To succeed in tech, you must be a master of innovation. No two companies understand this better than Apple and Google, which have become kings of the industry thanks to a string of incredible ideas that have shaped the technology we rely on today.
But which company is continuing to innovate in 2015? Is it Apple, with its fitness-focused Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and a new streaming service that hopes to save the music industry? Or is it Google, with Google Glass, self-driving cars, and secret robots?
Preliminary Macintosh Business Plan from 1981 (photos: Digibarn)
On Friday, January 24, 2014, the Mac turns 30 years old. As we look back on three decades of Macintosh, there are some stories that have largely avoided the light of day for some time. One of these tales involves the production of the Macintosh Business Plan back in the early 1980s.
The tale was told by Mac design team member Joanna Hoffman to Bruce Damer, curator of the Digibarn Computer Museum. In 1981 Apple was beginning development on their new product lines, Lisa and Macintosh, and Hoffman was helping develop the business plan. She presented multiple drafts for Steve Jobs to review, but Jobs repeatedly kept sending her the plan back saying he didn’t like it.
After a few rounds of this Hoffman realized that it was not the contents of the business plan that Jobs objected to but rather the appearance of the document itself. What he was reviewing looked just like every other business plan, nothing special. Jobs wanted the pages of the Mac business plan to look like the screen of the computer they were creating – WYSIWYG graphics, fonts, and pages with menus and submenus for section headings. The problem with this request was that Apple did not yet make any computers or printers which could produce the document Jobs desired.
Here’s a fantastic blast from the past. Back in the early 80s, there was a show called Computer Chronicles that was sort of a televised proto-podcast about the world of personal computing. In this episode from back in 1985, the Computer Chronicles put the vintage Apple Macintosh — released just a year before — through its paces, including a talk with Larry Tesler, a legendary engineer who was part of the Xerox PARC team, Palo Alto’s famous R&D center that gave Steve Jobs the idea for the Macintosh GUI and the venerable computer mouse.
Sadly, we can’t get the video to embed, so if this piques your interest and for more information on the show, be sure to check out this article on Wired for the whole thing. It’s a great way to wile away the morning on this Good Friday.