Apple Macintosh

Apple Macintosh

The first Apple Macintosh was a personal computer released in 1984. In 1983 Apple had released a business computer called the Lisa with a graphical user interface, and mouse, which was a far cry from other computers at the time which mostly used MS-DOS. The Lisa was never really meant as a personal computer and retailed at $10,000, but Apple was very pleased with its concept and had started working on an affordable variation, a personal computer that was affordable for its time, and that used the Lisa’s graphical user interface design. The result was the Apple Macintosh which was launched in January of 1984 with the sales price of $2,495.

Apple Computers spent an enormous amount of money on promoting the Macintosh, including a 1.5 million dollar groundbreaking commercial that ran during Super Bowl XVIII depicting the coming of Macintosh to save the world from an Orwellian depicted IBM status quo. The company also spent 2.5 million dollars to buy all of the advertising pages in 1984’s post election issue of Newsweek Magazine. Apple spent so much on the ads for the Apple Macintosh that they raised the actual price of the computer from $1,995 to $2,495.

The Macintosh was very different compared to other computers at the time. Most systems at the time were running MS-DOS, or similar variations. The Macintosh ran a single user, single tasking operating system, known as Mac System Software, which came on a 400 KB floppy disc. The 1984 Apple Macintosh was extremely user friendly, with a menu bar that included File, Edit, Search, Format, Font, and Style options, which were revolutionary in its day, and still in use close to 30 years later. The 1984 Apple Macintosh most closely resembles personal computers used today more so than any other computer systems around at the time.


The 1984 Apple Macintosh used a Motorola 68000 processor. Its initial speed was 8 MHz. It had 128 KB of RAM as well as 64KB of ROM. Storage included a built in 200K 3.5″ floppy drive, with optional external 3.5″ floppy drives. I/O included parallel and serial, and video was 512 x 364 monochrome.


Initially the first Apple Macintosh grabbed hold of the public’s imagination with its marketing as a personal computer for the people, while painting other computers at the time as stale, boring, and rigid. They were targeting everyday people, and not just businesses and hobbyists. It was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature both a mouse and GUI (graphic user interface). The Apple Macintosh, or the Mac as it is more commonly known today, continued to evolve and eventually led to technological innovations used everyday, including the iPhone, iPad, and several other Apple devices, and devices based on Apple innovations.

Interesting Facts

“1984”, the name of the commercial that introduced the public to the Apple Macintosh personal computer, and caused quite a stir all over the media was directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed the movies “Alien”, “Blade Runner”, and several other successful films.

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