Happy 36th Birthday to the original Macintosh, which launched on this day back in 1984!
The Macintosh is among the most revolutionary computers in history. Although it was not the first Apple product to have point-and-click graphics (credit to the Apple Lisa for that), it was the first computer released that combined exceptional design with functionality and software.
On this day 36 years ago, Steve Jobs reached into the beige Macintosh carry bag and pulled out the Macintosh computer, which then proceeded to say hello to the audience.
Two days prior to the Macintosh reveal, Apple bought an advertisement slot at the 1984 Super Bowl for about $370,000, which in today’s currency, is about $910,000. The ‘1984’ ad that showed during that ad slot is among the most famous advertisements in history.
The ad showed a dystopian future, with people marching around and being surrounded by screens. At one shot, ‘Big Brother’ is speaking to everyone that is marching. Then, a woman, wearing red track gear and a Macintosh shirt, begins running with a sledgehammer. When ‘Big Brother’ says “We shall prevail”, the sledgehammer crashes through the screen, leaving the people marching in shock. After this, the following text appeared on the screen “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” This ad was a huge success for Apple, and led to an unbelievable amount of press coverage for the Macintosh reveal.
You can watch the ‘1984’ ad below:
At the time, the Macintosh shipped for a retail price of $2,495, which is equivalent to about $6,150 in 2020. At the time, despite the high price tag, it was still purchased by a lot of people, particularly artists and designers due to the (at the time) high-resolution graphics.
As a fun little hidden feature, Steve Jobs believed that great artists sign their work. When the Macintosh was going into production, he travelled around the Macintosh development team in Cupertino and got all the people who worked on the Macintosh to sign their names onto a sheet of paper. Steve then went on to make sure that everyone’s signature was engraved into the plastic enclosure on the inside of the computer. So, if you open up a Macintosh, on the inside of the back cover is all of signatures of the Macintosh team.
If you want to see Steve Jobs reveal the Macintosh, there are videos of it online! Take a look below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B-XwPjn9YY&t=250s