apple presents 30 years of mac, highlighting 3 decades of tech design apple presents 30 years of mac, highlighting 3 decades of tech design
mar 28, 2014

apple presents 30 years of mac, highlighting 3 decades of tech design

apple presents 30 years of mac, highlighting three decades of technology and design
1984 – macintosh
all images © apple

 

 

 

thirty years ago, apple introduced the macintosh with the aim to put the creative power of technology in everyone’s hands. in 1984, most people didn’t even know how to use a computer.

 

thanks to the simple interface of the macintosh, users learned to navigate what is now a ubiquitous technology. the software and design was approachable and friendly; the start-up screen initiated with a smiley face that greeted you. there were folders that looked like file folders, and a trash can for throwing things away. with the click of a mouse, you could suddenly do the unimaginable. you could move things around on the screen, change the way they looked, combine words with images and sounds, and create like never before. a new era had begun.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1985 – macintosh XL

 

 

the design of the macintosh XL was based on the predecessor of the original macintosh, the apple LISA. modified to run the mac operating system, the macintosh XL featured 1mb of ram, a 400k disk drive, and a large 12-inch monochrome display.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1986 – macintosh plus

 

 

the first expandable macintosh introduced the SCSI port to the mac, enabling the connection of external hard drives, scanners, modems, and printers. thanks to apple’s new localtalk networking technology, anyone with pagemaker software and a laserwriter printer could design and print documents with beautiful text and graphics. desktop publishing was born.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1987 – macintosh II

 

 

the macintosh II featured a new modular design that could support a much broader range of displays — including some that offered color. with the simple addition of a video card, the macintosh II could display 256 colors from a palette of 16.7 million.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

1988 – macintosh IIx

 

 

the macintosh IIx wasn’t just a follow-up to the previous model. it introduced the 1.44mb floppy disk to the mac line, nearly doubling the capacity compared to earlier computers. this floppy disk would later become the standard in personal computers over the next decade.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1989 – macintosh portable

 

 

the macintosh portable was apple’s first battery-powered computer. weighing almost 16 pounds, it wasn’t nearly as portable as today’s notebooks. the laptop was the first off-the-shelf notebook to be taken into space, aboard the space shuttle atlantis in 1991. among other things, it was used to send the very first email from space.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

1990 – macintosh LC

 

 

the macintosh LC dramatically lowered the price of a color-capable computer, making it accessible to more people. the color option opened a new world of possibilities, letting users expand their creativity by doing things they could only imagine. the computer also introduced built-in audio input to the mac, making it easier to use sound as a powerful creative tool.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

1991 – macintosh powerbook

 

 

the powerbook was the first truly portable macintosh. its innovative design, with the keyboard positioned close to the screen, allowed people to rest their palms while they typed. and the rolling trackball made it possible to move around the screen with more precision than ever before.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

1992 – macintosh quadra 950

 

 

the first macintosh in a tower design, the quadra 900 series featured an ethernet port for high-speed connections to computer networks. because of its sheer power, it quickly becoming the creative tool of choice for photographers, publishers, and ad agencies.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1993 – macintosh TV

 

 

this was the first macintosh with built-in television capabilities. it was an early example of apple designers combining multiple devices into one, and was the only black macintosh desktop until the introduction of  the new mac pro.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1994 – macinstosh powerbook 540c

 

 

the powerbook 540c wasn’t just the first powerbook with an LCD display and ethernet — it introduced the revolutionary trackpad that’s still used in notebooks today.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1995 – power macintosh 850

 

 

the power macintosh 8500 was the world’s first personal computer with AV import and export capability, enabling near-broadcast-quality video and audio, and jump-starting the popularity of the mac with video professionals.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1996 – macintosh powerbook 1400

 

 

underneath the gray exterior of the powerbook 1400 was something truly different and innovative: a CD drive. for the first time, a portable computer could work with high-resolution video and advanced audio.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

1997 – 20th anniversary macintosh

 

 

celebrating apple’s 20th birthday, this macintosh wasn’t like other computers of the day. it was personally delivered and set up by a white-glove concierge service. with its unique form and custom BOSE sound system, it represented a futuristic vision of the desktop computer.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1998 – iMac

 

 

the original iMac marked the beginning of a new chapter for apple and computers. it was the first computer to do away with floppy disks and popularize the USB port. designed by jonathan ive, its egg-shaped, all-in-one form wasn’t like anything anyone had seen before either. the translucent shell came in ‘bondi blue’, the best part of the iMac was its simplicity: you just plugged it in and turned it on.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 1999 – power mac G4

 

 

the power mac G4 was heralded as the world’s first personal supercomputer. at the time, it was so powerful it was even classified as a weapon by the U.S government. paired with final cut pro – which also debuted in 1999 – it brought hollywood-quality editing capabilities to a desktop computer.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2000 – iBook

 

 

dubbed as the ‘clamshell’, the iBook came equipped with airport technology; it was the first computer to have built-in wi-fi connectivity, paving the way for the mobile revolution.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2001 – powerbook G4

 

 

the titanium powerbook G4 was a big departure from the previous black curvilinear models – it was the world’s first widescreen notebook. the computer shipped with mac OS X, a completely re-engineered operating system that introduced the dock. the year 2001 also brought itunes, which would go on to revolutionize the music industry.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2002 – iMac

 

 

the new iMac design was the first to feature an LCD screen — an innovation that led to a much thinner profile. when the display was mounted on an adjustable arm above a white hemisphere, the unique form really took shape.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2003 – power mac G5

 

 

the power mac G5 was the first desktop computer with 64-bit architecture. it also introduced the tower design that would define pro computing in the years to come. inside its anodized aluminum chassis was superior power and expandability, and the engine that would propel a decade of creativity.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2004 – iBook G4

 

 

2004 brought much faster performance to the iBook notebooks, which at the time sported a glossy white polycarbonate case. garageband joined iPhoto and iMovie to complete the iLife suite of apps, giving every mac user the tools to be creative with photos, videos, and music.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

2005 – iMac G5

 

 

the iMac G5 was a completely new design, with the logic board mounted behind the flat-panel display and the computer elevated above the desk on an aluminum foot. a remote, which could magnetically attach to the side, gave users one-click access to their photos, music, and videos from anywhere in the room. this was also the first mac with a built-in iSight camera and integrated with iChat, so anyone could start video chatting right out of the box.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2006 – macbook pro

 

 

the change to an intel processor gave this mac notebook such a massive boost in performance. the macbook pro boasted up to quadruple the speed of the powerbook G4, professionals were no longer chained to their desks and had the freedom to create anywhere with a notebook.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2007 – iMac

 

 

the redesign of the iMac was radical in every way. it was housed in an extremely slim enclosure made out of pure glass and aluminum. in fact, only one screw was visible, and that was underneath the display.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2008 – macbook air

 

 

the macbook air was the first unibody notebook, crafted from a single piece of aluminum. instead of a removable battery, it had one built-in. the popularity of downloadable music meant an optical disc drive was no longer needed. the ubiquity of wi-fi networks also made an ethernet port unnecessary, which as a result, achieved the world’s thinnest notebook by removing all necessary components. 

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2009 – iMac

 

 

2009 was the year widescreen came to the desktop. the iMac was also the first mac to come with the magic mouse, which enabled the use of multi-touch gestures to intuitively scroll through documents, pan across web pages, and swipe through photos.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2010 – macbook air

 

 

2010 saw a complete rethinking and re-engineering of the macbook air. it was the first notebook designed entirely around flash storage, which made it faster and more durable and allowed more space for a longer-lasting battery. and for the first time, the macbook air came in a compact 11-inch version weighing just 2.3 pounds.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2011 – macbook pro

 

 

the new generation of macbook pro was the first computer with thunderbolt technology, a new i/o standard for connecting to next-generation peripherals with extremely fast data transfer speeds.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2012 – macbook pro with retina display

 

 

this was the first mac that featured the retina display – it provided 2880-by-1800 resolution, where individual pixels couldn’t be discerned with the human eye. this display let mac users see more detail than ever before, and it had a huge impact on photography, design, and moviemaking.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers

 2013 – iMac

 

 

introduced in late 2012 and updated the following year, the iMac was just 5 millimeters at its edge and made everything behind its display seem to disappear. it was the culmination of years of design exploration, attempting to distill the imac down to its most essential form — a large display with nothing to distract from it.

apple presents 30 years of mac with a timeline of 30 computers
2014 – mac pro

 

 

in 2014, the mac pro takes the most advanced technologies available and puts them together like no computer before it. it features two workstation-class graphics processors, incredibly fast flash storage, and unprecedented expansion capabilities.

 

for another blast from the past, see hartmut esslinger’s designs from early apple computer and tablets here.

  • The 2014 mac pro: “and unprecedented expansion capabilities.” UNPRECEDENTED? This is what all other computer manufacturers since the dawn of time! It’s just because it’s apple, it’s revolutionary?

    Curd says:

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