36 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Unveiled the First Macintosh

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On January 24, 1984, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh at Apple's annual shareholder's meeting in Cupertino, California, debuting the new computer equipped with a 9-inch black and white display, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, 128KB of RAM, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and a price tag of $2,495.


The now iconic machine weighed in at a whopping 17 pounds and was advertised as offering a word processing program, a graphics package, and a mouse. At the time it was introduced, the Macintosh was seen as Apple's last chance to overcome IBM's domination of the personal computer market and remain a major player in the personal computer industry.

A Computerland newspaper ad from the day the Macintosh was introduced

Jobs pulled the Macintosh out of a bag at the event, powered it on, and the Mac had a little message for everyone in attendance.

Hello, I'm Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I'd like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: NEVER TRUST A COMPUTER YOU CAN'T LIFT!

Obviously, I can talk, but right now I'd like to sit back and listen. So, it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who's been like a father to me... STEVE JOBS.
Despite the high price at the time, which was equivalent to around $6,000 today, the Macintosh sold well, with Apple hitting 70,000 units sold by May 1984. The now iconic "1984" Super Bowl ad that Apple invested in and debuted days before the Macintosh was unveiled may have helped bolster sales.


After the Macintosh, Apple introduced the Macintosh II, the Macintosh Classic, the PowerBook, the Power Macintosh, the iMac G3, the iBook, and so on, eventually leading to the current Mac lineup, which includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Today, Apple is one of the leading PC vendors in the world, shipping an estimated 18 million Macs worldwide in 2019. Then Apple competitor IBM is no longer in the personal computer business, having sold its technology to Lenovo back in the early 2000s.


Apple in the future is expected to continue expanding its popular Mac lineup, and current rumors suggest we can expect to see new 16-inch MacBook Pro models, a refreshed 13-inch machine with scissor keyboard, and, eventually, an ARM-based Mac.

Article Link: 36 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Unveiled the First Macintosh
 
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Blackstick

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My mom was 6 months pregnant with me and insisted my dad save money for baby’s upcoming needs and such. My dad of course didn’t listen to rational advice, thus I grew up with this Mac around and there are photos of toddler-me playing with its keyboard typing gibberish in MacWrite. Wish my dad had held onto it, he sold it in the late 80s for a newer model... in 2007 he also bought the first iPhone for both of us while I was a broke, recent college grad, he wanted us both to experience great new technology that so rarely happens. He passed suddenly in 2018 but I’ve got his 5k iMac and it has special meaning to me.

I think the Apple logo burned into my brain at a young age because I was a Mac Genius for 7 years and then went into corporate IT as an Apple support engineer before entering leadership. I have my dad’s bad saving habits and carelessness with money to partially thank for my career path and early interest in technology.
 
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Morgenland

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Already at that time 2 different opinions emerged very quickly.
One group liked Apple Macintosh, the others found reasons against it (too expensive, graphics made for women, "a keyboard can do everything", etc).
Today these factions are in the next generation. 'Too expensive' has been passed on as an uninspired argument...
But on the other hand, the followers of carefully simplified user interfaces, beautiful design and the joy of quality and innovation also have an open wallet. And that still makes the world a little more colorful.

In order to increase the market share again, Apple will hopefully dare the same strategy this year as with the iPhone SE and remember what the MacMini was originally invented for.
 
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chatin

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Jobs did it with a team of talented engineers all who have their names inside the case as part of Apple legend.
 

ksec

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While I do not believe it is likely, I really wish Apple will switch Mac to their own ARM Chip. Intel is still the largest component cost in nearly all Mac. And it is now clear PC aren't going anywhere. I just wish Mac would gain more footing in terms of PC market share. Instead of focusing Mac as Professional only.
 

SBlue1

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Apple has introduced so much new great and quality products in 2019 like in no other year. The iPad mini, Apple Arcade, iPhone 11, Apple Card, iPadOS, updated Apple Watch, updated iPod, new iPad, Apple TV, AirPods Pro, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, just to mention my favorites. Let’s hope 2020 will follow the path.
 

NBAasDOGG

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While I do not believe it is likely, I really wish Apple will switch Mac to their own ARM Chip. Intel is still the largest component cost in nearly all Mac. And it is now clear PC aren't going anywhere. I just wish Mac would gain more footing in terms of PC market share. Instead of focusing Mac as Professional only.
I don’t understand why people want the Mac to become a Facebook ARM machine. Just use your iPhone for that...
The only reason why researchers and scientists use Macs is because of the x86 and Unix based OS, and let’s hope Tim keeps it that way!
 

justperry

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I don’t understand why people want the Mac to become a Facebook ARM machine. Just use your iPhone for that...
The only reason why researchers and scientists use Macs is because of the x86 and Unix based OS, and let’s hope Tim keeps it that way!
A high percentage of people just need that, a computer which can do their daily stuff, like browsing, social networking, streaming and so on, you don't need an Intel i7 for that, nor an i5 or even an i3.
Apple does a terrific job with their A series chips, it's not the question of if they move to arm based macs, it's when..imho it won't take 5 years.
 
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justperry

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I'm a rolling stone.

debuting the new computer equipped with a 9-inch black and white display, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, 128KB of RAM, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and a price tag of $2,495.
We've come a long way, 8 MHz versus 3-4 GHz, 128 versus 16 GB, floppy drive with a few KB against a minimum 128 GB SSD (Most Macs) at a cheaper price. (inflation made the first mac twice as expensive as a 16" MBP)
 
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YaBe

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A high percentage of people just need that, a computer which can do their daily stuff, like browsing, social networking, streaming and so on, you don't need an Intel i7 for that, nor an i5 or even an i3.
Apple does a terrific job with their A series chips, it's not the question of if they move to arm based macs, it's when..imho it won't take 5 years.
There's the iPad for them ..... as in, they really do not need a computer at all if browsing, social networking, streaming and so on is their need.

Nothing wrong with that at all, but they do not need a computer in the first place, nor it is the best platform to do those things nowadays.
 

PickUrPoison

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Sep 12, 2017
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MacWrite and MacPaint, on floppy. That was it. Even though I was rather familiar with Apple as I had a job programming on an Apple II+, the first time I used a Mac I was blown away. (I’d heard about the Lisa but never saw or used one.) Mouse, pull-down menus, resizable windows, scroll bars, proportionally-spaced fonts; yeah it was kind of expensive, but a true game changer.

15 years later I would meet Doug Engelbart, inventor of the mouse. I was working at Logitech at the time, lead (and only lol) QA on the mouse driver for this weird-looking new computer called iMac. Mr. Engelbart had an office in the building—the title below his name on the door said Inventor Emeritus iirc—but he was rarely there, to my frustration.

I used to cruise by there a few times a week, and one day I was lucky and there he was. I grabbed the opportunity... nicest guy you’d ever want to meet; extremely humble and most unassuming. Career highlight to be sure.

I still like Macs, but I’m sometimes stuck using a Windows PC at work. Oh well at least it’s mostly usable, or at least more friendly than DOS; no editing autoexec.bat or config.sys files anymore 😂
 

michaeljk

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2013
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I remember the announcement from Steve Jobs. I remember the ad. I remember seeing the Macs at my University's Book store. I remember wanting one very badly, but being in college and unable to afford one. When the Mac came out I'd just gone from a Smith Corona "smart" typewriter (there was like a 3-line little monitor that allowed you to go back and "edit" (it had a whiteout strip on it's ribbon) to an "Amstrad" (British machine) PC. That PC was kind of awesome in its own way. It cost me $400 for computer, monitor, keyboard, OS, and a writing app and some version of BASIC. It did not run DOS. It ran CP/M (which I believe was the precursor to DOS that Microsoft "used" (stole?) for DOS. I salivated for a Mac, but couldn't afford one until I bought the "Pizza Box" Mac (a Mac LC) with a Sony Trinitron 14" Monitor and an Apple ImageWriter Printer. I was in heaven! I've been using one Mac or another ever since, throughout two careers, both of which forced me to use PCs at work. I remember buying a higher end PowerMac during Apple's darkest days. My siblings laughed at me for spending so much money on a computer from a company that was going to die (reflecting the sentiments of Michael Dell at that time). I said, "I want the most powerful Mac I can afford, so in case Apple does die, I can put off for as long as possible having to use Windows at home." Phew. So glad I still get to use a Mac! And for the past 10 years, I have been self-employed, so have not had to use Windows since Windows 98 was the flavor of the day on that side of things (although I do hear Windows is now almost as good as a Mac, as if that hasn't been said in one way or another for its entire existence). :)
 

citysnaps

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Oct 10, 2011
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That's a starting price of $6,300 in "today dollars" kiddos.

Stop and think about that for a moment...
For some reason many people refuse to do that.

I remember upgrading from my fat Mac to a Mac IIci in 1990 with a base price around $6K, an enormous amount of money for my salary back then and cost of living at the time. Translating to $12K today, it's about the cost of a 2020 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.
 

Euroamerican

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May 27, 2010
136
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Indeed. I was stunned at the decision a friend had made to buy one. $2495.00! That was twice what the car that I was driving to college cost me! He did not have to go to the school computer lab anymore thought to use the IBM PC/ATs with DOS and Wordstar anymore though! He did eventually buy a dot matrix printer to go along with that Mac.
 
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nylonsteel

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Nov 5, 2010
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memories of loving my first encounter with a GUI computer
put ms dos command line to shame
also 1984 LA olympics memories riding my bike along the olympic torch procession
seeing van halen 1984 concert
 
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VintageMac

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May 19, 2007
107
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Was my first computer as well– used along with an ImageWriter printer, $1350. Am I remembering correctly-- System software, MacWrite and MacPaint all one 400k single-sided 3.5" [not as] floppy disk?
 

abusbey3

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Oct 29, 2011
3
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On January 24, 1984, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh at Apple's annual shareholder's meeting in Cupertino, California, debuting the new computer equipped with a 9-inch black and white display, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, 128KB of RAM, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and a price tag of $2,495.


The now iconic machine weighed in at a whopping 17 pounds and was advertised as offering a word processing program, a graphics package, and a mouse. At the time it was introduced, the Macintosh was seen as Apple's last chance to overcome IBM's domination of the personal computer market and remain a major player in the personal computer industry.


A Computerland newspaper ad from the day the Macintosh was introduced

Jobs pulled the Macintosh out of a bag at the event, powered it on, and the Mac had a little message for everyone in attendance.

Despite the high price at the time, which was equivalent to around $6,000 today, the Macintosh sold well, with Apple hitting 70,000 units sold by May 1984. The now iconic "1984" Super Bowl ad that Apple invested in and debuted days before the Macintosh was unveiled may have helped bolster sales.


After the Macintosh, Apple introduced the Macintosh II, the Macintosh Classic, the PowerBook, the Power Macintosh, the iMac G3, the iBook, and so on, eventually leading to the current Mac lineup, which includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Today, Apple is one of the leading PC vendors in the world, shipping an estimated 18 million Macs worldwide in 2019. Then Apple competitor IBM is no longer in the personal computer business, having sold its technology to Lenovo back in the early 2000s.


Apple in the future is expected to continue expanding its popular Mac lineup, and current rumors suggest we can expect to see new 16-inch MacBook Pro models, a refreshed 13-inch machine with scissor keyboard, and, eventually, an ARM-based Mac.

Article Link: 36 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Unveiled the First Macintosh



On January 24, 1984, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh at Apple's annual shareholder's meeting in Cupertino, California, debuting the new computer equipped with a 9-inch black and white display, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, 128KB of RAM, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and a price tag of $2,495.


The now iconic machine weighed in at a whopping 17 pounds and was advertised as offering a word processing program, a graphics package, and a mouse. At the time it was introduced, the Macintosh was seen as Apple's last chance to overcome IBM's domination of the personal computer market and remain a major player in the personal computer industry.


A Computerland newspaper ad from the day the Macintosh was introduced

Jobs pulled the Macintosh out of a bag at the event, powered it on, and the Mac had a little message for everyone in attendance.

Despite the high price at the time, which was equivalent to around $6,000 today, the Macintosh sold well, with Apple hitting 70,000 units sold by May 1984. The now iconic "1984" Super Bowl ad that Apple invested in and debuted days before the Macintosh was unveiled may have helped bolster sales.


After the Macintosh, Apple introduced the Macintosh II, the Macintosh Classic, the PowerBook, the Power Macintosh, the iMac G3, the iBook, and so on, eventually leading to the current Mac lineup, which includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Today, Apple is one of the leading PC vendors in the world, shipping an estimated 18 million Macs worldwide in 2019. Then Apple competitor IBM is no longer in the personal computer business, having sold its technology to Lenovo back in the early 2000s.


Apple in the future is expected to continue expanding its popular Mac lineup, and current rumors suggest we can expect to see new 16-inch MacBook Pro models, a refreshed 13-inch machine with scissor keyboard, and, eventually, an ARM-based Mac.

Article Link: 36 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Unveiled the First Macintosh
I bought one of the first 24 128K Macs that was shipped to the University of Texas that January. I was a lecturer and happened to be at a reception where some bigwig mentioned that UT was going to get these Macs. I asked if all had been 'claimed' and he said "no" and that I was welcome to purchase one (at full price) if I wanted it. I was heavily using an Apple ][+ at the time and I knew where the future was going. I never looked back. I still have the carrying case! I think I was earning about $18K at the time so it took some convincing to get my wife to let me purchase that puppy.
 
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