Macintosh Turns 40

Jan 24, 2024 - 1 Comment

40th anniversary of the Mac

The Macintosh computer, which has played a pivotal role in shaping personal computing and design principles throughout the entire tech industry, has turned 40 years old.

The first Macintosh debuted on January 23, 1984 as a groundbreaking product. Distinguished with friendly unique hardware design, a revolutionary graphical user interface, the ability to speak text aloud, and equipped with a keyboard, and mouse, it offered user-friendly features that brought the potential for computing to the masses.

Original Macintosh

The original Macintosh came equipped with what were powerful specifications for the time; a 9″ black and white display, 8Mhz processor, 128KB RAM, and a 3.5″ floppy drive with 400kb capacity for storage, for $2499.

Macintosh on a Desk

After a powerful Super Bowl commercial debuted the Macintosh name just a few days earlier, on January 24, Steve Jobs used his stage magic to introduce a wow’ed audience to the Macintosh computer. If you’ve never seen this video before, and you like Apple history (or Steve Jobs presentations), you’ll certainly enjoy it. There’s about 28 minutes of young Steve Jobs stage wizardry, and then a nice demo with the Macintosh team, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

At one point, Steve Jobs prophetically compares the Macintosh to the telephone, and states his desire to bring the technology to “tens of millions of people”… 40 years later, the Macintosh has over 100 million users in the world, and the Mac-inspired iPhone has 1.5 billion global users.

Steve Jobs and the Macintosh

Happy Birthday to the Macintosh! Here’s to 40 more years!

And, you can’t help but wonder, with the Apple Vision Pro being released just around the corner, and with a core feature being that you can output your Mac display to the spatial computing realm to have a private virtual 4K display, just where we are heading with this platform. Exciting times, right?

Mac screen projected into virtual space with Apple Vision Pro

Overall, the original Macintosh undeniably played a pivotal role in shaping the future of personal computing. By introducing user-friendly design principles, and pairing them with innovative technologies, it’s easy to see how the Mac became one of the most influential computing platforms in the world, to this day.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, News

One Comment

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  1. David says:

    Time flies!

    I was fortunate enough to start using a Mac from the earliest days, after my Dad brought home a 512k to replace the Apple IIe at the house. I think they were both demo units or floor models, but either way he was able to get freebies and significant discounts from working in the industry. These computers ignited my imagination and captured my interest tremendously. 40 years later, and I am still using Macs and Apple products!

    I often miss the simplicity of the earlier releases and I think modern macOS has been over engineered with a lot frivolous features, but overall the platform is still the best out there. At one point I had a brief foray into the PC world, but coming back to the Apple ecosystem felt like the digital equivalent of coming home.

    As for the future, while I admire the tech, I personally don’t have interest in a VR Vision Pro headset. What I would like to see is an iPhone that can be docked, hooked up to an external display, keyboard, and mouse, and that goes into macOS mode when in this configuration. I believe the iPhone is powerful enough to do this now, but it’s a matter of willingness of Apple. Would this cannibalize Mac sales? Probably. But what if you could spend $2000 on an iPhone Pro, that can be docked and turned into a Mac? How nifty would that be?

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