Steve Jobs Unveiled The First Macintosh 36 Years Ago

BY Asif Shaik

Published 24 Jan 2020

Apple Macintosh 1984

Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh precisely 36 years ago, today. It was probably the most innovative desktop computer, offering a graphical user interface and a revolutionary mouse.

Amidst fierce competition from IBM, the first Macintosh was first unveiled on January 24, 1984, by Steve Jobs at Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting. It was a make or break situation for the company. When Steve pulled the Macintosh out of the bag and turned it on, a message appeared on the screen. Needless to say, it amazed everyone who looked at it, and it paved the way for modern personal computers going forward.

The Macintosh featured a 9-inch black-and-white screen, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 CPU, 128KB of RAM, a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, and a price tag of a whopping $2,495 (which is equivalent to $6,000 right now). Compared to the Lisa 2, the Macintosh was quite compact. In spite of its high price tag, it saw unprecedented sales numbers. Apple was able to sell over 70,000 units of Macintosh by May of 1984.

Following the Macintosh’s reveal and its subsequent sale, Apple also released the legendary Superbowl commercial that further helped the company by boosting the sales of the computer. The company, which was seeing dwindling computer sales, managed to get back up on its feet due to the Macintosh. Apple then released the Macintosh II, the Macintosh Classic, the PowerBook, the Power Macintosh, and the first iMac (G3).

The company once again lost its hold on the market, but the iMac G3 brought Apple back into the game in 1998, thanks to a compact form factor and an attractive design. The iMac G3’s translucent and colorful back caught everyone’s eyes. The company released a couple of revisions of the iMac and then shifted to Intel’s CPU architecture with the iMac in 2006.

The iMac that we see today is still based on the basic design of the aluminum iMac that was launched in 2007. Now, Apple also sells the Mac in various form factors, including the all-in-one iMac, the professional all-in-one iMac Pro, the compact Mac Mini, and the top-of-the-line high-end desktop computer for professionals: Mac Pro.

You can watch the video of Steve Jobs unveiling the Macintosh for the first time below.

Our Take

Apple has come a long way from struggling to compete with IBM’s PCs to being some of the fastest personal computers in the world. And some of the significant steps it took to course-correct its strategy came with the launches of the Macintosh, the iMac G3, the iMac, the iMac (with an aluminum body), the slim iMac, and the iMac with a Retina Display.

Recently, the company released the Mac Pro, which is a true-blue upgradable and customizable computer that’s designed for creative professionals. It is priced at a whopping $4,999, but nothing comes close to it when it comes to performance and ease-of-use. It is being rumored that the company will bring improved iMacs and eventually, Macs with ARM-based processors designed in-house by Apple.