone.

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