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.

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!

16-inch MacBook Pro shows the advantages of a post-Jony Ive Apple [Opinion]

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The 16-inch MacBook Pro isn’t quite as svelte as it could be.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro isn’t quite as svelte as it could be. And that’s good news.
Photo: Apple

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is a sign of a fundamental shift at Apple: It includes a keyboard that makes this laptop slightly less stylish but more useful. It’s hard to believe this would have happened in the days when chief designer Jony Ive’s habit of putting form ahead of function still reigned supreme over all Apple’s products.

As Ive slowly exits the company, we’re already seeing products less willing to make compromises in functionality in order to get super-sleek looks.

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.

The MacBook is a disaster. Can Apple fix it?

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Macbook problems
The Mac is in serious trouble. Can Apple fix things before it’s too late?
Photo: Ales Nesetril/Unsplash

Despite the endless disappointments with iPadOS 13, there’s still no way I’d switch to a MacBook right now. MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) were always the gold (or aluminum?) standard for laptops — reliable, well-designed and long-lasting. Reviewers would even recommend that PC users buy a Mac and install Windows on it via Boot Camp. But today, MacBooks problems abound.

Apple’s laptops are a sorry bunch. And it’s not just the troublesome butterfly keyboard. Every week, I read tweets and blog posts about freelancers and employees of big companies alike losing valuable time as their MacBooks go back for repair for the third or fourth time. So what is happening? What are the biggest problems with today’s MacBooks? And can these MacBook problems be fixed?

The new AirPods Pro are fandabbydosey [An appreciation]

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AirPod Pro
Apple's new AirPods Pro earbuds are a super-great update to the original.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Hot dang, Apple’s still got it. The new AirPods Pro are fantastic.

They’re truly great headphones, and every major new feature improves on the old AirPods in big and significant ways.

  • The sound is fantastic — a big upgrade.
  • Their active noise cancellation is as good as Bose and Sony headphones (and maybe even better). Finally, you can use AirPods on airplanes.
  • Transparency mode is weird magic.
  • Best of all are the new Force Sensor touch controls, which take a minute to get used to but are way better than tapping. They’re my favorite new feature, and I burst out laughing with delight when I got the hang of it.

I freakin’ love the new AirPods Pro!