It’s hard to believe that 28 years have passed since the Macintosh was introduced by a young, bowtie-clad Steve Jobs, on January 24, 1984. It was Apple’s annual stockholder meeting and Jobs (and his Macintosh crew) were going to unveil the Macintosh to the public. It was a magic moment aptly described by Andy Hertzfeld on the Folklore website.
Even back then Steve was a showman, unveiling the Macintosh from underneath a bag. What audience member would believe that 23 years later, Jobs would pull out another Macintosh, the MacBook Air, from a manila envelope. It’s amazing when you look back and see how the Macintosh computer set the stage for much of what we have today.
When I watch the first Macintosh presentation, I see the the MacWrite and MacPaint apps as predecessors to iWork, iPhoto and iMovie. It’s not the apps themselves, but what you can do with a computer that Apple seemed to capture with that first Mac. Even the description of how the Mac team worked to exhaustion to get the applications ready just in time for the presentation reminds me of how startups today still operate.
When I see the scrolling text on the first Macintosh, I think of the iPad, sitting in a conference room, with a teleprompter app scrolling text across the screen. And when the first Macintosh talks to us, I can’t help but think of Siri. Yes, I know the underlying technology has changed, but the vision was there back in 1984.
Rather than continue to wax philosophically about the Macintosh, we’ll leave you to watch the video recording of the unveiling. It’s pure gold at the end to see the smile on Jobs’s face and the enthusiastic applause of the crowd. It makes you want to go back to that event and revisit a time when most technology was revolutionary. It also makes me thankful that companies like Apple are still willing to push the boundaries and keep this revolution going.