Apple’s first Macintosh turns 38: A look back at what it brought


Two weeks ago, we reported that the first iPhone was celebrating its 15th birthday. Yes, 15 years ago, Steve Jobs went on stage to present the smartphone that was going to change telephony (and a little the face of the world at the same time). During the presentation of this smartphone, Steve Jobs recalled the major steps of Apple that preceded the iPhone. The iPod of course, which changed the way we consumed music. But also the Macintosh. The latter was unveiled on January 24, 1984 in Cupertino by the boss of the firm. It celebrated its 38th birthday yesterday.

Apple’s first Macintosh turns 38: A look back at what it brought

Like the two other products mentioned, the Macintosh has also made a great contribution to modern computing. What exactly are the advances made by the Macintosh? Let’s review them:

  • The Macintosh is the first all-in-one in history. It integrates in its frame the screen, the motherboard and the floppy disk drive.
  • The Macintosh is the first portable computer. During his presentation, Steve Jobs carried it in a bag. It has a handle on the top to easily lift and put it down. It is also quite light.
  • The Macintosh was not the first computer with a window system-based graphical interface, but it was the one that popularized its use. This interface is based on the complementarity between the windows, the icons, the menus and the pointer. A system then called WIMP.
  • The first Apple computer to use such an interface was Lisa, launched a year earlier. This first version of Apple OS largely contributed to the development of Windows.
  • The Macintosh is the first computer to minimize the number of slots for components and peripherals. Apple then wants the Macintosh to be easy to approach for all users, even those who are not familiar with computer tools.
  • The Macintosh is the first computer with a mouse with only one button, whereas the competition relied on pointers with two or three buttons. Its designers claimed that all commands could be performed with a single key.

The first Mac was a good commercial success during its first months on the market. And this is thanks to a skillful communication campaign: previews organized by journalists; an ad directed by Ridley Scott that aired during the SuperBowl (which was mocked by Epic Games when Apple banned Fortnite from the App Store); and a beautiful staging during the presentation in Cupertino.

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