Apple released the first Macintosh computer 30 years ago today, and Cupertino is in party mood. The Apple website has been updated to point to a celebration of the original computer and its descendants. The page is essentially a timeline that acts as both a look at the various Mac models and also focuses on the “generation of innovators who continue to change the world” using their Macs with short stories about a number of creatives.
There’s also a “your first Mac” page, where readers are encouraged to share the first Mac they bought and explain what they used it for. They’re then thanked for being a user for however many years it’s been since their purchase. These shares form an impromptu survey of visitors; at the bottom of the page are a pair of graphics, one showing the most popular “first Macs,” and the second behaving as an interactive timeline, showing what people have used their computers for over the years. Thirty years ago, Macs were mainly used for education and desktop publishing; now, unsurprisingly, the vast majority primarily use their iMacs and Macbooks to access the internet.
The Apple Macintosh, later referred to as the Macintosh 128K, was released on January 24th, 1984 for $2,495. The first model included a 9-inch 512 x 384 monochrome display, a Motorola 68000 processor alongside 128KB of memory, and a handle to make it easier to carry. It was also one of the earliest computers to adopt the 3.5-inch floppy disk format, which came to dominate the removable storage media market by the end of the ’80s. If you’d like to take a closer look at the hardware, iFixit has published a commemorative teardown of the Macintosh 128K.
The Macintosh is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface; many elements of its software remain commonplace today, such as the ubiquitous desktop metaphor and the Finder file manager still used in modern Macs. Apple introduced the Macintosh to the world with its now legendary “1984” Super Bowl commercial, directed by Ridley Scott.