But a lot about the Mac and the hype it generated was driven by marketing and hype. Jason Scott, a filmmaker and technology historian who works at the digital archive nonprofit Internet Archive, remembers seeing the original TV commercial for the Mac 128K when he was a teenager. the Strange short film Directed by Ridley Scott and depicting a dystopian future based on the novel 1984. What saves us all from this dark future? Mac 128k of course.
“This commercial started rolling and it looked like it was completely from Mars,” Scott recalls. “There was something going on but I didn't quite understand it.”
Not long afterward, when Scott tried out a Macintosh for the first time, he was thrilled. He says it was like looking through a telescope into another world.
However, the Mac was not as successful as some expected. “It didn't sell as well to business people as Steve thought it would,” recalls Andy Cunningham, who worked on the marketing campaign for the device. “This is ultimately why Steve was fired from Apple.” Jobs left in 1985 however He returned to the company In the late nineties.
It took until 1988 before Apple sold enough Macintoshes, including many later iterations of the original Macintosh, to finally outsell the Apple II, which appeared in 1977.
But Macs were loved by many, especially young people and those working in creative roles.
Cunningham and colleague Jane Anderson helped build hype around the original Macintosh by giving individual journalists six hours with people at Apple, including Jobs, and giving them multiple demonstrations of the device to make sure they understood what they were writing about. “I watched them all play with that computer and their eyes lit up,” Cunningham says.
It would be wrong to suggest that the Mac 128K was a perfect computer. As mentioned earlier, it had severe limitations and was not initially a commercial success. But it left an indelible mark. The emergence of personal computing was undoubtedly a watershed moment. Huge, cabinet-like computers that you can only connect via an old terminal now seem hopelessly outdated. Now we have portable, cheerful, and accessible machines that almost anyone can use.
Funnily enough, the era of individual computing heralded by the original Macintosh is coming to an end. In the 21st century, we have become more dependent on server farms, cloud processing, big data, and networked systems. Other people's computers are becoming increasingly indispensable to the operation of our own.
“Now we're on the other side,” reflects Platner, who has kept almost every Macintosh he's ever bought. “We needed a period of 40 years to empower and enable people.”
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