Today in Apple history: Macintosh Plus brings big changes to Mac

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The MacIntosh Plus was arguably the first truly great Mac.
The MacIntosh Plus was arguably the first truly great Mac.
Photo: Rama/Wikipedia CC

January 16: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Plus brings big changes to Mac January 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 also the first Macintosh to include a SCSI port, the main way of attaching a Mac to other devices until Apple abandoned the tech on the iMac G3 upon Jobs’ return. The Mac Plus also boasted an expandable 1MB of RAM and a double-sided 800KB floppy drive.

Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes ‘world’s thinnest notebook’

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A plain manila envelope became a key stage prop for selling the MacBook Air.
A plain manila envelope became a key prop for selling the MacBook Air.
Photo: Apple

January 15: Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes 'world's thinnest notebook' January 15, 2008: Steve Jobs shows off the first MacBook Air at the Macworld conference, calling the revolutionary computer the “world’s thinnest notebook.”

The 13.3-inch laptop measures only 0.76 inches at its thickest point and 0.16 inches at its tapered thinnest. It also boasts a unibody aluminum design: An Apple engineering breakthrough allows the crafting of a complicated computer case from a single block of finely machined metal.

In a brilliant piece of showmanship, Jobs pulls the super-slim laptop out of a standard interoffice envelope during his keynote. (You can watch his introduction of the MacBook Air below).

Today in Apple history: Apple invents ‘slide to unlock’

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Apple didn't invent the Slide to Unlock gesture.
"Slide to unlock" drew audible gasps from the audience when Steve Jobs first showed it off.
Photo: Jared Earle/Flickr CC

December 23: Today in Apple history: Apple invents slide to unlock gesture for iPhone December 23, 2005: Apple files a patent application for its iconic “slide to unlock” gesture for the iPhone.

At this point, the iPhone remained a secret research project. However, the ability to unlock the device by sliding your finger across it signifies Apple’s big ambitions for its smartphone. Cupertino wants the iPhone to be easy to use, intuitive and miles ahead of the competition technologically.

Apple leaps to the defense of its crazy AirPods Max case

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The AirPods Max case is easy to mock. But it does the job.
The AirPods Max case may look odd, but the designers point out it’s very efficient.
Photo: Apple

AirPods Max are controversial for a number of reasons. For one, there’s the $550 price tag. But the odd-looking case Apple designed for these over-the-ear headphones also drew plenty of mockery.

The designers of AirPods Max defended their creation in an interview published Thursday.

Why I’m mourning iOS 14’s botched Clock app

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iOS 14 Clock app: Why did Apple kill the magical scroll wheel?
Why did Apple eliminate the magical scroll wheel?
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

“You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you!”

That’s the Charlton Heston-pounding-his-fist-dispairingly-into-the-sand sentiment that shot through my mind when I saw what Apple did to the Clock app in iOS 14. Specifically, Apple ruined the app’s alarm feature, making it so unintuitive that you’ll struggle to believe it was made by the company that coined the phrase “it just works.”

How did Apple manage to take an app that worked spectacularly well and screw it up?

Today in Apple history: Apple signs damaging deal with Microsoft

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Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI
One of the most damaging deals in Apple history.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

November 21: Today in Apple history: Apple signs Microsoft deal licensing Mac look and feel November 21, 1985: Following Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple comes close to signing its own death warrant by licensing the Macintosh’s look and feel to Microsoft.

The deal, between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO John Sculley, comes hot on the heels of the Windows operating system’s release. The pact gives Microsoft a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use [parts of the Mac technology] in present and future software programs, and to license them to and through third parties for use in their software programs.”

Oh, boy!

Today in Apple history: Apple’s last mechanical keyboard is a winner

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The Apple Extended Keyboard II might be Cupertino's finest keyboard of all time.
This could be the best Apple keyboard ever.
Photo: University of Chicago

November 15: Today in Apple history: Apple Extended Keyboard II is Apple's last (and greatest) mechanical keyboard November 15, 1990: Cupertino wins a design patent for its Apple Extended Keyboard II, arguably the greatest computer keyboard of all time.

Delivering the perfect combination of durability, feel and a pleasing click-clack sound, the Extended Keyboard II will become a mainstay of pro-grade Apple setups during the early 1990s — and perhaps the best-loved keyboard in Apple history. Courtesy of an ADB-to-USB adapter, some people continue to use them today.