24 January 2009

Happy Birthday! The Apple Mac is 25.

Today is a special day for the international community of professional computer users, and it is also the 25th birthday of a good friend and trusted work companion of mine.

Exactly a quarter of a century ago - on January 24th, 1984 - Apple's first ever Macintosh computer (photo left) went on sale.

For those of you who have never ventured beyond a PC, let me say a few words of introduction. (And all of you who are - like myself - users of Apple Macs, just skip the next few paragraphs...)

The Macintosh - developed and manufactured by Apple Inc. - was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface rather than a command line interface.
It was quickly adopted as the work station of choice by designers and people in the graphic and printing industry all around the globe, and in 25 years not much has changed in that regard. Even though PCs are much improved by now, the world's designers, editors and printers still prefer and use the Apple Macintosh, meanwhile in a whole variety of models.

The reason for such brand and product loyalty is quite simple: In contrast to most PCs and their accident-prone software from Microsoft, the Macintosh is a stable and reliable work horse, a solid companion for every creative person.
I got my first Mac, as users call the Macintosh affectionately, in 1992. Compared with today's models it was a rather simple machine, but it did everything it was required to do without any problems. Meanwhile I am on my third Macintosh, and without the current recession I might already be on the fourth. During the 17 years I had never a single technical problem with a Mac, neither on the software nor on the hardware side. Some people say that a Mac is just like a VW Beetle: it runs and runs and runs...

I also use PCs with Microsoft software, and with them I had a good bit of trouble over the years, mostly with software, but also three serious problems with the hardware. Such does simply not happen with an Apple Mac and this high degree of solidity, reliability and functionality, combined with a user-friendly system and clarity in structure and design, makes the Apple Mac such a superior work station.
Apple's CEO Steve Jobs (above right), a computer enthusiast of the 'old school' himself, knows that as long as he keeps the quality of his products high, the professional users of computers will stay with him and with the Mac.

The Macintosh project started in 1978 when Jef Raskin (left) became the 31st employee of Apple Computers. He envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer for the average consumer and wanted to name it after his favorite sort of apple, the 'McIntosh'. But the name had to be changed slightly for legal reasons.
In September 1979 Jef Raskin started hiring new people for the project, and he began to look for an engineer who could put together a prototype. Bill Atkinson, a member of Apple's Lisa team (which developed a similar but higher-end computer), introduced him to Burrell Smith, a service technician who had joined the company earlier that year.
Over the years Raskin assembled a large development team that designed and built the original Macintosh hardware and software.

Besides Raskin, Atkinson and Smith the Macintosh design team (photo right) included also George Crow, Chris Espinosa, Andy Hertzfeld, Joanna Hoffman, Susan Kare, Daniel Kottke and Jerry Manock.
They were the 'founding fathers' (and mothers) of a computer revolution that changed the world even more than the 'founding fathers' of the United States had changed it with their declaration of independence in 1776.

After years of new thinking and hard work the first Macintosh was ready for the market shortly before Christmas 1983. It went on official display for sale for the first time on January 24th, 1984, exactly 25 years ago.
Even though it took me another eight years before I joined the international Mac community, I am glad to be part of it and would not want to be without a Mac now. It has changed my life and work forever, and done the same for millions of other creative workers all around the globe. So today let us pause for a moment, rejoice and say "Happy 25th Birthday, Mac!"

The Emerald Islander

4 comments:

wiseconservatism.com said...

it is always good to find another Macintosh user. They are getting easier to find anymore too.

happy 25th Birthday Mac.

-Robert-

THE EMERALD ISLANDER said...

Yes, it is indeed a pleasure to encounter a fellow Mac user. Nice to meet you.

I thought I give the date a special mention, even though it does not have a direct connection with Ireland. But then again, I am a cosmopolitan and at home anywhere on this planet... Just happen to live in Ireland for nearly two decades now.

Thanks for visiting and for your comment. I hope you'll drop in again.

K8 the Gr8 said...

Oh. I feel really old now.

THE EMERALD ISLANDER said...

Age is just a number. What matters is the state of mind. I know some 'old' teenagers, and some very 'young' senior citizens.
And there is of course a lot of room in between.
Personally I have not aged inwardly during the past 20 years. Only my body and appearance did change a little.

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