How do you follow a project like the Macintosh? A high-flying Apple spinoff called General Magic tried to answer that question in the early 1990s.
After revolutionizing the personal computer, a team of ambitious ex-Apple engineers set out to build a connected touchscreen mobile device that prefigured the iPhone by 25 years. Their startup, General Magic, became one of the hottest ventures in Silicon Valley — before it all came crashing down.
“That period is one of the most important in computing history,” Sarah Kerruish, co-director of new documentary General Magic, told Cult of Mac. “It’s when handhelds were first realized, and when we saw the first early stages of the internet. General Magic combines these profoundly important threads in technology.”
Coming less than eight months after the original Macintosh, the 512K Mac makes no sweeping changes to the computer’s form factor. Instead, the big upgrade is quadrupling the RAM. This leads Apple fans to refer to the computer as the “Fat Mac.”
It’s the Oscars this weekend, and if you’re an Apple fan, one question that lingers in the mind is what exactly happened to all the early awards buzz for Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic.
Initially hailed as one of 2015’s crowning cinematic achievements, the movie bombed at the box office and even registered on some “worst movies of the year” lists. Although it has picked up Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Supporting Actress (Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet), the movie failed to get put forward for Best Picture, while Sorkin was also a notable absence in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
Having now seen Steve Jobs three times (twice at the theater and once on Blu-ray), here are my thoughts on why the flick was ultimately a disappointment.
Next to Steve Jobs, Andy Hertzfeld is the name I most associate with the original Macintosh project. For that reason, Hertzfeld is one of the characters portrayed in the new Aaron Sorkin Steve Jobs movie, as well as someone who got to see an early unfinished cut of the film.
His take on it? That it’s almost nothing like reality in terms of the events portrayed — but a great movie all the same.
Graphic designer Susan Kare is iconic — literally. The mastermind behind the friendly 32 x 32 and 16 x 16 icons used in the original Mac operating system, Kare’s work has reached more people than almost any other graphic designer on Earth.
Yet the way she stumbled into designing the icons for the Mac operating system was pretty much a lark, and in a recent presentation at the EG conference in California, Kare spoke a little bit about how she stumbled into the job.
It’s a fascinating talk, not just for the details she shares about early Mac operating system development, but also because Kare finally reveals why Apple switched from the Apple symbol to the Command key.