Jan 27 2014

Straight from 1984: It's the First Public Demo of the Mac

It was 30 years ago when Steve Jobs and Apple changed the world with the Mac line of personal computers.

The Mac, the computer that helped make Apple a household name, celebrates 30 years of existence this month, and in honor of the occasion, Apple is doing a full-court press tour to bask in the glory of its history.

In addition to Apple’s Mac party, Time’s Techland blog has secured exclusive video footage of Steve Jobs’ historic public presentation of the Mac at the Boston Computer Society, which is over an hour long. During the presentation, Jobs extolls the Mac’s humanity, which is a trait that he believes the computer world is severely lacking.

In an excerpt from the presentation Jobs says:

And what we think we have here is the first telephone. And in addition to letting you do the old spreadsheets and word processing, it lets you sing. It lets you make pictures. It lets you make diagrams where you cut them and past them into your documents. It lets you put that sentence in Bold Helvetica or Old English, if that’s the way you want to express yourself.

This fusion of art and technology has been a hallmark of Apple’s products ever since. While the Apple II line of products was largely Wozniak’s baby, the Mac was Jobs’ dream come true. The Woz was all about the hobbyist computer; he relished the ability to swap out components and catered to those who liked to tinker with their machines.

Jobs, however, was more interested in controlling the user experience so that it worked like magic. He didn’t want the users to think hard about creating, he just wanted them to create.

In a 1996 interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, Jobs elaborated on his worldview that technology should be accessible to everyone and not just the few, the brave and the geeky.

“In my perspective ... science and computer science is a liberal art, it's something everyone should know how to use, at least, and harness in their life. It's not something that should be relegated to 5 percent of the population over in the corner. It's something that everybody should be exposed to and everyone should have mastery of to some extent, and that's how we viewed computation and these computation devices,” he said.

And just think: It all started with the Mac.


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