It was a short three decades ago when a young Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh in Cuptertino, California to a jam-packed audience glimmering in anticipation. Never before was there such excitement over a product and, based off of the crowd’s reaction in the video above, it delivered. It’s insane to think now that a computer saying a few paragraphs on its own could cause mass hysteria. But to those who understood, it was the day when everything changed.
In his recent biography of Jobs, author Walter Isaacson stated that there were internal issues that manifested during the creation of the Macintosh. Before the Mac, he was on another Apple team that was in the early stages of building their own personal computer called the Lisa. Jobs, however, was kicked off the team for unknown reasons and the Lisa was eventually released, a year before the Macintosh. Jobs was resentful that he was kicked off the team, and it drove him to make a product that was not only better, but cheaper in price. That didn’t happen, as Jobs had a brief spat with his CEO, John Sculley, who insisted that the Macintosh be priced at $2,495 ($500 more than Jobs had intended). Jobs later stated that this was the reason for Macintosh’s lackluster sales.
But there were other issues. While the computer was innovative, it was slow and underpowered. It only chad 128K of memory (over 800K short of that in the Lisa). It also didn’t have a fan or an internal hard drive. Ultimately, Apple sold 70,000 computers in three months. But by year’s end, it was down to 10,000 a month and after more spats with Sculley, Jobs departed from Apple in the summer of 1985.
As time progressed, it turned out that both Jobs and Apple were right about the features in the original Macintosh. Jobs believed heavily in designing a computer that compactly integrated both hardware and software, a philosophy that Apple still embraces to this day.
And because of that, the original Mac left a legacy far beyond the success of the product itself.