Happy 25th Birthday, Macintosh!

On this day twenty five years ago, January 24th, 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh personal computer to the world. It was the first computer sporting a graphical user interface that was remotely affordable to individuals. (Apple’s Lisa, which preceded the Macintosh by a year, was the first commercial computer with a GUI, but it retailed for $10,000 while the faster Macintosh debuted at $2495.)

My original 128K Macintosh

Seventy-four days after the introduction of the Macintosh, 50,000 units had been sold. The Mac didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, but it’s impact on computing was profound. And, what’s more, in case you hadn’t noticed, the Macintosh is still around. In fact, earlier this week Apple, who has $28 billion in the bank, reported its first $10 billion revenue month.

Today, the Macintosh is stronger than ever.

This seems an ideal time to head over to key Macintosh system software developer Andy Hertzfeld’s Folklore.org, “Anecdotes about the development of Apple’s original Macintosh computer, and the people who created it.” If you’ve an interest in the genesis story of the Macintosh, it’s wonderful reading.

I will also point readers to a 10-minute Apple video from 1983 that introduces the Macintosh and includes commentary from key members of the Macintosh team. Posted by mac512.com.

As both of my regular readers are likely aware, I have a sizable collection of vintage computers in my own “Byte Cellar” (or basement computer room). I spend considerable time both using and maintaining these units and I love to post photos of the collection to my Flickr account. This being the case, I was recently encouraged by a friend on IRC to answer CNN’s call for Macintosh photos and stories at iReport. I went ahead and posted a few photos and–long story short–ended up live (via phone) on CNN’s Headline News with Chuck Roberts discussing my retro computer collection, here at the 25th birthday of the Mac.

Have a look at the piece, which includes a slideshow with several photos from my collection as well as those of other “Mac heads.”

But, enough about my 15 minutes of fame. This day is about the Macintosh. And I certainly offer a warm wish of Happy Birthday to this technological phenomenon that has played so large a role in the greater portion of my life.

Thanks Steve.

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5 Responses to Happy 25th Birthday, Macintosh!

  1. Love how he confused the eMate with a regular Apple laptop – “that turquoise thing.” Great stuff.

  2. Jason says:

    Thanks for putting together this latest blog, Blake- The B&W Mac was a magical computer, and reading the stories on folklore.org is a great way to get some insight into how the machine was born. I remember very fondly buying my first Mac- a used Mac Plus from Sun Remarketing in 1991. I paid 660.00 for it, which as a kid in high school was hard to muster. The computer was worth every penny!

    The wizards at Apple are still making products that are so desirable to own that you just ‘have to have one’.. If only they made cars- the American automobile industry would be in much better shape today!

  3. brianhceo says:

    I have a Macintosh Picasso light in Mint condition that I have been saving since I received it as an Authorized Apple Dealer in the mid 80’s. For all of you specialists out there, let me know if you are interested in adding it to your collection and I may part with it for the special 25th anniversay. Regards, BrianHCEO brian@techpalooza.com

  4. Interesting how Apple’s original vision as seen in the 128K Mac seemed to take a back seat for so long. Sure, there was always the Classic or the Performa, but those were lower end machines.

    Today’s iMac is very well specified and is second only to the Mac Pro. For most people this is what computers need to be: fewer bits, noise, cables and mess and more elegance.

  5. BigRed1 says:

    I’ve got an original “Fat” Mac and Apple Image Writer, with all the original packaging they came in, floppies and cardboard picasso cases, apple and microsoft software and manuals, and original carrying case. My wife is making me clean out the storage area. Is there a place to find the value of this stuff? Is there a mac related marketplace that I might post all of this stuff for sale. I’ve had since 1984 for sale?

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