Based From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Macintosh (commonly shortened to Mac since 1998)is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and
sold by Apple Inc. since January 1984.
Clockwise from top: MacBook Air
(2015), iMac G5 20" (2004), Macintosh
II (1987), Power Mac G4 Cube (2000),
iBook G3 Blueberry (1999) and
original Macintosh 128K (1984).
The original Macintosh is the first successful mass-market personal computer to have featured a graphical user interface, built-
in screen, and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II family of computers for almost ten years until
the latter was discontinued in 1993.
Early Macintosh models were expensive, hindering competitiveness in a market dominated by the much cheaper
Commodore 64 for consumers, as well as the IBM Personal Computer and its accompanying clone market for businesses,
although they were less expensive than the Xerox Alto and other computers with graphical user interfaces that predated the Mac.
Macintosh systems were successful in education and desktop publishing, making Apple the second-largest PC
manufacturer for the next decade. In the early 1990s, Apple introduced the Macintosh LC II and Color Classic which were price-
competitive with Wintel machines at the time.
However, the introduction of Windows 3.1 and Intel's Pentium processor, which beat the Motorola 68040 used in then-current
Macintoshes in most benchmarks, gradually too market share from Apple, and by the end of 1994 Apple was relegated to third
place as Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Even after the transition to the superior PowerPC-based Power Macintosh
line in the mid-1990s, the falling prices of commodity PC components, poor inventory management with the Macintosh
Performa, and the release of Windows 95 contributed to continued decline of the Macintosh user base.
Upon his return to the company, Steve Jobs led Apple to consolidate the complex line of nearly twenty Macintosh models
in mid-1997 (including models made for specific regions) down to four in mid-1999: the Power Macintosh G3, iMac, 14.1"
PowerBook G3, and 12" iBook. All four products were critically and commercially successful due to their high
performance, competitive prices, and aesthetic designs, and helped return Apple to profitability.
Around this time, Apple phased out the Macintosh name in favor of "Mac", a nickname that had been in common use
since the development of the first model. Since their transition to Intel processors in 2006, the complete lineup is Intel-based.
Its current lineup includes four desktops (the all-in-one iMac and iMac Pro, and the desktop Mac Mini and Mac Pro), and two laptops (the MacBook Air and MacBook
Pro). Its Xserve server was discontinued in 2011 in favor of the Mac Mini and Mac Pro.
Apple has developed a series of Macintosh operating systems. The first versions initially had no name but came to be known as the "Macintosh System Software" in
1988, "Mac OS" in 1997 with the release of Mac OS 7.6, and retrospectively called "Classic Mac OS". Apple produced a Unix-based operating system for the Macintosh
called A/UX from 1988 to 1995, which closely resembled contemporary versions of the Macintosh system software. Apple does not license macOS for use on non-
Apple computers, however, System 7 was licensed to various companies through Apple's Macintosh clone program from 1995 to 1997. Only one company, UMAX
Technologies was legally licensed to ship clones running Mac OS 8.
In 2001, Apple released Mac OS X, a modern Unix-based operating system which was later rebranded to simply OS X in 2012, and then macOS in 2016. The current
version is macOS Catalina, released on October 7, 2019. Intel-based Macs are capable of running native third party operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, and
Microsoft Windows with the aid of Boot Camp or third-party software. Volunteer communities have customized Intel-based macOS to run illicitly on non-Apple
The Macintosh family of computers have operated using a variety of different CPU architectures since its introduction. Originally they used the Motorola 68000
series of microprocessors. In the mid 1990s they transitioned to PowerPC processors, and again in the mid 2000s they began to use 32- and 64-bit Intel x86
processors. Apple has confirmed that it will be transitioning CPU architectures again, this time to its own ARM-based processors for use in the
Macintosh beginning in 2020.
The Macintosh project began in 1979 when Jef Raskin, an Apple employee, envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer for the average consumer. He wanted to
name the computer after his favorite type of apple, the McIntosh, but the spelling was changed to "Macintosh" for legal reasons as the original was the same
spelling as that used by McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., the audio equipment manufacturer. Steve Jobs requested that McIntosh Laboratory give Apple a release for the newly
spelled name, thus allowing Apple to use it. The request was denied, forcing Apple to eventually buy the rights to use this name. A 1984 Byte Magazine article suggested Apple changed the spelling only after "early users" misspelled "McIntosh".However, Jef Raskin had adopted the "Macintosh" spelling by 1981, when the Macintosh computer was still a single prototype machine in the lab.
1978–84: Development and introduction
In 1978 Apple began to organize the Apple Lisa project, aiming to build a next-generation machine similar to an advanced
Apple II or the yet-to-be-introduced IBM PC. In 1979 Steve Jobs learned of the advanced work on graphical user interfaces
(GUI) taking place at Xerox PARC. He arranged for Apple engineers to be allowed to visit PARC to see the systems in
action. The Apple Lisa project was immediately redirected to utilize a GUI, which at that time was well beyond the state of
The original Macintosh 128k.
the art for microprocessor capabilities; the Xerox Alto required a custom processor that spanned several circuit boards in a
case which was the size of a small refrigerator. Things had changed dramatically with the introduction of the 16/32-bit Motorola
68000 in 1979, which offered at least an order of magnitude better performance than existing designs and made a software
GUI machine a practical possibility. The basic layout of the Lisa was largely complete by 1982, at which point Jobs's continual
suggestions for improvements led to him being kicked off the project.
At the same time that the Lisa was becoming a GUI machine in 1979, Jef Raskin started the Macintosh project. The design at
that time was for a low-cost, easy-to-use machine for the average consumer. Instead of a GUI, it intended to use a text-
based user interface that allowed several programs to be running and easily switched between, and special command
keys on the keyboard that accessed standardized commands in the programs. Raskin was authorized to start hiring
for the project in September 1979, and he immediately asked his long-time colleague, Brian Howard, to join him. His initial
team would eventually consist of himself, Howard, Joanna Hoffman, Burrell Smith, and Bud Tribble. The rest
of the original Mac team would include Bill Atkinson, Bob Belleville, Steve Capps, George Crow, Donn Denman, Chris Espinosa,
Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, Susan Kare, Larry Kenyon, and Caroline Rose with Steve Jobs leading the project. In a
2013 interview, Steve Wozniak insinuated that he had been leading the initial design and development phase of the
Macintosh project until 1981 when he experienced a traumatic airplane crash and temporarily left the company, at which
point Jobs took over. In that same interview, Wozniak said that the original Macintosh "failed" under Jobs and that it was
not until Jobs left that it became a success. He attributed the eventual success of the Macintosh to people like John
Sculley "who worked to build a Macintosh market when the Apple II went away".
Smith's first Macintosh board was built to Raskin's design specifications: it had 64 kilobytes (kB) of RAM, used the 8-bit
Motorola 6809E microprocessor, and was capable of supporting a 256×256-pixel black-and-white bitmap display. Bud
Tribble, a member of the Mac team, was interested in running the Apple Lisa's graphical programs on the Macintosh and
asked Smith whether he could incorporate Lisa's 68000 microprocessor into the Mac while still keeping the production cost
down. By December 1980, Smith had succeeded in designing a board that not only used the 68000 but increased its
speed from Lisa's 5 MHz to 8 MHz; this board also had the capacity to support a 384×256-pixel display. Smith's design
used fewer RAM chips than the Lisa, which made the production of the board significantly more cost-efficient. The final
Mac design was self-contained and had the complete QuickDraw picture language and interpreter in 64 KB of ROM – far more
than most other computers which typically had around 4 to 8 KB of ROM; it had 128 kB of RAM, in the form of sixteen 64-kilobit
(kb) RAM chips soldered to the logicboard. Although there were no memory slots, its RAM was expandable to 512 kB by
means of soldering sixteen IC sockets to accept 256 kb RAM chips in place of the factory-installed chips. The final product's
screen was a 9-inch (230 mm), 512x342 pixel monochrome display, exceeding the size of the planned screen.
Burrell's innovative design, combining the low production cost of an Apple II with the computing power of Lisa's Motorola 68000
CPU, began to receive Jobs's attentions. InfoWorld in September 1981 reported on the existence of the secret Lisa
and "McIntosh" projects at Apple. Stating that they and another computer "are all scheduled to be ready for release within a year", it
A prototype of the Macintosh from 1981 (at the Computer History Museum)
described McIntosh as a portable computer with the 68000 and 128KB memory, and possibly battery-powered. Realizing
that the Macintosh was more marketable than the Lisa, Jobs began to focus his attention on the project. Raskin left the team in
1981 over a personality conflict with Jobs. After development had completed, team member Andy Hertzfeld said that the final
Macintosh design is closer to Jobs's ideas than Raskin's. When Jobs was forced out of the Lisa team in 1982, he devoted
his entire attention to the Macintosh.
Jobs commissioned industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger to work on the Macintosh line, resulting in the "Snow White" design
language; although it came too late for the earliest Macs, it was implemented in most other mid- to late-1980s Apple computers.
The original Macintosh featured a
radically new graphical user interface.
Users interacted with the computer
using a metaphorical desktop that
included icons of real life items, instead
of abstract textual commands.
In 1982 Regis McKenna was brought in to shape the marketing and launch of the Macintosh. Later the Regis McKenna
team grew to include Jane Anderson, Katie Cadigan and Andy Cunningham, who eventually led the Apple account for the
agency. Cunningham and Anderson were the primary authors of the Macintosh launch plan. The launch of the
Macintosh pioneered many different tactics that are used today in launching technology products, including the "multiple
exclusive," event marketing (credited to John Sculley, who brought the concept over from Pepsi), creating a mystique about a
product and giving an inside look into a product's creation.
After the Lisa's announcement, John Dvorak discussed rumors of a mysterious "MacIntosh" project at Apple in February
1983. The company announced the Macintosh 128K—manufactured at an Apple factory in Fremont, California—in October 1983, followed by
an 18-page brochure included with various magazines in December. The Macintosh was introduced by
a US$1.5 million Ridley Scott television commercial, "1984". It aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on
January 22, 1984, and is now considered a "watershed event" and a "masterpiece". McKenna called the ad "more
successful than the Mac itself." "1984" used an unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by a
Picasso-style picture of the computer on her white tank top) as a means of saving humanity from the "conformity" of IBM's attempts to dominate the computer industry.
The ad alludes to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised "Big Brother."
Two days after "1984" aired, the Macintosh went on sale, and came bundled with two applications designed to show off its interface: MacWrite and MacPaint. It was first
demonstrated by Steve Jobs in the first of his famous Mac keynote speeches, and though the Mac garnered an immediate, enthusiastic following, some labeled it a
mere "toy." Because the operating system was designed largely for the GUI, existing text-mode and command-driven applications had to be redesigned and the
programming code rewritten. This was a time-consuming task that many software developers chose not to undertake, and could be regarded as a reason for an initial
lack of software for the new system. In April 1984, Microsoft's MultiPlan migrated over from MS-DOS, with Microsoft Word following in January 1985. In 1985 Lotus
Software introduced Lotus Jazz for the Macintosh platform after the success of Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PC, although it was largely a flop. Apple introduced the
Macintosh Office suite the same year with the "Lemmings" ad. Infamous for insulting its own potential customers, the ad was not successful.
Apple spent $2.5 million purchasing all 39 advertising pages in a special, post-election issue of Newsweek, and ran a "Test Drive a Macintosh" promotion, in which
potential buyers with a credit card could take home a Macintosh for 24 hours and return it to a dealer afterwards. While 200,000 people participated, dealers disliked
the promotion, the supply of computers was insufficient for demand, and many were returned in such a bad condition that they could no longer be sold. This marketing
campaign caused CEO John Sculley to raise the price from $1,995 to $2,495 (equivalent to $5,900 in 2019). The computer sold well, nonetheless, reportedly
outselling the IBM PCjr which also began shipping early that year; one dealer reported a backlog of more than 600 orders. By April 1984 the company sold 50,000
Macintoshes, and hoped for 70,000 by early May and almost 250,000 by the end of the year.
1984–90: Desktop publishing
Most Apple II sales had once been to companies, but the IBM PC caused small businesses, schools, and some homes to become Apple's main customers. Jobs
stated during the Macintosh's introduction "we expect Macintosh to become the third industry standard", after the Apple II and IBM PC. Although outselling every other
computer, and so compelling that one dealer described it as "the first $2,500 impulse item", Macintosh did not meet expectations during the first year, especially among
business customers. Only about ten applications including MacWrite and MacPaint were widely available, although many non-Apple software developers
participated in the introduction and Apple promised that 79 companies including Lotus, Digital Research, and Ashton-Tate were creating products for the new computer.
After one year for each computer, the Macintosh had less than one-quarter of the PC's software selection—including one word processor, two databases, and one
spreadsheet—although Apple had sold 280,000 Macintoshes compared to IBM's first-year sales of fewer than 100,000 PCs. MacWrite's inclusion with the Macintosh
discouraged developers from creating other word processing software.
Although Macintosh excited software developers, they were required to learn how to write software that used the graphic user interface, and early in the
computer's history needed a Lisa 2 or Unix system to write Macintosh software. Infocom had developed the only third-party games for the Mac's launch by replacing
the buggy early operating system with the company's own minimal bootable game platform. Despite standardizing on Pascal for software development Apple did not
release a native-code Pascal compiler. Until third-party Pascal compilers appeared, developers had to write software in other languages while still learning enough
Pascal to understand Inside Macintosh.
The Macintosh 128K, originally released as the Apple Macintosh, is the original Apple Macintosh personal computer. Its beige case consisted of a 9 in (23 cm) CRT
monitor and came with a keyboard and mouse. A handle built into the top of the case made it easier for the computer to be lifted and carried. This was synonymous with
the release of the iconic 1984 TV Advertisement by Apple. This model and the 512k released in September of the same year had signatures of the core team embossed
inside the hard plastic cover and soon became collector pieces.
In 1985 the combination of the Mac, Apple's LaserWriter printer, and Mac-specific software like Boston Software's MacPublisher and Aldus PageMaker enabled users to
design, preview, and print page layouts complete with text and graphics—an activity to become known as desktop publishing. Initially, desktop publishing was unique to
the Macintosh, but eventually became available for other platforms. Later, applications such as Macromedia FreeHand, QuarkXPress, and Adobe's Photoshop and
Illustrator strengthened the Mac's position as a graphics computer and helped to expand the emerging desktop publishing market.
The Macintosh's minimal memory became apparent, even compared with other personal computers in 1984, and could not be
expanded easily. It also lacked a hard disk drive or the means to easily attach one. Many small companies sprang up to
address the memory issue. Suggestions revolved around either upgrading the memory to 512 KB or removing the computer's
16 memory chips and replacing them with larger-capacity chips, a tedious and difficult operation. In October 1984 Apple
introduced the Macintosh 512K, with quadruple the memory of the original, at a price of US$3,195. It also offered an
upgrade for 128k Macs that involved replacing the logic board.
The Apple Macintosh Plus at the
Design Museum in Gothenburg,
Apple released the Macintosh Plus on January 10, 1986, for a price of US$2,600. It offered one megabyte of RAM, easily
expandable to four megabytes by the use of socketed RAM boards. It also featured a SCSI parallel interface, allowing up to
seven peripherals—such as hard drives and scanners—to be attached to the machine. Its floppy drive was increased to an
800 kB capacity. The Mac Plus was an immediate success and remained in production, unchanged, until October 15, 1990; on
sale for just over four years and ten months, it was the longest-lived Macintosh in Apple's history until the 2nd generation
Mac Pro that was introduced on December 19, 2013 surpassed this record on September 18, 2018. In September 1986 Apple
introduced the Macintosh Programmer's Workshop, or MPW, an application that allowed software developers to create
software for Macintosh on Macintosh, rather than cross compiling from a Lisa. In August 1987, Apple unveiled HyperCard
and MultiFinder, which added cooperative multitasking to the operating system. Apple began bundling both with every Macintosh.
Updated Motorola CPUs made a faster machine possible, and in 1987 Apple took advantage of the new Motorola technology
and introduced the Macintosh II at $5500, powered by a 16 MHz Motorola 68020 processor. The primary improvement in the
Macintosh II was Color QuickDraw in ROM, a color version of the graphics language which was the heart of the machine.
Among the many innovations in Color QuickDraw were the ability to handle any display size, any color depth, and multiple
monitors. The Macintosh II marked the start of a new direction for the Macintosh, as now for the first time it had an open
architecture with several NuBus expansion slots, support for color graphics and external monitors, and a modular design similar
The Macintosh II, the first
Macintosh model with color graphics
to that of the IBM PC. It had an internal hard drive and a power supply with a fan, which was initially fairly loud. One third-
party developer sold a device to regulate fan speed based on a heat sensor, but it voided the warranty. Later Macintosh
computers had quieter power supplies and hard drives.