Today in Apple history: Macintosh 512K, aka the ‘Fat Mac,’ quadruples the memory

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Apple Mac
The "Fat Mac" solved one of the original Mac's biggest problems.
Photo: Apple

September 10: Today in Apple history: Macintosh 512K, aka the 'Fat Mac,' quadruples the memory September 10, 1984: Apple ships the Macintosh 512K, the first upgrade to the first-gen Macintosh 128K.

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.”

General Magic trailer gives peek into one of Silicon Valley’s most influential startups

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The smartphone that never was.
Photo: Spellbound Productions

The documentary about the most important tech company you’ve never heard of is nearly ready to hit the big screen.

General Magic, a ‘90s startup created by some of the best minds at Apple, is getting the documentary treatment it deserves and the trailer is finally here.

Check it out:

General Magic tells story of Apple spinoff that almost changed the world

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General Magic documentary tells story of the iPhone that never was!
The iPhone that never was!
Photo: Spellbound Productions

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.”

Today in Apple history: Radius kicks off clone Mac era in style

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Radius was the first company to launch an official Macintosh clone, the Radius System 100.
Radius was the first company to launch an official Macintosh clone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

March 27: Today in Apple history March 27, 1995: The first official Macintosh clone launches, as Radius releases its high-end System 100 Mac.

Made by a company founded by several notable Macintosh alumni, this marvelous machine kicks off the era of clone Macs in grand fashion — before things take a turn for the worse.

7 reasons Steve Jobs failed to meet its early Oscars buzz

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Michael Fassbender received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Jobs.
Steve Jobs wasn't the movie many fans hoped for.
Photo: François Duhamel/©2015 Universal Studios

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.

Andy Hertzfeld: Steve Jobs movie is ‘almost nothing’ like reality

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The Woz (left) and Andy Hertzfeld (center) at an original Apple Computer Users Group meeting in the 80s. Photo: Tony Wills
Andy Hertzfeld (center) at an original Apple Computer Users Group meeting in the 80s.
Photo: Tony Wills

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.

The problem with Becoming Steve Jobs? Too much Steve Jobs

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The world needs more insight into how Apple works, but you won't find that in Becoming Steve Jobs. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The world needs fresh insight into how Apple works, but you won't find much of that in Becoming Steve Jobs. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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One of Steve Jobs’ favorite recordings was The Beatles working on version after version of “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

The new Jobs biography, Becoming Steve Jobs, is like that recording: It serves up fresh takes on oft-told stories from Apple’s history, this time with more sugarcoating.

Sorkin’s Steve Jobs movie starts filling out cast with supporting roles

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The Woz (left) and Andy Hertzfeld (center) at an original Apple Computer Users Group meeting in the 80s. Photo: Tony Wills
The Woz (left) and Andy Hertzfeld (center) at an original Apple Computer Users Group meeting in the 80s. Photo: Tony Wills

Aaron Sorkin’s ill-fated Steve Jobs script is starting to actually become a reality, even after pretty much everything about the project was unearthed by the hacking of Sony Pictures.

After nailing down Michael Fassbender as Jobs and Seth Rogan to play Steve Wozniak, the film’s cast of supporting characters is starting to fill out.

Why Steve Jobs replaced the Mac’s  key with ⌘

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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.