June 20, 1994: Apple launches eWorld, a subscription service for Mac owners that’s designed to compete with America Online and other nascent online properties.
Part messaging service and part news aggregator, Apple envisions eWorld competing with heavy hitters like AOL, Delphi, CompuServe and Prodigy. Unfortunately, Apple’s online service is doomed from the start.
March 9, 1996: Apple confirms that it will shut down its eWorld online service at the end of the month.
Part messaging service, part news aggregator — and all with Apple’s customary premium prices — the short-lived eWorld proved ahead of its time. Apple tells disappointed eWorld subscribers they can switch to America Online instead.
December 5, 2002: Cupertino says it served its millionth unique customer in the Apple Store online, marking a significant milestone for the company. It is a benchmark worth celebrating for Apple, which launched its online store just five years earlier.
“Reaching our 1 millionth customer is a major milestone, and is proof positive that our online shopping experience is second to none,” Tim Cook, Apple’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations at the time, said in a statement. “The Apple Store is a popular way for a growing number of consumers and businesses to buy Apple products, and with extensive build-to-order capabilities, easy 1-Click shopping and free shipping on orders, it’s never been easier to buy a Mac online.”
On June 20, 1994, Apple launched its short-lived eWorld service. Why is eWorld so significant? Because it represented Apple’s first deep dive into being a provider of internet services — several years before Steve Jobs returned to the company and embraced the importance of going online.
Part messaging service, part news aggregator — and all with Apple’s customary premium prices — eWorld was ahead of its time.
I remember when I got my first computer, ever, at the age of 24. It was a Macintosh Performa 638CD, and it came with this sweet little 14.4 baud modem that was my entree to the whole of the internet, which really wasn’t that popular back then.
I remember finding this cool little icon on the Mac with a little hand-drawn person on it, called eWorld. Hmm, I wondered. What the heck was eWorld?
Clicking through, I found an adorable little electronic village, all in that hand-drawn, gentle style. Oh, this must be like Compuserve, or Prodigy, right?
Well, yes and no. The softer, gentler world of eWorld was only for Macs, and it was my favorite place to go. Never mind that it was kind of empty; it was beautiful and I loved it.
For those who yearn for the glory days of the Classic Mac OS and Beige Boxes, Andrea Grell offers up an authentic and interactive working demo of System 7 running on a Performa 6116CD. From the startup chime to eWorld, this blast from the past is worthy viewing for all old Mac fans.