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Old mac computer with text saying that mac turns 30
Today in Tech History: January 24
Justin Narayan
Jan 24, 2014 • 3 min read


Today in Tech History: The Mac turns 30! On January 24, 1984, Apple released its first Mac, the Macintosh 128k.


Happy 30th Birthday to Apple's Mac! 30 years ago, on January 24, 1984, Apple released the Macintosh 128k. This computer is considered to be the one that "started it all". It was the first to have a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) and a "desktop" that made it a easier to use a computer without having to be a computer expert. This was the first time folders actually looked like folders and the trash was there to throw unwanted things away. It was easy to use, perhaps too easy, since a lot of people didn't know how to use it at first. This Mac was also came with a mouse! That's no big deal today since most devices are controlled with touch pads, but without the mouse, touch pads may have never came into existence. Without the mouse, we would probably still be using codes and commands to control the computer. This Mac gave users a new approach to using the computer. Steve Jobs got many ideas about the Mac when seeing the Xeorox Alto, which was a computer special built for the company Xerox. Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that his first glimpse of the Xerox Alto "was like a veil being lifted from my eyes." Jobs said, "I could see what the future of computing was destined to be".

Image above is of Steve Jobs with a few original Mac 128ks, from: Macworld Premium Issue 1984



The Macintosh 128k came with all the bells and whistles: a nine-inch screen with a black-and-white display, a mouse, two serial ports, a slot for one 3.5-inch floppy disc, and a $2,500 price tag (equivalent to about $5,000 in today's dollars). It also came with an blazing 128kb of RAM. To give you some perspective, Apple’s iPhone 5s is now available in 64gb, which is 6,710,8864kb! The Macintosh 128k came equipped with hardware that had previously cost $10,000. Apple spent about $900,000 to advertise the Mac 128k in a now famous commercial during the 1984 Superbowl (check out the video below). In less than three months from its release, Apple had sold about 70,000 Macintosh 128ks. The following year, Apple advertised in the Superbowl again, but instead received negative feedback and the ad almost killed Apple. Luckily, Apple survived and has come a long way over the last 30 years. Apple now easily sells millions of Apple products a year and has become one of the strongest brands in the world, but it may not have been possible without the Mac that started it all, the Macintosh 128k.


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