Today in Apple history: Sequel to ‘1984’ Mac ad bombs hard

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The "Lemmings" ad was a massive disaster for Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Jan20January 20, 1985: Apple builds on the triumph of its previous year’s “1984” commercial for the Macintosh by… debuting another Super Bowl ad which has gone down in history as one of Apple’s biggest stinkers.

Called “Lemmings,” it’s an ad for the then-new Macintosh Office, which depicts blindfolded business men falling to their doom. It doesn’t go over well.

Today in Apple history: Do you remember the Macintosh SE/30?

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The Mac SE/30 was the greatest Mac of its generation.
Photo: Danamania/Wikipedia CC

Jan19January 19, 1989: Apple introduces the Macintosh SE/30.

Arguably the greatest of the classic black-and-white compact Macs, the SE/30 boasted a 16 MHz 68030 processor, either 40 MB or 80 MB hard drive, and choice of 1 MB or 4 MB of RAM as standard — which, amazingly, could be expanded up to a whopping 128 MB RAM. Oh, and it packed 1.4M SuperDrive, too.

When you picture the ideal 1980s Macintosh, this is likely the machine which comes to mind. And for good reason!

Today in Apple history: Remember Franklin’s Apple II clone?

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The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
Photo: Bugbookmuseum

Jan18January 18, 1983: Computer manufacturer Franklin Electronic Publishers announces its Franklin Ace 1200 computer, one of several Apple II clones the company made.

Franklin’s line of unauthorized Apple clones (unlike the later official clone Macs in the 1990s) becomes the center of an important legal battle, in which a U.S. court decides whether or not a company can protect its operating system by copyright.

Today in Apple history: Mac’s ‘1984’ ad debuts in theaters

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Before it won the Super Bowl, Apple's iconic Mac ad invaded theaters.
Photo: Chiat/Day/Apple

Jan17 January 17, 1984: A week before its famous appearance during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple’s iconic “1984” ad debuts as a pre-movie trailer in theaters.

To sell its revolutionary new Macintosh computer, Apple buys several months of ad time from theatrical ad distributor ScreenVision. The sci-fi-tinged spot gets such a favorable reaction from audiences that some theater owners continue to roll the ad after Apple’s contract comes to an end.

Today in Apple history: Remember the Macintosh Plus?

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Arguably the first truly great Macintosh.
Photo: Rama/Wikipedia CC

Jan16January 16, 1986: Apple introduces the Macintosh Plus, its third Mac model and the first to be released after Steve Jobs was forced out of the company the previous year.

The Mac Plus is the first Macintosh to include a SCSI port, the main way of attaching your Mac to other devices until it was abandoned on Jobs’ return with the iMac G3. It also boasted an expandable 1MB RAM and a double-sided 800 KB floppy drive.

Today in Apple history: Bill Gates quits as Microsoft CEO

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Bill Gates before and after that first dollar.
Gates' rivalry with Steve Jobs was legendary.
Photo: Fulvio Obregon

Jan13January 13, 2000: Steve Jobs’ longtime frenemy Bill Gates steps down from his role as Microsoft CEO, one month after his company hit its all-time share price high.

The news coincides with a turning point in the Microsoft vs. Apple wars, as Microsoft starts a decline from its previous dominance, while Apple continues its rise to power.

Today in Apple history: iPod drives profits to new heights

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Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The iPod was kind of a big deal in 2005.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Jan12January 12, 2005: Apple reports record earnings for the preceding three months — with holiday sales of the iPod and demand for the latest iBook giving Apple a four-fold increase in profits.

Apple brags that it has sold a total of 10 million iPods, and that the massive popularity of its portable music player has driven Apple to the highest earnings in its history.

Today in Apple history: iPod Shuffle randomizes our music

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Do you remember the first-gen iPod Shuffle?
Photo: Apple

Jan11January 11, 2005: Steve Jobs introduces the world to iPod Shuffle.

Positioned as Apple’s entry-level iPod, the Shuffle lacks a display, but instead randomly shuffles its music, while giving the user the chance to skip any songs they don’t like.

It’s the first iPod to use flash memory, plugs directly into a computer using an onboard USB 2.0, and comes in 512MB and 1GB configurations. Oh, and it’s smaller than a pack of gum, and weighs less than an ounce!

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs introduces the MacBook Pro

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Do you remember the first MacBook Pro?
Photo: Apple

Jan10January 10, 2006: Steve Jobs unveils the original 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s thinnest, fastest and lightest laptop yet.

Building on the previous PowerBook G4 laptop, but adding dual Intel processors for the first time, the laptop immediately makes waves in the tech community. And did we mention its awesome MagSafe connector?

Today in Apple history: Relive 10 years of iPhone innovation

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10 Years iPhone
Has it really been that long?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Jan9January 9, 2007: Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone to an unsuspecting world. It’s immediately clear: Apple’s highly anticipated smartphone is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Standing on the Macworld stage in San Francisco, Jobs describes the new gadget as a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device.

10 years and more than a billion iPhones later, Apple’s smartphone has become a lot more commonplace — but no less revolutionary! Here’s our guide to 10 years of iPhone history.