Updated: Mac in time: 30 years of Apple's legendary PC

Get the latest on iPhone/iPad innovation: Ipads Advisor

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the original Apple Macintosh − the computer that kick-started the PC transformation as we have understood it.

Here’s a potted history of Apple’s ever-evolving device − the first mass-market personal computer to provide a visual user interface.

1984 − All-in-one beginnings

On January 24, Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs exposes the first Mac to the world − an 8MHz 68k all-in-one with a 9-inch display, 3.5-inch floppy drive and 128k of RAM. Its most significant selling point is its graphic user interface – including elements from legendary Palo Alto study company Xerox Parc – that can be regulated with a mouse. The first Mac even packs in 2 then-revolutionary applications: MacPaint and the MacWrite word processing program.

Apple Mac

It retails for $2,495, is about 14 inches tall and weighed 16.5 pounds (around 7.5 Kg), but when placed in its optional carrying case, the system weighs about 22 pounds (around 10kg).

The Mac launches with that famous US$ 1.5 million Super Bowl advertisement by Ridley Scott − itself known as 1984.

1985 − Office hits the Mac

It’s a common misconception that Microsoft is an adversary of the Mac. It’s not so − it was one of its first major partners, a year after the Mac introduced. Microsoft provides two unique apps (that you may have become aware of) called Word and Excel. At this time, Microsoft also bought PowerPoint from a company called Center.

In addition, 1985 sees the arrival of the first Apple laser printer and the Aldus PageMaker desktop publishing program − 2 developments that kick-start the desktop publishing transformation that Macs were so popular for. By the end of 1985, co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak have both left Apple, while Microsoft has released Windows 1.0 − a move that verifies to be a crucial turning point in the development of the desktop computer.

1986 − SCSI is key

The Mac gets a significant upgrade through the Macintosh Plus. It now sports 1MB of RAM and SCSI: a brand-new peripheral connection standard that makes it possible for gadgets such as printers and external hard disks to be daisy chained together. The Mac operating system reaches variation 3.0 and includes such improvements as the ability to nest folders inside one another.

1987 − Business is targeted

The Macintosh Plus makes way for two new Macs: The Macintosh SE offers an option of two floppy drives or an internal hard drive, while the Macintosh II is aimed at company users. The Mac II has a 256-colour 13-inch display, a 16MHz processor and can be specced with as much as 128MB of RAM. Mac OS, on the other hand, has reached the lofty heights of variation 5.1 and allows background printing.

1988 − CD-ROM points the way

Next Apple presents the System 6.0-powered Macintosh IIx: among the first desktop computers to sport a CD-ROM drive. At the very same time, Steve Jobs exposes the first fruits of his brand-new computer system business, NeXT. It’s an all-in-one box called the NeXT Dice that ships with a magneto-optical drive (instead of a floppy) and has a 17-inch monitor as requirement. Steve Jobs is already taking the foward-looking method to future technologies that we will see with later Macs.

1989 − The first Mac laptop

Apple introduces 3 new Macs − the SE/30, Mac IIc and Mac IIci. Of these, the Mac IIci is the most fascinating. It’s a modular Mac with a separate color screen and a more compact desktop case, however ships with a 25MHz 68k processor − making it the speediest Mac made to date.

Apple also introduces its first laptop computer − the 7.25 kg Mac Portable in September. It cost expense $6,500. At NeXT, Steve Jobs exposes NeXTstep: a new Unix-based OS that’s a big bearing on the future direction of latter-day Macs.

1990 − Mass market computing

Apple introduces its fastest computer system yet − the 40MHz Macintosh IIfx. It’s designed to combat the perception that Computers running DOS are much faster than their GUI-wielding Mac competitors. Microsoft Windows 3.0 makes its launching in the same year at a time when Apple has 20 % of the overall computing market.

Macintosh IIfx

1991 − Performance is the key

Apple ups the ante on the COMPUTER, introducing six new Macs, including two high-end Quadras − desktop tower Computers with Motorola 68040 CPUs as much as 2.5 times faster than their predecessors. Apple also introduces a new variety of Mac portables called PowerBooks: the first laptops to have keyboards at the back and the trackpad at the front. Mac OS reaches System 7.0.

1992 − Apple strikes the buffers

The wheels start to come off the Apple delighted bus. Firstly, it ships a variety of underpowered consumer Macs called Performas. Then Microsoft teams up with Intel to provide better-performing x486 PCs running the increasingly-popular Windows 3.1. Things are going better at NeXT, with variation 3.0 of the NeXTstep OS transitioning from Motorola 68K to Intel CPUs. It’s released the following year.

1993 − Windows takes a bite

Apple presents 19 brand-new Macs split across six different ranges, encompassing the ColorClassic to the low-end LC, mid-range Centris and upmarket Quadra. In addition to Performas and PowerBooks, Apple announces that it’s delivered its 10 millionth Mac, but competition’s getting harder and Microsoft shares Windows is now being made use of by over 25 million people.

1994 − The transition to PowerPC

Apple starts the first significant transition that it’ll make throughout the Mac’s 25 year history. It starts with the arrival of the first three Power Macs − equipments that operate on PowerPC RISC (Reduced Direction Set Computer) architecture. The PowerPC chips are much, much faster than the CISC-based chips that Apple has been using up until now and are the result of a partnership between Apple, IBM and Motorola. 1994 likewise sees the arrival of System 7.5.


1995 − The Mac cannot compete

Apple is fined a double whammy around this time: the arrival of Windows 95 and the ongoing success of Intel’s unbelievably popular Pentium CPUs. Apple’s PowerPC-equipped Macs are offering well, but the rest of its line-up underwhelms. Apple accredits its OS to belatedly compete with the Windows and Intel systems, however by September Steve Jobs is telling Fortune that he knows ways to turn Apple’s fortunes around and no-one at the business will listen.

1996 − Jobs is back

In February, Steve Jobs shocks many by telling Fortune: ‘If I were running Apple, I’d milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth − and get hectic on the next great thing. The COMPUTER wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a very long time back.’ Apple finally lays the old 68k processors to rest and starts deal with System 8.0 − the next version of the Mac OS. By the end of the year Apple also gets Jobs’ company NeXT and its NeXTstep operating system. Steve Jobs is back in the fold, which ends up being a prelude to Apple becoming the company we understand today.

20th anniversary Mac

1997 − Jobs returns to basics

Apple has a lot of line of product, too few consumers and is hemorrhaging cash. Jobs, now interim Chief Executive Officer, explains Apple’s situation to Time in October, saying: ‘Apple has some remarkable assets, but I think without some attention, the business could, could, could … could, could pass away.’ Apple encourages Costs Gates to buy $150 million worth of shares in the company. Jobs exterminates the Mac clones. The Mac OS reaches System 8 and Apple starts work on Rhapsody, the precursor to Mac OS X. Year end sees Apple shipping Macs with PowerPC G3 chips that quickly outshine their predecessors.

1998 − The iMac declares a new era

Steve Jobs remains to salary war on Apple’s stock, exterminating the Newton PDA. He focuses the company on a new product that takes Apple back to its origins: the iMac. Jobs’ vision materializes as an all-in-one system boasting a 233MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 32MB of RAM, a 4GB disk drive and a 15-inch display. It’s no floppy disk drive or legacy ports, however rather offers simple net hookup and USB − a nascent peripheral connection from Intel. It’s a smash attacked with consumers worldwide.

The original 'Bondi Blue' iMac

1999 − G4 speeds ahead

The iMac gets quicker and becomes available in even more attracting colors. It’s signed up with by the bondi blue Power Mac, which includes G3 PowerPC processors adding to 450MHz. Apple likewise presents a new variety of G3 laptops, consisting of the toilet seat-shaped iBook. The biggest surprise is the Power Mac G4 tower, which Apple calls the ‘world’s first desktop supercomputer’. Finally, Apple announces Flight terminal, the first 802.11 b Wi-Fi router and Mac OS X Server − the world’s first taste of a major leap in the Mac user interface.

2000 − OS X shows its face

Steve Jobs advertises the customer variation of Mac OS X, with the first betas appearing at the end of the year. Ultimately, it looks great, however lacks features and is too sluggish. It is, however, very different from System 9. Apple’s existing Mac products − the iMac, iBook, Power Mac and PowerBook − get speed bumps and color changes, instead of anything advanced. There’s likewise the launch of the Power Mac G4 Cube − a headless Mac that harks back to Steve Jobs’ days at NeXT. It’s a flop as it’s too pricey and experiences cracks in the covering.

The G4 Cube suffered from a poor quality finish, but it looked cool

2001 − The spinning coastline ball era

Apple ships Mac OS X 10.1, showcasing the Aqua color pattern, use of translucency and missing features. It’s still very slow-moving and the ‘spinning coastline ball of death’ rapidly becomes a familiar phrase in a Mac user’s lexicon. From a design perspective it’s Apple’s Windows Vista − all style and substance that was too slow to really utilize.

Apple also exposes an absolutely brand-new design for its laptops, with the PowerBook packing a 15-inch widescreen display and G4 CPU into a 1-inch-thick titanium case. The first iBooks make their debut, however the spruced up iMac is a disaster: its patterned Blue Dalmation and Flower Power case develops keep purchasers away. Lastly, Apple launches a 5GB music player called the iPod, while Microsoft introduces the still-trundling Windows XP.

Flower power

2002 − The OS X upgrade cadence takes off

Apple launches a revamped variation of the iMac with semi-spherical base and a flat panel display that ‘drifts’ on a cantilevered chrome arm. It also displays new customer iBooks, spruced up G4 Power Macs and the eMac, which is aimed at schools. OS X 10.2 Jaguar likewise enters the fray, providing 150 brand-new functions and a long-awaited speed boost.

2003 − A complete refresh

Apple kills off the Mac OS Classic mode and revamps the entire Mac line: iBooks, PowerBooks, Power Mac G4 towers, the iMac and the eMac. A significant speed boost likewise arrives with the Power Mac G5 in June. It’s 2 64-bit PowerPC G5 processors from IBM going for 2.0 GHz apiece. The iPod attacks 40GB and is accompanied by the launch of the iTunes Store and the arrival of the iPod and iTunes on Windows.

2004 − The iMac as we know it

The year is dominated by the iPod as opposed to the Mac, with Apple even touting the Mac as being ‘from the developers of iPod’. The iMac gets a significant spruce up − the drifting LCD and hemispherical base changed by an all-in-one design that packs a computer system behind a flat panel LCD − so we have had a very similar iMac design for a years now. Apple is now in disrespectful wellness, but it’s COMPUTER market share is up to its lowest point: just 3 % worldwide.

The UK’s first Apple Establishment opens in Regent Street, London. Over the coming months Apple Stores show to be indispensable PR for the business as Apple desktops, laptop computers and iOS gadgets end up being ever more recognisable.

2005 − The G5 is right here, but it can’t compete

IBM provides the first dual-core PowerPC G5 chips to Apple, enabling it to provide Power Mac G5s to its expert customers with two dual-core CPUs inside. However, IBM is not able to deliver exactly what Apple really needs − a fast, low-powered PowerPC G5 chip that can be made use of in Apple’s troubling iBook and PowerBook line.

And so, in June, ‘hell freezes over’ when Jobs reveals that Apple is to undergo its 3rd significant change − a significant switch over to Intel processors, implying that Apple hardware no longer will be differentiated from that in Computers. Mac OS X 10.5 ‘Tiger’ is revealed in April.

The Mac Mini likewise takes a bow in January 2005 with PowerPC G4 processors, and has now been with numerous revisions. From modest beginnings, it’s now an extremely effective device readily available with Intel Core i7 processors.

2006 − Intel takes the Mac

Every Mac that Apple makes dumps the PowerPC chip in favor of Intel Core Duo processors, starting with the iMac, Mac Mini and MacBook Pro in January, and ending with the Mac Pro in August. By the end of the year the MacBook Pro has been spruced up once again, this time sporting Core 2 Duo processors.

Boot Camp, also presented this year, allows all owners of Intel Macs to dual boot their Macs with Windows. Universal applications for both Intel and PowerPC are not that typical, however Apple’s Rosetta software application enables PowerPC apps to operate on Intel Macs.

And then there were the Get a Mac ads. Not precisely Apple’s classiest hour.

2007 − Portable Macs end up being efficiency powerhouses

Apple’s year kicks of with a bang and they reveal 8-core Mac Pros will be readily available as a buy-to-order alternative. Apple embraces the Intel Santa Rosa chipset for the MacBook Pro in August and revamps the iMac so that it now sports an aluminum and glass enclosure with Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs.

2007 also sees the introduction of the iPhone, with banners at Macworld Exposition in January referring to the company’s history and declaring ‘the first 30 years were just the start’.

Windows Vista launches, and is widely criticised, before OS X 10.5 Leopard goes on sale in October. It becomes Apple’s biggest-selling OS X upgrade so far.

The original MacBook

2008 − The MacBook Air leaves the envelope

Apple’s most effective year ever begins with the announcement that the Mac Pro is to provide 8-core processing as standard, plus there are much faster iMacs, MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Apple also reveals the MacBook Air − an ultra-light note pad with a multi-touch trackpad for motions.

By the end of the year, the MacBook and MacBook Pro get an additional spruce up, this time with a new ‘unibody’ enclosure that sees the bottom cases milled from solid block of aluminium.

2009 − A smaller sized MacBook Pro

Steve Jobs announces in June that OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard makes it possible for all apps to use the power of multi-core processors.

This year is, however, more notable for the long-awaited release of the 13.3-inch variation of the MacBook Pro − the natural successor to the 12-inch variation of the PowerBook G4.

2010 − The future is download

The Mac App Establishment takes a bow and foreruns an optical drive free-future for the Mac. It needs the v10.6.6 upgrade for Snow Leopard, which will become a sticking point for the release of OS X Lion the year after.

The 11-inch MacBook Air is also presented, in the middle of much speculation that Apple would release a killer device to match all the low-cost PC netbooks that were around at the time. It decides to eliminate them with the iPad rather.

MacBook Pro

2011 − Thunderbolt points to quicker interfaces

OS X Lion is launched in July, the first version of OS X not to be released on disc in one format or another. A USB flash variation is offered, permitting those who’ve problems connecting to the net to make use of the shop. Numerous who have not upgraded to Snow Leopard are captured out due to the fact that they don’t have access to the Mac App Shop.

Also in 2011, Apple ships the first MacBook Pros including Intel’s Thunderbolt tech, which utilizes the same physical port as Mini DisplayPort. It has not yet removed, though remains to showcase on all brand-new Macs.

The iMac continued to go from strength to strength

2012 − Retina displays come to the Mac

Fans of the long-neglected Mac Pro line finally gets a fillip with the information that there will be an announcement of a brand-new version in 2013.

The summertime sees OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion hit the Mac App Store, which continues the trend of OS X Lion to add an iOS-style sheen to OS X and introduces numerous of the very same naming conventions for apps.

The end of the year features a revised Mac mini along with a brand-new iMac, with an even thinner display − simply 5mm at the edges.

The MacBook Pro is revised but also gets a welcome boost through a brand-new Retina display variation and a slimline unibody construct without any optical drive. Both 15- and 13-inch versions are launched in 2012, with a revision in very early 2013. These new models are likewise notable for their HDMI ports.

2013 − The new Mac Pro is here

After the MacBook Pro revision comes a further enhancement for the MacBook Air.

The Mac ends the year on a high, with the release of the Mac Pro in addition to OS X 10.9 Mavericks (Apple shares it lacked big feline names). Mavericks hadn’t been a terrific leap forward and had its troubles, but it’s still extremely successful for the business.

We are expecting OS X 10.10 in late 2014, however there’s no hint yet of a completely new version number in OS X 11.