The Mac Turns 40: Read Apple's Announcement From 1984

January 24 marks the 40th anniversary of Steve Jobs unveiling the Macintosh, the first successful mass-marketed computer with a graphical user interface.

Classic Mac 40 Years Old Feature 1
The original Macintosh popularized the computer mouse, allowing users to control an on-screen pointer. This point-and-click method of computer navigation was still a novel concept to most people at the time, as personal computers in this era typically had text-based command-line interfaces controlled with a keyboard.

An excerpt from Apple's press release in 1984:

Users tell Macintosh what to do simply by moving a "mouse" — a small pointing device — to select among functions listed in menus and represented by pictorial symbols on the screen. Users are no longer forced to memorize the numerous and confusing keyboard commands of conventional computers. The result is radical ease of use and a significant reduction in learning time. In effect, the Macintosh is a desk-top appliance offering users increased utility and creativity with simplicity.

Apple said the Macintosh typically took "only a few hours to learn," and it touted what are now basic computer features, such as a desktop with icons, the ability to use multiple programs in windows, drop-down menus, and copy and paste.

A quote from Jobs in Apple's press release:

Macintosh easily fits on a desk, both in terms of its style of operation and its physical design. It takes up about the same amount of desk space as a piece of paper. With Macintosh, the computer is an aid to spontaneity and originality, not an obstacle. It allows ideas and relationships to be viewed in new ways. Macintosh enhances not just productivity, but also creativity.

Pricing for the original Macintosh started at $2,495, equivalent to over $7,000 today. Key specs and features included an 8 MHz processor, 128 KB of RAM, a 400 KB floppy disk drive for storage, and serial ports for connecting a printer and other accessories.

Apple's full press release for the Macintosh can be found on Stanford University's website.

Top Rated Comments

Blackstick Avatar
4 weeks ago
I bought a shell on eBay and made a bracket for my iPad mini 6th gen. Works great!

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Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wizard_of_Woz Avatar
4 weeks ago
I still fire up the old all original, non-upgraded '84 from time to time to play some Oregon Trail. This was the first computer I ever saw in my life (I was 3 years old at launch and my neighbor got one). What a ride it has been!

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Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Timo_Existencia Avatar
4 weeks ago
"Macintosh enhances not just productivity, but also creativity." — Steve Jobs

This has been the core of my devotion to Apple products. Somehow, Apple products just work to help me be more creative. I've always seen this as the distinction between Apple and other companies, who are focused solely on "productivity."

That first Mac changed the course of my life.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CharlesShaw Avatar
4 weeks ago

Equally innovative was Hewlett-Packard's HP150 introduced the year before the Macintosh.
Interesting, but read the room, haha. This is like going to a wedding anniversary party and toasting the other guy your friend dated before she got married.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
4 weeks ago
I hope during the Super Bowl we get a throwback 1984 ad
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
onenorth Avatar
4 weeks ago
One of my favorite features was dragging a floppy disk to the trash can and having the Mac spit it out automatically.

The Mac was always uniquely elegant.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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