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Today in Apple history: PowerBook 540c is the best Mac laptop to date

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With impressive specs and a fancy screen, the PowerBook 540c took Apple laptops up a notch.
With impressive specs and a fancy screen, the PowerBook 540c took Apple laptops up a notch.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

May 16, 1994: Today in Apple history: PowerBook 540c launch May 16, 1994: Apple launches the PowerBook 540c, one of the best laptops in the company’s history.

Part of the innovative 500 series of PowerBooks, the 540c is the laptop to own in 1994. Blisteringly fast, packed with innovative features, and offering the best notebook display on the market, it’s a triumph on every level. Although for $5,539 (well over $10,000 in today’s money), it had better be…

Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store

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Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Photo: Apple

May 15: Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store, with plans to open 25 Apple Stores in the U.S. May 15, 2001: Steve Jobs flips the script on the dreadful experience of computer shopping, unveiling an ambitious plan to open 25 innovative Apple stores across the United States.

The first two Apple stores, located at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, and the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, are set to open later that week. But this new Apple initiative is about much more than just a couple of retail outlets. It’s a radical reinvention of tech retail that will change the way computers get sold.

Today in Apple history: Computer retail giant’s closure hits NeXT hard

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

May 14: Today in Apple history: Businessland closes, hitting NeXt hard May 14, 1992: Steve Jobs’ company NeXT runs into trouble as it loses a crucial deal with Businessland after the giant computer retailer closes its stores.

It comes at a time when NeXT’s luck is going from bad to worse. This is one of the lowest points in Jobs’ career — before everything starts to turn around again.

Today in Apple history: System 7 debut shakes up the Mac

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Mac OS 7
Bold new features in System 7 made the Mac even more impressive.
Photo: Apple

May 13: Today in Apple history: System 7 launch shakes up the Mac May 13, 1991: Apple releases Mac OS 7, more commonly known as System 7. The longest-lasting of Apple’s classic Mac operating systems, it will remain current until System 8 replaces it in 1997.

System 7 brought the biggest Mac OS shakeup since the operating system first shipped with the original Mac in 1984. The new version was whip-fast, beautiful to look at, and boasted a bevy of innovative features.

Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for Apple’s biggest product

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Bill-Gates-60-Minutes
Unfortunately for Gates, Steve Jobs was one step ahead.
Photo: 60 Minutes

May 12: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for iPod, Apple's biggest product May 12, 2005: Longtime Apple frenemy Bill Gates tells a German newspaper that Apple may have hit it big with the iPod, but that its success isn’t going to last forever.

The reason? Mobile phones are going to steal the iPod’s market share. The good news for Gates is that he was right on the money. The bad news for Microsoft is that Apple cannibalized itself by making the iPhone. And Apple’s smartphone became even more successful than the iPod.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs spells out a new strategy for Mac OS

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Why Salesforce chief gave up AppStore.com for Apple
Steve Jobs introduced the world to OS X.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

May 11: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs spells out a new strategy for Mac OS May 11, 1998: As part of his mission to turn Apple around, Steve Jobs spells out the company’s strategy for the Mac operating system going forward.

The company will ship Mac OS 8.5 and the first customer release of an OS called Rhapsody that fall, he says at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. The big news, however, is that Apple is hard at work creating a major new operating system called OS X.

Today in Apple history: PowerBook G3 gets thinner, lighter and bronze-er

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The PowerBook G3 Lombard brought a
The PowerBook G3 Lombard brought a "bronze" keyboard and some real enhancements.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

May 10: Today in Apple history: PowerBook G3 gets thinner, lighter and bronze-er May 10, 1999: The third-generation PowerBook G3 comes in 20% slimmer and 2 pounds lighter than its predecessor, but most people remember the laptop for its “bronze” keyboard.

Although it doesn’t get a new name to distinguish it from previous laptops in the lineup, fans call it “Lombard” after Apple’s internal code name (or simply the “PowerBook G3 Bronze Keyboard”).

Today in Apple history: iTunes experiments with video downloads

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Morcheeba's
Morcheeba's "The Antidote" was one of the first music videos available on iTunes.
Photo: Morcheeba

May 9: Today in Apple history: iTunes experiments with video downloads May 9, 2005: Apple quietly begins selling music videos in the iTunes Music Store.

The feature arrives with iTunes 4.8, initially offering bonus content for people purchasing albums through the store. It will take several months for Apple to start selling individual music videos, along with Pixar short films and a selection of TV shows, for $1.99 a pop.

Today in Apple history: 1997’s ‘MacBook Air’ weighed 4.4 pounds

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The PowerBook 2400c was Apple's ultra-thin laptop of the late '90s.
The PowerBook 2400c was Apple's ultra-thin laptop of the late '90s.
Photo: Apple

May 8: Today in Apple history: PowerBook 2400c launch May 8, 1997: Apple launches the PowerBook 2400c laptop, a 4.4-pound “subnotebook” that’s the MacBook Air of its day.

The PowerBook 2400c predicts the rise of speedy, lightweight notebooks, while also paying tribute to Apple’s past. Its design echoes the original PowerBook 100. Even years later, it remains a cult favorite among many Mac users.

Today in Apple history: Apple PR guru Katie Cotton steps down

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Apple
Katie Cotton helped control Apple's narrative in the press for years.
Photo: Apple

May 7: Today in Apple history: Apple PR guru Katie Cotton steps down May 7, 2014: Katie Cotton, the fearsome, much-admired head of Apple’s worldwide publicity machine, steps down from her VP post after 18 years with the company.

During her stint at Apple, Cotton worked in lockstep with Steve Jobs and proved instrumental in controlling the company’s portrayal in the press. Her departure provides one more reminder that the Jobs era is over at Apple.