The 30th anniversary of the Apple Mac has provided us with a snapshot of how far technology has come since 1984. While computers (such as the first Macintosh) have become faster, smaller, more powerful and more aesthetically pleasing, it’s important we reflect on where the first ground breaking models began and how they’ve evolved.
The first Macintosh was revolutionary for many reasons; firstly because before the first Mac, all commercial computers were ‘text-based’ in that they were operated purely by typing words onto the keyboard. The Mac instead brought a small hand-operated device known as a ‘mouse’ into commercial circulation. This innovative little gadget was actually the invention of the visionary Douglas Engelbart, who sadly passed away last year, but hadn’t been made commercially available until Apple incorporated it into the Macintosh in 1984.
The Macintosh was also the first commercially successful computer to use a GUI (Graphical User Interface). This certainly changed the game and blew away the word-only interfaces seen on the likes of the Commodore in our office of the past.
Apple, in particular Steve Jobs, knew that it was onto something that would change the face of computing, the world of technology and our desks forever; the launch and marketing effort behind this innovation reflected this. An eye-wateringly expensive, minute-long Super Bowl commercial was even brought in to promote the first ever Mac. The cost of a 30 second Super Bowl commercial in 1984 was $368,000, which in today’s money means it would have been approximately $1.6 million just for their one minute commercial. For the upcoming Super Bowl on February 2nd, doing the same thing to promote their next innovation would cost them $8,000,000, so it looks like they got a better deal back in 1984.
Fortunately for Apple, they probably won’t need to resort to this again as their innovations themselves seem to attract widespread attention without even trying. This is understandable when you consider that the iPhone and iPad have given us the ability to put entire desks of the past and more into our pockets, and have completely revolutionized the way we think about personal computing. 30 years on from the first Mac, innovation is clearly still top of their agenda. Hopefully for Apple users, security will be as well. And to their credit, they appear to be doing well so far. Either way, we’ll be watching closely. What do you think of the last 30 years of Apple Macs? Let us know in the comments section below.