The History of the Macintosh

Apple Computer

The History of the Macintosh

In 1978, the Apple Lisa began development as the embodiment of applied and humanised computing being demonstrated at Xerox Parc.

Steve Jobs was in charge of this expensive failure, and saw his first GUI-based computing solution out-performed by the Macintosh.

Jef Raskin began the Mac project in 1979 as a CLI-based, mass-market computer, but Jobs took over this project after the failure of Lisa, bringing GUI to the Mac project.

HID, cheaper prices, an amazing advertisement campaign and much improved reliability saw the Mac grab both mindshare and bring in vital profits.

Although Jobs became the most important person in the history of technology, when young, his driven and untempered personalty did not help professional relationships. He was removed from Apple in 1985 due also to the series of market failures.

Over the next ten years, the Macintosh underwent several internal upgrades and packaging updates, and is the most recognisable computers from the 1980’s. The Macintosh Portable was one of the first active matrix LCD’s and SRAM released in 1989.

In 1991, the PowerBook 100 succeeded the Portable, and introduced the now-conventional layout of keyboard near the screen with a pointing device positioned between palm rests. All modern laptops follow this Sony-created design.

The Macintosh’s success through the 1980’s was desktop publishing, and in the 90’s, Apple pioneered QuickTime and QuickDraw, which today still form the basis of audio-visual playback and interactions with computers.

The 90’s also saw the death of both Mac and Apple: the software was separated from the hardware and licensed out, allowing cloners to draw dwindling profits away from Apple, and forced Apple itself to release a large range of commodity computers.

Jobs was brought back to Apple in 1996, and in 1997 reformed the company. His experiences creating NeXT Computers and Pixar Animation Studios greatly tempered his leadership and visionary skills.

Over the next three years, Jobs completely re-packaged the Mac and rebranded Apple, protected Apple’s IP and brand identity, and began the Macintosh’s current iconic place in history: the iMac and PowerBook G3 in 1998, and the iBook and the PowerMac G3 in 1999.

Sir Jonny Ives, who joined Apple in 1992, and Tim Cook, who joined in 1998, and Bob Mansfield in 1999, are only three of many who significantly contributed to the success of the Macintosh beginning in the late 1990’s.

The Mac gained its most important advantage in 2005 when Jobs switched their processors to Intel. The result was that all then-commonly formatted software could be easily ported to the Macintosh. The Mac’s design also gradually shifted from plastics to alloys.

The biggest leap for the Macintosh was to mobile: in 2007, the iPhone was met with incredulity, but soon was the market favourite. In 2008, the MacBook Air completely reset standards of what a portable computer ought to be, and in 2010, the iPad presented what is now the most revolutionary mobile computing solutions in history.

The iOS operating system and the macOS operating system are both based on the same UNIX/Mach/BSD bases incorporating significant open source code. Apple deliberately tailored iOS for touch-input, and macOS for non-touch: these are the two versions of Macintosh.

While macOS aka OSX gave birth to iOS aka iPhone OS, iOS has likewise given birth to WatchOS, tvOS and enabled Continuity, CarPlay, AirPlay, iCloud and iPad’s specialised version of iOS.

From 2015, the Mac has received new hardware such as the butterfly mechanism keyboard, security T2 fingerprint readers, APFS filling systems, PCIe storage, 10nm chips, non-replaceable configurations and a sleuth of visual upgrades such as P3, 4K and 5K screens, TrueTone, and variable refresh capabilities, some of which derived from iPad.

The Mac also continues its advancement of ease-of-use, such only providing the USBC ports or wireless connectivity, minimisation of mass, and energy efficiency. The Mac is also the leader in recycled material usage at purchase, and renewable energy usage after purchase.

In 2018, Apple presented software advancements supporting developers in porting iOS-based apps to the Mac. And while iOS is pioneering AR, UIKit means the Mac is also due to benefit from the larger base of iPad, and of course, iPhone.

The Mac forms the core of Apple’s success, and is moving in harmony with all Apple’s other product and service ventures.