Steve Jobs' First Public Demonstration of the Macintosh, Hidden Since 1984

Steve JobsOn January 24, 1984, Steve Jobs famously demonstrated the Macintosh for the first time at Apple's shareholders meeting at the Flint Center in Cupertino.

Less than a week later, Jobs again showed off the Mac. But this time, instead of showing it to Apple's investors, he showed it to his potential user base at the monthly general meeting of the Boston Computer Society.

This lesser known introduction actually comes off more polished than the January 24 version, which is viewable on YouTube.

The Boston Computer Society introduction, which runs for 90 minutes, has gone virtually unseen since it took place. Time reporter Harry McCracken managed to track down the tape, locating a Boston-area videographer who had the original tapes in storage on a now-obsolete format called U-matic.

According to McCracken:

Fortunately for posterity, the production values on the video version of the meeting are quite good — far better than what Apple managed for the shareholder meeting. (In Cupertino, the lighting had been so murky at times that the only thing you can see clearly is Jobs’ white shirt gleaming from inside his jacket.) Apple sprung for multiple cameras, one of which was manned by the BCS’s [videographer Glenn] Koenig. Moments with subpar camera work in the Cupertino video, such as when Jobs pulls the Mac out of its bag and boots it up, are nicely shot in this one.

As presented here, the video — which is a rough cut of the version which the Computer History Museum will preserve — has a few moments which have been reconstructed. The slides which Jobs shows are the same ones he presented in Boston, but they’re borrowed from the video of the Cupertino event. And when Jobs shows a blurry slide of the IBM PC — provoking mirth from the audience and prompting him to say "Let’s be fair" — the blurring is a recreation of what really happened. (To this day, [BCS co-founder Jonathan] Rotenberg isn’t sure whether it was a prank on Apple’s part or a bona-fide technical glitch.)

"It’s so much more intimate," Rotenberg says of the Boston version of the presentation. "It’s about the users, which is what you don’t get at the shareholder meeting."


McCracken has much more about the video and the event itself in his Time piece, along with details on the Boston Computer Society, which shut down in 1996. Excerpts of the video were shown at Macworld and the Computer History Museum's Macintosh 30th Anniversary party, held last night at the same Flint Center where Jobs first introduced the machine to his shareholders.

At the end, it includes a special Q&A session with Macintosh team members, along with a number of software demos -- McCracken calls the BCS demonstration "a prototype for the media extravaganzas which we citizens of the 21st century call Stevenotes."

The never-before seen video is an important piece of Apple history, and, fittingly, the Computer History Museum will be preserving it for posterity.

Top Rated Comments

saintforlife Avatar
105 months ago
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michaelgtrusa Avatar
105 months ago
Steve is still the man 
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigBeast Avatar
105 months ago
I hope that more forgotten media surfaces in the future that focuses on Steve. This footage is gold to those that appreciate his genius and honesty. RIP Steve. You'll always be missed; never forgotten. Thanks for Tim, he's finally learning how to be himself, and be comfortable living in your shadow. Tim's not Steve, nor will he ever be, but he still cares about Apple and its users. Looks like Steve knew what he was doing when picking his successor- unlike Microsoft, Gates and Balmer.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justperry Avatar
105 months ago
Great work!

How can you tell, did you see all 1.36:46 in those 14 minutes since this was posted.:p
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BvizioN Avatar
105 months ago
How can you tell, did you see all 1.36:46 in those 14 minutes since this was posted.:p
But this video was published to the public on youtube long before ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NOV Avatar
105 months ago
It's presentations like this that you realize you miss the man.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...
iOS 15

Everything New in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID With a Mask, Emojis, Apple Card Widget, Universal Control and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 12:08 pm PST by
Apple today seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing purposes, adding a slew of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update that we've had to iOS 15 to date, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis, and tons more. Face ID With a Mask With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone...
mobeewave

Upcoming iOS Update Will Allow iPhones to Accept Credit Cards Directly Using NFC

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:00 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new payments service that will allow iPhones to accept payments directly on device with no additional hardware, reports Bloomberg. Right now, iPhones can accept credit cards with add-ons like the Square Reader, but Apple's new technology will eliminate the need for a third-party product. Individuals and small businesses will be able to accept payments with the tap of a...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.2 With Safari Vulnerability Fix

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:19 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.2, the second major update to the macOS Monterey update that launched in October. macOS Monterey 12.2 comes over a month after the release of the 12.1 update, which brought SharePlay support. The ‌‌‌macOS Monterey 12.2‌‌ update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. Apple has also...