30 years ago today Steve Jobs let a revolutionary computer introduce itself to the world. We have been counting the days down to this moment since the new Mac Pro arrived in the office.
Would we be here writing this now if, 30 years ago the Apple Macintosh hadn't been born? Who knows, but it does give us an excellent excuse to be slightly overindulgent with history on a Friday morning!
On January the 24th 1984, Steve Jobs stood on stage and repeated some very familiar marketing phrases about the Macintosh 128K. Insanely great was one of them. He was right, at $2,499 the Macintosh was the first affordable computer (and the third ever) to have the features that we use day to day without thinking about them. Point and click, cut and paste, icons, desktops and WYSIWYG were all new to us.
A historic moment in time, but it was the Mac that stole the show.
Steve had set up a 'skunkworks' team of brilliant engineers who designed the Macintosh after he had been kicked off the Lisa project. The Macintosh release torpedoed the Lisa (the successor to the the highly profitable AppleII) below the water which was struggling with its high price compared to IBM PCs.
The stories of the Macintosh's development are legendary. If you have an hour to spare, (probably more) then head over to the Folklore site that lists many great anecdotes on how the Mac was born. You will also find the answer to our favourite Mac trivia question of "What was the very first image displayed on a Mac?"
Should you know a Mac fan who has a birthday coming up, we thoroughly recommend Revolution in the Valley which is a page per story collection of Andy Hertzfeld's memories. Would the person who borrowed our copy a long time ago please return it.
Maybe the most famous Macintosh video aired two days before the launch during the Super Bowl XVIII. Directed by Ridley Scott, it portrayed IBM as Big Brother in a very Orwellian scene. Interesting this was not the first time the ad had aired, we will let you find out why on the commercial's Wikipedia page.
When did you buy your first Mac? Apple are running a special 30 Years section on their website to commemorate the day. There's also a great new video.
The video brought back many memories. We have gone through many beige towers, despaired at Gil Amelio's business decisions, jumped for joy when Steve returned (doing it all again with the iMac) and of course been wowed by the iPod, iPhone and iPad introductions.
So what about the next thirty years in the life of the Mac? What we do know is that video production and consumption will be a major part of the computing experience.