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: 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: Steve Jobs loses ‘Man of the Year’ award to the PC

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Time1
Steve Jobs was devastated by the announcement.
Photo: Time magazine

December 26: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs loses 'Man of the Year' award to the PC December 26, 1982: Time magazine names the personal computer its “Man of the Year.”

It’s the first (and, to date, only) time a nonhuman entity wins the award, which was created in 1927. However, the award devastates Steve Jobs — because he thought the accolade would go to him.

Today in Apple history: Apple buys ‘iPhone’ web domain

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iPhone SE 7
Do you remember when you first heard the name iPhone?
Photo: Sam Mills/Cult of Mac

December 14: Today in Apple history: Apple buys 'iPhone' web domain December 14, 1999: Apple acquires the domain name www.iphone.org, prompting years of speculation that Cupertino is considering building a cellphone.

While the news generates interest, some take it as a warning sign. Apple only recently abandoned the kind of non-computer projects like games consoles, PDAs and digital cameras that proved to be dead ends earlier in the decade.

An Apple phone could never be a thing, right?

Today in Apple history: Apple IPO mints instant millionaires

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money
December 12, 1980, was an incredibly important day for Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac/401Calculator

December 12: Today in Apple history: Apple goes public December 12, 1980: Apple goes public, floating 4.6 million shares on the stock market at $22 per share.

In the biggest tech IPO of its day, more than 40 out of 1,000 Apple employees become instant millionaires. As Apple’s biggest shareholder, 25-year-old Steve Jobs ends the day with a net worth of $217 million.

Today in Apple history: Too little, too late for Apple III

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Apple relaunched the ill-fated Apple III, hoping to fix the computer's big problems.
Apple relaunched its ill-fated Apple III, hoping to address its earlier problems.
Photo: Alker33/YouTube

December 1: Today in Apple history: Apple III relaunch December 1, 1981: After the disastrous rollout of the “next-gen” Apple III the previous year, Apple corrects the computer’s most glaring hardware faults and relaunches it.

Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. Apple experiences its first “flop” product with its would-be Apple II successor.

Today in Apple History: Bill Gates hails Mac as the future of computing

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Bill Gates
Bill Gates offered high praise for the Mac in 1984.
Image: Fulvio Obregon

November 26: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates praises Macintosh November 26, 1984: “The next generation of interesting software will be done on the Macintosh, not the IBM PC,” claims Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in a BusinessWeek cover story.

The claim would seem almost unthinkable coming out of Gates’ mouth just a few years later. But it comes at a time when Microsoft is best known as one of the biggest Mac developers.

Today in Apple history: Microsoft reveals its plans for Windows 1.0

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This is how Windows 1.0 looked when it shipped.
This is how Windows 1.0 looked when it shipped.
Screenshot: Microsoft

November 10: Today in Apple history: Microsoft Windows 1.0 November 10, 1983: Microsoft tells the world about an upcoming product called Windows, which will bring the graphical user interface to IBM PCs.

Although Microsoft’s announcement about the new operating system comes before Apple launches the Mac in 1984, Windows 1.0 won’t actually ship until November 1985, earning it a reputation as “vaporware.”

At the time, Apple doesn’t view Windows as much of a threat. That doesn’t take long to change, however.