The Macintosh revolution

The Macintosh revolution

The Macintosh was to fulfill Steve Jobs' vision of "computer to the people". He created a personal computer which was easy to use and at a low cost. Steve thought of a tool for all people to broaden their mind - a revolution towards the modern way of compu ting.

His Macintosh team was made up of teenagers and self-taught hackers - "idiot savants, passionate plodders and inspired amateurs" - who "loved to cut code.") They followed his vision and passionately designed this outstanding computer. Jobs continuously dr ove his team to ever greater feats. He "kept thinking up crazier things, or more aggressive goals if they were doing good, or if they were achieving their goals he wanted them to do more. He couldn't just stop, he had to push you to the edge.") Steve "gav e impossible tasks, never acknowledging that they were impossible,") he "doesn't have any boundaries, [...] because he has always been able to do anything he wanted" due to "his early success.") As a consequence, people usually worked 80 hours a week or more for their project.

Steve's most brilliant hackers were Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson and Burrell Smith. The Macintosh was equipped with Motorola's 68000 CPU, a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, a detachable keyboard, and the amount of space it took up from the desk should not be l arger then a telephone book (this meant a revolution in size). The computer was meant to be an open system, and software applications were to be programmed by other companies, the work of which was supported by a standard modular tool box. This box made su re that all applications were easy to use and appeared in a standardized way. As well as other fundamental software the standard tool box was available from the computer's ROM.

Influenced by robotics assembly lines in Japan, Steve decided to "build the most advanced assembly plant in the world") for the production of the Macintosh. It was fully automated and the labor component accounted for only one percent of the total cost.

Simultaneously to feverish efforts to finish the Macintosh, Apple succeeded in finding a new president. Thanks to Steve's visionary powers of persuasion, John Sculley, top manager at PepsiCo, finally agreed to join Apple in April 1983.

The introduction of the Macintosh, which was Steve's revolutionary machine to change the world, was dated to January 1984 and was to be accompanied by a massive ad campaign in the media. Chiat/Day agency was asked to create a commercial referring to the fa ct that 1984 was the year of Orwell's famous novel. They produced the sixty-second ad, which was really exceptional, and proposed running it only once - during the Super Bowl, the most watched television event of the year.

It would be a million dollar minute which was to capture public attention. Macintosh was presented as a milestone product that would revolutionize the way of computing, breaking IBM's, the "Big Brother's" dominance and conformity it was about to establish by its IBM PCs.

When the commercial was broadcast, it reached 46.4 percent of America's households. People were stunned about this outrageous ad which was "unlike anything they had seen before.") Suddenly, millions of people knew something called Macintosh. The "commerci al sparked widespread controversy"), and won the highest advertising awards (more than 30).

The Macintosh (priced at $2,495) was a success from the start. Steve Jobs, the visionary, compared it to Graham Bell's invention of the telephone a hundred years ago. It was the "most approachable") and sophisticated personal computer of the time, which u shered in a new era of easy computing with a graphical interface and mouse. This feature would be taken over by many software companies in the subsequent years, particularly by big Microsoft, which developed Windows. This graphical user interface, which ha s been established as the industry standard today, is quite similar to Macinitosh's and makes possible the easy use of IBM PCs.

In the first 100 days, an industry record of more than 70,000 Macintosh computers were shipped - a number that went up to the total of 250,000 sold units by the end of the year.

Martin Groeger
Last modified: Mon Jul 8 05:45:42 PDT