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The Mac Turns 40

On this day 40 years ago, the world of computing changed forever.

The original Macintosh launched on January 24, 1984. Ushered in by what is likely the most iconic Super Bowl ad ever, the Mac sought to democratize computing in a way that no other machine had done before. An early print ad for the Mac called it “The computer for the bemused, confused, and intimidated.”

Though the Mac didn’t invent the desktop computing metaphor that allowed users to easily navigate the system with icons for files and folders, it represented a packaging or combination of these features that had not yet been made available commercially. The result was the first truly “personal” computer, making it easier than ever before to create digital works and documents.

As noted in this wonderful retrospective published today from the Steve Jobs Archive, the Macintosh team understood its mission: to create something that would empower other creators like never before.

“We’re going to walk into a classroom or an office or a home five years from now,” Jobs said at the time, “and somebody’s going to be using a Macintosh for something we never dreamed possible.”

Though the Mac has certainly experienced its ups and downs over the years, Apple has never lost sight of that original mission. In fact, it informs all of the major products the company creates today.

The Mac embodies the spirit of Apple, which, as Jobs noted in 2010, lives at the intersection of the liberal arts and technology: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough.  It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.”

Today, you could argue that we are enjoying the Mac’s best era yet. Though the iPhone remains Apple’s biggest product by far, the introduction of the M-Series processors has made the Mac more powerful and more efficient than ever.

Here at OWC, we still hold the Mac in a special place. It’s the reason our founder and CEO Larry O’Connor started the company in the first place and it’s our passion for the original Mac mission that drives our desire to offer products that upgrade, future-proof, and preserve your experiences with your Mac. Here’s to 40 more years.

Don’t miss some of our favorite Mac retrospectives that we’ve found from around the web today:

Happy 40th Macintosh: A visual showcase of every Mac ever made

Wired: The Secret of Why the 40-year-old Mac Still Rules

The Verge: Looking back on 40 years of Macintosh

Steve Jobs Archive: A computer for the rest of us: 40 years of Macintosh

OWC Wayne G
the authorOWC Wayne G
Tech lover, multimedia creator, and marketing manager for OWC's Rocket Yard and Mission Control blogs.
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  • January 1984. UPS leaves a HUGE, heavy box on my front porch in SE Portland, Oregon.

    Came home, surprise, it arrived. Opened it (lots of packaging). The original 512KB Macintosh. What a brain opener? Phew. This, my first Mac (was an Apple 2 user since 1982). Pretty amazing ever since.

    Favorite Mac-m/any of several that are/is reliable, durable, remarkable, with enduring life time software licenses. Eschew obfuscation (Adobe). Go Affinity, Micromat, Rogue Amoeba +! I prefer MacPro machines, especially the mid-2012 model, and reliable MacBook Pro models with many slots and ports.

    Wisdom from the Corvallis Macintosh User Group, on a mouse pad, Save work every 5 minutes, Use antivirus programs, Backup!, Don’t block vents, Love the Mac, Tolerate Apple, Teach a friend the Mac, Use shutdown to turn Mac off, Relax after system bomb, Read manual, Send in registrations, Lock your floppies (!), No liquids near your keyboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nuff said…