Today is the 30th anniversary of Apple’s introduction of the Macintosh computer to the world and what an amazing 30 years of technology it’s been. It really was the computer that changed everything. Although it wan’t the first Apple computer to introduce the desktop metaphor (that was the Apple IIGS), the Macintosh made it mainstream and that date marks the turning point from computers being specialized tools that required arcane text commands to operate to tools for the everyman.
I wrote about the 20th anniversary of the Mac in 2004 and my history with the computers to that point. But the 10 years since have been among the most monumental for Apple, even if much of the biggest and most disruptive changes wasn’t because of the Macs.
To recap: My first Apple computer was an Apple IIe that we got when I was a sophomore in high school, way back in 1983. After that we had an Apple //c and and then an Apple IIGS, which may have been my favorite computer of all. My first Mac was a PowerBook 520c that I got when I was at Franciscan University of Steubenville, probably about 1994 or 1995, and I was one of the early pioneers in taking notes on a laptop in a college classroom. Later, I had brief custody of a Macintosh Centris 610, when my roommate left school to join a mendicant religious order, but I eventually shipped that off to him at seminary in Africa of all places. By then I had joined the Apple’s brief flirtation with cloning when I had a PowerComputing PowerCenter 120, which served me well for many years.
After that there was a Power Macintosh G3 desktop, then a Power Macintosh G3 (Blue & White) tower. Around this time, I also won, through an online sweepstakes from Disney, an original model iMac, which was a lot of fun, but unfortunately my current Mac at the time was higher powered so I reluctantly passed it on to my brother’s family. (I have since received it back.)
The Power Macs were followed by a series of iMacs, including the iMac G4 and the iMac G5. About this time, I also started using a Macintosh laptop alongside the desktops, including an iBook G3 and then the white iBook G4. This is when I switched to using only portables for my personal Mac as I followed the MacBook with a 2007 MacBook Pro and then a 2011 MacBook Pro. Finally, at work I have a handful of different Macs at my disposal including a 2010 27″ iMac, a Mac mini, and a 13″ MacBook.
Whew! And I didn’t even tell you about the iPhones and iPads and the Macs owned by family. I suppose it’s clear how I feel about Apple computers and Macs in particular. Yes, I’ve used Windows and even Linux over the years and still do for work, and while Windows has gotten better in that time, it’s still just not as powerful. There isn’t another computer out there that can run OS X, Windows, and Linux on the same hardware at the same time, but Macs can. And OS X has grown into an amazing and capable operating system that will hold your hand if you want it (the graphical interface) or let’s you dig into the guts (the command line interface).
Here’s looking at what the next 30 years will bring us.
- AppleThirtyYearsofMac-2: Apple, Inc. | Copyright by owner, used under Fair Use doctrine