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Today in Apple history: Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ campaign comes to an end

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Mac vs. PC
This was one of the best ad campaigns in Apple history.
Photo: Apple

May 21: Today in Apple history: Apple's Get a Mac ad campaign comes to an end May 21, 2010: Apple quietly ends its long-running, award-winning “Get a Mac” marketing campaign.

Debuting in 2006, the ads starred actor Justin Long as the cool, youthful Mac. Comedian John Hodgman portrayed the stuffy, awkward PC. Alongside the “Think Different” and iPod “Silhouette” campaigns, “Get a Mac” will become one of the most fondly remembered extended advertising blitzes in Apple history.

An illustrated history of the iPod and its massive impact [Updated]

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Steve Jobs on the cover of NewsWeek
Steve Jobs and the iPod make the cover of NewsWeek.
Photo: NewsWeek

Editor’s note: We originally published this illustrated history of the iPod to celebrate the device’s 10th anniversary on Oct. 22, 2011 (and updated it a decade later). We republished it on May 10, 2022, when Apple finally pulled the plug on the iPod.

The iPod grew out of Steve Jobs’ digital hub strategy. Life was going digital. People were plugging all kinds of devices into their computers: digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players.

The computer was the central device, the “digital hub,” that could be used to edit photos and movies or manage a large music library. Jobs tasked Apple’s programmers with making software for editing photos, movies and managing digital music. While they were doing this, they discovered that all the early MP3 players were horrible. Jobs asked his top hardware guy, Jon Rubinstein, to see if Apple could do better.

Apple wants to make more money from streaming and advertising

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An Apple One bundle might be announced in September. Or October.
Eddy Cue wants Apple to make more money from its streaming and advertising businesses.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Services, is reportedly looking to restructure the company’s offerings to make a more significant push in streaming and advertising.

Apple’s services business has been growing rapidly over the last few years. It currently boasts more than 825 million paid subscribers.

Today in Apple history: Apple pays $15 million to promote Mission: Impossible

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Sadly, Apple's Mission: Impossible deal doesn't quite work out as planned.
Sadly it doesn't quite work out as planned.
Photo: Paramount

April 18: Today in Apple history: Apple pays $15 million for Mission: Impossible movie tie-in April 18, 1996: Apple unveils a massive $15 million promotional tie-in for the Mission: Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise.

Designed to promote the PowerBook, which Cruise uses in the spy flick, the marketing campaign comes at a particularly bad time. Attempting to climb back into the black after reporting its largest quarterly loss ever, Apple is in the middle of trying to perform its very own impossible mission. And that’s just the start of the problems.

Today in Apple history: Super Bowl Mac ad airs against the odds

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1984
Apple's greatest commercial in history.
Photo: Apple

January 22: Today in Apple history: Super Bowl Mac ad airs against the odds January 22, 1984: Apple’s stunning “1984” commercial for the Macintosh 128K airs on CBS during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII.

Probably the most famous TV ad for a computer in history, the commercial is directed by Alien and Blade Runner helmer Ridley Scott. It very nearly didn’t air, though.

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

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

January 20: Today in Apple history: Apple's 'Lemmings' advertisement, sequel to groundbreaking '1984' Mac ad, bombs hard January 20, 1985: Apple attempts to build on the triumph of the previous year’s “1984” Macintosh commercial with another Super Bowl ad.

Called “Lemmings,” the ad for a new business platform called Macintosh Office depicts blindfolded executives marching to their doom. The widely reviled ad will go down in history as one of Apple’s biggest stinkers.

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

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1984
Before it won the Super Bowl, Apple's iconic Mac ad invaded theaters.
Photo: Chiat/Day/Apple

January 17: Today in Apple history: Mac's '1984' ad debuts in theaters January 17, 1984: A week before its famous airing during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple’s iconic “1984” ad debuts as a trailer in movie theaters.

To hype its revolutionary new Macintosh computer, Apple buys several months of promotion from theatrical ad distributor ScreenVision. Cupertino’s sci-fi-tinged “1984” spot — which depicts a sledgehammer-wielding freedom fighter taking on a Big Brother figure supposed to represent IBM — gets such a favorable audience reaction that some theater owners continue to roll the ad after Apple’s contract ends.

Today in Apple history: World gets a chance to test-drive a Mac

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Apple's innovative
Apple's innovative "Test Drive a Macintosh" ad campaign urged potential customers to take a Mac for a spin.
Photo: Apple

November 8: Today in Apple history: Test-drive a Mac November 8, 1984: When initial Mac sales prove disappointing, Apple CEO John Sculley dreams up the “Test Drive a Macintosh” campaign to encourage people to give the revolutionary new computer a chance.

The promotional strategy advises people in possession of a credit card to drop into their local retailer and “borrow” a Macintosh for 24 hours. The idea is that, by the time potential customers need to return the Mac, they will have built up a bond with it and realized they can’t live without one.

While 200,000 would-be Apple customers take advantage of the offer, Apple dealers absolutely hate it.