TIAH: 1990s

Today in Apple history: New card runs Apple II software on Macs

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Running Apple II programs on a Mac with an Apple IIe Card was pretty darn awesome.
Running Apple II programs on your Mac was pretty darn awesome.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

March 1: Today in Apple history: Apple IIe Card lets users run Apple II software on Macs March 1, 1991: Apple introduces the Apple IIe Card, a $199 peripheral that lets users turn Macs into fully functioning Apple IIe computers.

The ability to emulate the popular Apple IIe on a Mac brings Apple’s two operating systems side by side for the first time. While not quite the equivalent of Apple letting you run iOS on a Mac today, it’s not a world away.

Today in Apple history: Apple bids farewell to the Newton

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The Newton MessagePad 2100 was the last hurrah for Apple's Newton line.
The MessagePad was a product ahead of its time.
Photo: Moparx

February 27: Today in Apple history: Apple discontinues Newton MessagePad February 27, 1998: Apple discontinues work on the Newton MessagePad product line, the series of personal digital assistants the company launched five years earlier, and Newton OS, the operating system the devices run upon.

This decision is consistent with our strategy to focus all our software development resources on extending the Macintosh operating system,” Steve Jobs says in a press release. “To realize our ambitious plans we must focus all of our efforts in one direction.”

Today in Apple history: Hippie-themed iMacs fuel Cupertino flashback

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The Flower Power iMac G3 and Blue Dalmatian iMac G3 were two of the wackier Macs in history.
These were two of the wackier Macs ever.
Photo: Apple

February 22: Today in Apple history: Hippie-themed Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMacs fuel Cupertino flashback February 22, 2001: The iMac Special Edition, sporting wild designs that would make a hippie happy, puts a wacky face on the computer that saved Apple’s bacon at the turn of the century. The Flower Power iMac and Blue Dalmatian iMac evoke tie-dye shirts or other unconventional ’60s-era imagery.

A far cry from the super-serious, aluminum-heavy industrial design that will come to define Apple in coming years, these colorfully patterned iMacs stand out as some of the most irreverent computers Cupertino ever dreamed up. (C’mon, when was a real Dalmatian blue?)

Under the consciously tacky exteriors, a pretty darn great iMac G3 hums along.

Today in Apple history: Photoshop debuts as a Mac exclusive

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Adobe Systems' Photoshop launch changed the game for image editing.
Photoshop changed the game for image editing.
Photo: Adobe Systems

February 19 Today in Apple history: Photoshop debuts as a Mac exclusive February 19, 1990: Adobe ships the first commercial version of its soon-to-be-iconic Photoshop photo editing software. The Photoshop launch, exclusively on the Macintosh, gives users new powerful tools for tweaking digital photographs.

The groundbreaking software debuts for Mac System 6.0.3. Priced at $895, Photoshop will quickly become the standard editing tool for graphics professionals. Whether they work for advertising agencies, news organizations — or, frankly, anywhere else — Photoshop users take advantage of the program’s digital darkroom tools to seamlessly manipulate images.

Photography will never be the same.

Today in Apple history: Apple introduces ‘world’s fastest’ PowerBook

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The PowerBook 3400 certainly lived up to its name.
The PowerBook 3400 certainly lived up to its name.
Photo: Apple

February 17: Today in Apple history: Apple introduces 'world's fastest' PowerBook February 17, 1997: Apple launches the PowerBook 3400, a laptop the company claims is the fastest portable computer in the world.

After a rough few years for the PowerBook, this model throws down the gauntlet to rivals. It packs a PowerPC 603e processor capable of running at speeds up to 240MHz. While speedier Apple laptops will quickly overtake the PowerBook 3400, at the time it can keep up with some impressive desktop Macs.

Today in Apple history: Intel and Microsoft face lawsuit for stealing Apple code

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Apple vs. Microsoft was one of the big tech battles of the 1990s.
Apple vs. Microsoft was one of the biggest tech battles of the 1990s.
Photo: Brian Turner/Flickr CC/Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 14: Today in Apple history: Intel and Microsoft face lawsuit for stealing Apple code February 14, 1995: Apple Computer extends a lawsuit against developer San Francisco Canyon Company to include Microsoft and Intel. The lawsuit concerns allegedly stolen Apple code that’s used to improve Microsoft’s Video for Windows technology.

The lawsuit comes to a head with Apple threatening a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Microsoft. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates threatens to cancel Office for Mac.

Today in Apple history: Mac Color Classic ditches monochrome

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The Macintosh Color Classic is the Mac everybody had been waiting for.
The Macintosh Color Classic was the Mac the world had been waiting for.
Photo: Chung Chu/Flickr CC

February 10: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Color Classic ditches monochrome February 10, 1993: Apple launches the Macintosh Color Classic, the company’s first compact Mac with a color screen.

As the first all-in-one Mac with an integrated color display, and the last U.S. Mac to offer the compact form factor, this model represents a landmark in the evolution of the Macintosh. A Color Classic unit also happens to become the 10 millionth Macintosh that Apple shipped.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs’ NeXT quits making computers

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NeXT Cube
The NeXT Computer was great but it didn't sell.
Photo: Rama & Musée Bolo/Wikipedia CC

February 9: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs' NeXT quits making computers February 9, 1993: NeXT Inc., the company Steve Jobs founded after being pushed out of Apple, quits making computers. The company changes its name to NeXT Software and focuses its efforts entirely on producing code for other platforms.

In a mass layoff, 330 of NeXT’s 500 employees are made redundant in an event known internally as “Black Tuesday.” Cruelly, many people hear of their fate on the radio.

Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as CEO

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Many viewed new CEO Gil Amelio as the man to save Apple.
Photo: Apple

February 2: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as Apple CEO February 2, 1996: Apple reveals that turnaround artist Gil Amelio will take over from Michael “The Diesel” Spindler as CEO of the struggling company.

With disappointing Mac sales, the disastrous “clone Mac” strategy and a failed Sun Microsystems merger to his name, Spindler is asked to resign by the Apple board. Then Cupertino enlists supposed corporate miracle worker Amelio for the job.

Unfortunately, he turns out to be no better than Spindler.

Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker closes shop

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Mac clones did not pan out for Power Computing.
Photo: Antnik

January 31: Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker Power Computing closes shop January 31, 1998: Mac clone-maker Power Computing goes out of business, having auctioned off its office supplies and computers.

Apple bought out Power Computing, once the fastest-growing PC company of the decade, the previous year. As a result, Power Computing shareholders receive Apple stock as a replacement. As it turns out, that may not have been a terrible deal.

Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad 120 becomes Apple’s first great mobile device

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The MessagePad 120 perfects Apple's PDA line.
The Newton MessagePad 120 finally fulfilled the promise of Apple's PDA.
Photo: Fzurell/Flickr CC

January 30: Today in Apple history: MessagePad 120 is Apple's first great mobile device January 30, 1995: Apple Computer launches the Newton MessagePad 120, the first truly great device in an unfairly maligned product line.

Coming 18 months after the original Newton MessagePad, the upgraded PDA packs more power — and truly shines once Newton OS 2.0 rolls out.

Today in Apple history: ‘The Diesel’ becomes Apple COO

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Apple CEO Michael Spindler headed the company during trying times in the 1990s.
Michael Spindler's COO promotion put him on the path to being named future chief executive.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

January 29: Today in Apple history: Michael H. Spindler, aka 'The Diesel,' is named new Apple COO January 29, 1990: Apple CEO John Sculley appoints Michael H. Spindler as the company’s new chief operating officer.

Nicknamed “The Diesel” on account of his work ethic, Spindler’s new job continues his upward trajectory at Apple. Three years later, he will become CEO.

Today in Apple history: Woz and Jobs reunite onstage

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jobs and woz pic
It's an Apple reunion, with the Steves joining then-CEO Gil Amelio onstage.
Photo: Apple

January 7: Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs reunite onstage January 7, 1997: Steve Wozniak returns to Apple to participate in an advisory role, reuniting with co-founder Steve Jobs onstage at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

Woz’s homecoming is revealed at the end of the Macworld conference. With Jobs’ recent return to Apple (thanks to the NeXT buyout), it marks the first time the two co-founders have been at Apple together since 1983. It’s a great way to celebrate Apple’s 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, the reunion won’t last.

Today in Apple history: Apple is back in the black

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Apple takes a hacksaw to estimated trade-in values for its devices
The turnaround begins...
Photo: Pictures of Money/Flickr CC

January 6: Today in Apple history: Apple is back in the black January 6, 1998: After taking over a company on the verge of bankruptcy, Steve Jobs shocks attendees at San Francisco’s Macworld Expo by revealing that Apple is profitable again. An Apple comeback is on the way!

Referring to the company’s strategy since he took over as interim CEO in September 1997, the recently returned Apple co-founder says, “It’s all come together for us.”

Little did most of us know exactly how astonishing Apple’s rebound would be.

Today in Apple history: Meet the ‘Blue and White’ Power Mac G3

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The Power Mac G3 brought a new look, and powerful new features, to Apple's pro computer line.
The Power Mac G3 brought a new look, and powerful new features, to Apple's pro computer line.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac/Apple

January 5: Today in Apple history: Meet the 'Blue and White' Power Mac January 5, 1999: Apple introduces its revised Power Mac G3 minitower, nicknamed the “Blue and White G3” or “Smurf Tower” to separate it from the earlier beige model.

The first new Power Mac since the colorful plastic iMac G3 shipped, the pro-level machine borrows the same transparent color scheme. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hang around too long.

Today in Apple history: Apple licenses Mac OS to Radius

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In early 1995, the Mac clone era was about to arrive!
In early 1995, the Mac clone era was about to arrive!
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac/Macworld

January 4: Today in Apple history: Apple licenses Mac OS to Radius January 4, 1995: Apple signs a deal with third-party Mac accessory-maker Radius, allowing the company to build Macintosh clones.

Radius is the second company to license the Macintosh operating system. (Power Computing did the same thing a month earlier.) However, Radius will become the first licensee to bring a clone to market when its System 100 ships in March 1995.

Today in Apple history: Microsoft hits the height of its power

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December 1999 was a turning point for Microsoft.
December 1999 proved to be a turning point for Microsoft.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

December 30: Today in Apple history: Microsoft hits the height of its power December 30, 1999: Microsoft hits the height of its 1990s dominance and begins its early-2000s decline, clearing a gap at the top for Apple.

After hitting an all-time high of $53.60, Microsoft stock starts to fall. Less than a year later, MSFT shares will fall more than 60% in value to $20.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships world’s largest LCD display

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The Cinema Display was Apple's first widescreen monitor.
The Cinema Display was Apple's first widescreen monitor.
Photo: Apple

December 29: Today in Apple history: Apple ships world's largest LCD display December 29, 1999: Apple starts shipping its unfathomably large 22-inch Cinema Display.

The biggest LCD computer display available anywhere, Apple’s all-digital flat panel is a far cry from the bulky cathode ray tube monitor of the popular iMac G3, which took the world by storm the previous year. It is also Apple’s first widescreen display — and the first to sport a digital video interface.

Today in Apple history: Marathon is Mac’s answer to Doom

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First-person shooter Marathon gave Mac gamers something to be proud of.
First-person shooter Marathon gave Mac gamers something to be proud of.
Photo: Bungie

December 21: Today in Apple history: Marathon game is Mac's answer to Doom December 21, 1994: Mac gamers get their hands on Marathon, a sci-fi first-person shooter designed as an answer to the massive success of PC title Doom.

Created by Bungie, the team that would later make the Halo games, Marathon introduces important features to the FPS genre. Just as importantly, it isn’t available on PC. Marathon quickly becomes a favorite among Mac gamers.

Today in Apple history: NeXT buyout brings Steve Jobs back to Cupertino

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Steve Jobs returned to Apple on December 20, 1996.
Steve Jobs pictured on December 20, 1996.
Photo: Tim Holmes/Flickr CC

December 20: Today in Apple history: Apple buys NeXT for $429 million, bringing Steve Jobs back to Cupertino December 20, 1996: Apple Computer buys NeXT, the company Steve Jobs founded after leaving Cupertino a decade earlier.

The deal costs Apple $429 million. It’s a massive price to pay for the failing NeXT, a computer company that already saw its hardware division crash and burn. But the price is worth it when you consider what Apple gets as part of the deal: the return of Steve Jobs.

Today in Apple history: Apple signs ‘clone Mac’ deal

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
This deal marked the start of the clone Mac era.
Photo: Antnik

December 16: Today in Apple history: Apple signs clone Mac deal with Power Computing December 16, 1994: Apple Computer inks a licensing deal with Power Computing, allowing the company to produce Macintosh-compatible computers.

With falling market share, and longtime rival Microsoft steaming ahead thanks to its software-licensing strategy, Apple executives think the only way to compete is for the company to hand over its operating system for third-party Macs. Of course, it doesn’t turn out exactly like that…

Today in Apple history: Secret project ports Mac OS to PCs

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intel
Should Apple have licensed Mac OS back in the early 1990s?
Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr CC

December 4: Today in Apple history: Secret Apple project nicknamed 'Star Trek' ports Mac OS to PCs under the code-name 'Macrosoft' December 4, 1992: Apple engineers demonstrate a “proof of concept” of the Mac operating system running on an Intel computer.

More than a decade before Macs will switch to Intel processors, the astonishing feat is part of an aborted plan to make Apple’s software available on other manufacturers’ hardware. Apple ultimately chickens out, fearing (probably correctly) that such a move would hurt Macintosh sales.

Today in Apple history: QuickTime brings video to the masses

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QuickTime brought multimedia to Macs -- and the masses.
QuickTime brought multimedia to Macs -- and the masses.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

December 2: Today in Apple history: QuickTime brings video to the masses December 2, 1991: Apple ships its first public version of QuickTime, bringing video to Mac users running System 7.

Containing codecs for graphics, animation and video, QuickTime confirms Apple’s status as a leading multimedia tech company. The software also starts us all off on the path to playing video on our computers. This fundamental transformation of Macs into media machines eventually leads to iTunes Movies, YouTube and more.

Today in Apple history: Pixar IPO makes Steve Jobs a billionaire

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Steve_Jobs_2007
The Pixar IPO is a key part of Steve Jobs' professional turnaround.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

November 29: Today in Apple history: Pixar makes Steve Jobs a billionaire November 29, 1995: Capitalizing on the success of Toy Story, Pixar floats 6.9 million shares on the stock market. The IPO makes Steve Jobs, who owns upward of 80% of the animation studio, a billionaire.

After the windfall, one of the first people Jobs calls is his friend, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who’s already a member of the billionaire’s club.

“Hello, Larry?” Jobs tells his friend on the phone. “I made it.”