TIAH: Macs

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: 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: Pismo PowerBook is a multimedia powerhouse

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Apple Pismo PowerBook raised the bar for laptops.
The "Pismo" PowerBook was a brilliant early Steve Jobs-era laptop.
Photo: CG Hughes/Flickr CC

February 16: Today in Apple history: Apple introduces the February 16, 2000: Apple introduces the “Pismo” PowerBook, the finest of its G3 laptops. In the view of many, it’s one of the best Apple laptops ever.

The Pismo PowerBook is the first not to include SCSI or an Apple Desktop Bus connector. Instead, it utilizes USB and Apple’s Emmy Award-winning FireWire. Optional AirPort wireless support, tremendous battery life and a gorgeous, curvy design just make it better.

Today in Apple history: Mac mania sweeps magazine racks

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The Macintosh? It'll never catch on!
The Macintosh? It'll never catch on!
Image: Cult of Mac/Ste Smith

February 13: Today in Apple history: Mac mania sweeps magazine racks February 13, 1984: The original Mac’s launch generates enormous excitement from the tech press, as epitomized by an InfoWorld cover story about the Macintosh 128K.

The wave of coverage comes a few weeks after the January 24 release of the Macintosh. But when the press blitz finally arrives, it becomes clear the Mac looks like a hit.

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: 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: Apple ships the first Mac

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Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K in an original Mac ad.
Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K.
Photo: Apple

January 24: Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac January 24, 1984: Apple ships its first Mac, the mighty Macintosh 128K.

Bringing a mouse and graphical user interface to the masses, and heralded by an acclaimed Super Bowl commercial that’s still talked about today, the first-gen Mac will quickly become one of the most important personal computers ever released.

Today in Apple history: Macintosh Office gets down to business

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Macintosh Office delivered on the dream of Macs that could talk to one another.
Macintosh Office delivered on the dream of Macs that could talk to one another.
Photo: Apple

January 23: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Office gets down to business January 23, 1985: Apple introduces The Macintosh Office, a combination of hardware and software that represents the company’s first real attempt at cracking the business market dominated by IBM.

Macintosh Office allows Macs to talk to one another. And Apple introduces amazing new devices like the LaserWriter printer that work with the business-oriented platform. Sadly, things won’t work out quite as Apple hopes.

Today in Apple history: Sequel to ‘1984’ Mac ad bombs hard

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The
The "Lemmings" ad became a massive disaster for Apple.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

January 20: Today in Apple history: Apple's 'Lemmings' advertisement, sequel to groundbreaking '1984' Mac ad, bombs hard January 20, 1985: Attempting to build on the triumph of the previous year’s “1984” Macintosh commercial, Apple deploys another dystopian Super Bowl commercial. The new ad, titled “Lemmings,” promotes the company’s upcoming business platform, called The Macintosh Office.

The dark, 30-second spot depicts blindfolded executives marching to their doom. The widely reviled ad will go down in history as one of Apple’s biggest stinkers.

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 boasts an expandable 1MB of RAM and a double-sided 800KB floppy drive. And it’s the first Macintosh to include a SCSI port, which serves as the main way of attaching a Mac to other devices (at least until Apple abandons the tech on the iMac G3 upon Jobs’ return).

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs introduces original MacBook Pro

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The original MacBook Pro brought innovative features (and stirred up a bit of controversy).
The original MacBook Pro brought innovative features (and stirred up a bit of controversy).
Photo: Apple

January 10: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs introduces the MacBook Pro January 10, 2006: Steve Jobs unveils the original 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s thinnest, fastest and lightest laptop yet.

Building on the previous PowerBook G4 laptop, the new laptop adds dual-core Intel processors for the first time. The MacBook Pro immediately makes waves in the tech community. And did we mention its awesome MagSafe connector?

Today in Apple history: Copland, Apple’s ‘unreleased’ Mac OS, ships to devs

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Remember Mac OS Copland? Probably not from using it.
Remember Mac OS Copland? Probably not from using it.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac/Ste Smith

November 17: Today in Apple history: Mac OS Copland, Apple's 'unreleased' Mac OS, ships to developers November 17, 1995: Apple releases the first beta version of its new Mac OS Copland operating system to approximately 50 developers. Not so much a Mac OS update as a totally new operating system, it offers next-gen features designed to help Apple take on the then-mighty Windows 95.

Sadly, it will never reach the public.

Today in Apple history: World gets a chance to test-drive a Mac

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Apple's innovative
Apple's innovative "Test Drive a Macintosh" ad campaign urged potential customers to take a Mac for a spin.
Photo: Apple

November 8: Today in Apple history: Test-drive a Mac November 8, 1984: After initial Mac sales prove disappointing, Apple CEO John Sculley dreams up the “Test Drive a Macintosh” campaign to encourage people to give the revolutionary new computer a chance.

The promotional strategy advises people in possession of a credit card to drop into their local retailer and “borrow” a Macintosh for 24 hours. The idea is that, by the time potential customers need to return the Mac, they will have built up a bond with it — and realized they can’t live without one of Apple’s computers.

While 200,000 would-be customers take advantage of the offer, Apple dealers absolutely hate it.

Today in Apple history: Apple preps for Mac App Store’s big debut

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The Mac App Store opens its doors to developers.
The Mac App Store opens its doors to developers.
Photo: Apple

November 3: Today in Apple history: Apple preps for Mac App Store launchNovember 3, 2010: Apple prepares to launch the Mac App Store, publicly accepting app submissions from registered developers — and kicking off a gold rush among coders.

After witnessing the enormous sums of money raked in by early entrants in the iOS App Store, developers flood Apple with new Mac apps.

Today in Apple history: Dell PCs overtake Macs in education market

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eMac
At the turn of the century, some observers accused Steve Jobs of failing one of Apple's most popular markets.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

October 27: Today in Apple history: Dell PCs overtake Macs in education market October 27, 1999: Dell Computer overtakes Apple in the educational market, stealing Cupertino’s crown as the top company selling computers to U.S. schools.

Steve Jobs, who is still in the process of rebuilding Apple after its near-collapse in the 1990s, faces heavy criticism for ignoring one of the company’s strongest markets.

Today in Apple history: iMac goes big with 27-inch display

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The 2009 unibody iMac proved a watershed design for Jony Ive and Apple.
Unibody aluminum iMac design FTW!
Photo: Apple

October 20: Today in Apple history: iMac goes big with 27-inch display October 20, 2009: Apple goes big with its iMac redesign, introducing the first 27-inch all-in-one Mac.

The sleek, sophisticated aluminum unibody design looks so good that the iMac will remain virtually unchanged for years. As with the first Macintosh with a built-in CD-ROM drive, the iMac’s 27-inch display represents a sea change for tech. The big, beautiful screen signals that larger displays need no longer remain the domain of pampered professionals.

Today in Apple history: The forgotten first Mac with an internal CD-ROM

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Why did the Mac IIvx fail to take the world by storm?
Why did the Mac IIvx fail to take the world by storm?
Photo: Apple

October 19: Today in Apple history: Mac IIvx, the forgotten first Mac with an internal CD-ROM, launches October 19, 1992: Apple launches the Mac IIvx, the first Macintosh computer to ship with a metal case and, more importantly, an internal CD-ROM drive.

The last of the Macintosh II series, the Mac IIvx experiences one of the more notorious price adjustments in Apple history. Within five months of shipping, Apple slashes the computer’s launch price of $2,949 to $1,899. That’s one way to reward early adopters!

Today in Apple history: Performa 6360 is a low-cost multimedia Mac

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The Performa 6320CD Mac delivered a great price-to-performance ratio.
The Performa 6320CD Mac delivered great performance for the price, luring new users.
Photo: Shrine of Apple

October 17: Today in Apple history: Apple launches Performa 6360, a low-cost multimedia Mac October 17, 1996: Apple launches its Performa 6360 Mac in North America, sold elsewhere as the Power Macintosh 6300/160.

An impressive multimedia Mac, the Performa 6360 comes bundled with a TV/video card. It also lets users make phone calls, listen to CDs, and watch television — all of which seemed amazingly futuristic at the time. As Macs went, it was pretty affordable, too.

Today in Apple history: The elusive Macintosh Color Classic II ships

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The Macintosh Color Classic II never shipped in the U.S., which makes it hard to find today.
The Color Classic II never shipped in the U.S., which makes it hard to find today.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

October 10: Today in Apple history: The elusive Macintosh Color Classic II ships October 10, 1993: Apple ships its Macintosh Color Classic II, the last of the 9-inch compact Macs.

Also known as the Performa 275, the Color Classic II will eventually become something of a collector’s item, since Apple released it only in Canada, Asia and Europe.

Today in Apple history: Macs get that iSyncing feeling

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Today in Apple history: Macs get that syncing feeling as Apple launches iSync. It was a killer app for its time.
iSync let Macs sync with a variety of other devices.
Photo: Juska Wendland/Flickr CC

September 30: Today in Apple history: Apple introduces iSync, letting Macs sync to cellphones and iPods September 30, 2002: Apple introduces iSync, a tool that lets Mac users synchronize their address books and calendars with their cellphones, iPods and Palm OS-compatible handheld organizers via Bluetooth.

“iSync is the beginning of something really big,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs says in a press release announcing the iSync public beta. “With the push of a button, iSync synchronizes the address book and calendar on your Mac with those on your mobile phone.”

It represents a big leap forward in the ability of computers and mobile devices to talk with one another. And it hints at some of Apple’s later advances.

Today in Apple history: iMac G5 takes a page out of the iPod’s playbook

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The iMac G5 looked like the world's biggest iPod.
The iMac G5 looked like the world's biggest iPod.
Photo: Matthew Pearce/Flickr CC

August 31: Today in Apple history: iMac G5 takes a page out of the iPod's playbook August 31, 2004: Apple launches the iMac G5, a distinctive, white plastic computer that looks a little like the world’s biggest iPod.

Housed in a 2-inch-thick enclosure reminiscent of Apple’s Cinema Displays, the new all-in-one machine bridges the gap between the pleasing plasticity of the iconic G3 iMac and the minimalist form factor of the ultra-slim aluminum Macs that will follow.