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In late 1983, people began seeing odd commercials on TV, commercials which promised a new kind of computer. One that promised (borrowing from the Orwell novel) 1984 won't be like Nineteen Eighty-Four."

This computer was the Macintosh, official birthday - day of its first official sell:

January 24, 1984

Commemorating the 29īth Anniversary of the Macintosh on January 24 myoldmac.net is proud to present the first vintage Macintosh Locator App for mobile phones: 68K Finder - Find a Mac - made easy... Read more about the App.

The Macintosh 1984 "SuperBowl" TV Advertisement

Big Brother Speaks

As 1984 was originally conceived, Big Brother did not have a speaking role, but director Ridley Scott wanted to give him some lines. Copywriter Steve Hayden objected at first, but agreed to put something together when Scott threatened to write the lines himself. Apple vehemently denied that the propaganda-spouting Big Brother character in its 1984 commercial represented its $40-billion competitor, IBM. Decide for yourself as you read Big Brother's harangue from the full-length, 60-second commercial:

"My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. We have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For today we celebrate the first, glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth! We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion! We shall prevail!"

The 60-second spot featured a female athlete running through a dystopian landscape inspired by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, to throw a sledgehammer at a TV image of Big Brother, meant, in this case, to represent IBM. It ends with the promise, "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984."

The ad, the brainchild of the Chiat/Day advertising agency, played well when shown to an Apple sales conference in 1983. But the company's board of directors balked and ordered the ad withdrawn from its Super Bowl slot. Only the intervention of Steve Wozniak, who said he'd pay for the spot personally if the board refused to air it, saved the day.

The commercial aired nationally only once, but its creativity and impact on the product prompted Advertising Age to select it as the "Commercial of the Decade." The ad is also credited with beginning the annual creative orgy that characterizes modern Super Bowl commercials. More informations behind the scenes...

The Macintosh was the first popular consumer market computer featuring a graphical user interface (GUI). Until then, there had been a few prototype systems, including the Xerox PARC Star and Apple 's own Lisa. The Lisa later resurfaced as the Mac XL for a brief time (it emulated a weak Mac 512K) then was quietly buried in a virtual silicon grave. So what about the Macintosh thing?

What we’ve never seen indeed, was the big day itself. Lots of historic stuff has been preserved - images, texts, even sounds, and the saga has been told on and on. However only very few people have actually seen how Steve Jobs pulls the first Mac out of this bag, how the Mac introduces itself to the public, Steves biggest grin ever, and how he is obviously overwhelmed by this moment in the Cupertino Flint Center.

Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh

The Mac brought a new attitude toward using a computer, writing programs, and thinking about computing in general. The entire interface and use were based upon the use of a mouse with a single button. To enforce the use of a mouse, the first Mac keyboard did not have a function, arrow, or scrolling keys. Gosh, they were serious about this whole point-and-click think! Info source: www.unt.edu

The original Macintosh sold for $2600, with an 8 MHz 68000 processor, 128K of RAM, and a single floppy drive. The only software available when it originally shipped was MacPaint, MacWrite, which were soon followed by Microsoft Basic & Multiplan.

The most famous innovation, of course, is the original Mac's graphical user interface, which Microsoft Windows appeared to copy over several generations. Microsoft, which denied this from 1985 on, paid Apple Computer an undisclosed sum in 1997 to end allegations that it had poached Apple. Never mind that Apple was itself accused of poaching the interface from Xerox. The Mac was key in the advent of desktop publishing, too. Wi-Fi, now one of the hottest things in networking, got its start in 1989, when Apple engineers were looking for a way to wirelessly connect the Mac to a printer.

"Mac" trademark belonged to another company...

Steve Jobs' trademark spat with Cisco over "iPhone" isn't the first time Jobs has brought a product to market with another company's trademark -- he did it with the Mac. According to the biography of former Apple CEO John Sculley, Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, Jobs launched the Mac in 1984 even though the "Mac" trademark belonged to another company. "Knowing we would face trademark challenges over Steve's decision to launch Macintosh under its original codename, Al (Eisenstat, Apple's general counsel) had argued at full volume that Steve should pick another name for the computer," Sculley writes on page 208. Sculley doesn't name the other company, but says: "Steve prevailed, but it ultimately cost us nearly $2 million in out-of-court settlements."

Bill Gates honoring Macintosh...


In 1984, Bill Gates claimed that the Macintosh was the only machine that really captured peoples' imagination.

TV Ad - Test Drive A Macintosh


In November, Apple buys every advertising page in a special post-election issue of Newsweek. The issue’s final ad is used to launch a “Test ... all » Drive a Macintosh” promotion, in which customers are invited to take a Macintosh home for a free 24-hour trial. About 200,000 people do just that, and Advertising Age magazine names “Test Drive” one of the ten best promotions of the year.

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