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The original Macintosh turned 30 years old today.
While Apple’s core business today is its iPhone and iPad devices, the Cupertino-based gadget maker is celebrating the 1984 device that started it all — and all the Macs that came after it.
“Every company that made computers when we started the Mac, they’re all gone,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in an interview with Macworld Thursday. “We’re the only one left. We’re still doing it, and growing faster than the rest of the PC industry because of that willingness to reinvent ourselves over and over.”
Apple’s homepage wishes happy birthday to the Mac (with some strangely aliased text, we might add). It redirects people to a lavish timeline, where they can scroll through 30 years of Mac history, year by year. The first entry highlights “the computer that changed everything.”
The one that started it all — the original Macintosh — wasn’t just a computer. It was a declaration that the power of the computer now belonged to everyone. At the time, most people didn’t even know how to use one. But thanks to the simple graphical interface of the Macintosh, they didn’t have to. It was approachable and friendly, starting with the smiley face that greeted you. There were folders that looked like file folders and a trash can for throwing things away. And with the click of a mouse, you could suddenly do the unimaginable. You could move things around on the screen, change the way they looked, combine words with images and sounds, and create like never before. A new era had begun.
Apple’s timeline also demonstrates how people have used Macs over the years. In 1984, the company’s data suggests the most popular use for the original Macintosh was for music creation. Next year, with the Macintosh XL, that changed to education and teaching.
The timeline site solicits your personal Mac story, too. You can share which machine you started on, where you lived, and how you used it. The results get plugged into an interactive graph. Right now, the 1986 Macintosh 512Ke is the crowd’s most-selected first Mac.
Apple also crafted this video celebrating the Mac’s 30th birthday.
The original Mac permeated the public’s consciousness through Apple’s iconic 1984 television commercial, which first aired during the January 1984 Super Bowl. Lee Clow, one of the ad’s co-creators, hinted last week that there might be a Super Bowl surprise coming this year to celebrate the anniversary.
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