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Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Macintosh

[Update: The Mac 30th event is itself now a small part of the history of the Macintosh, but I recommend checking out the linked resources for those who couldn’t attend. -Adam]

On 24 January 2014, the Macintosh celebrates its 30th anniversary, and while Apple honored it with an interactive Web site (see “Apple Produces Gorgeous Site for Mac’s 30th Anniversary,” 24 January 2014), many of the people behind the original Macintosh will be marking the moment on 25 January 2014 with a special Mac 30th event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, the site of the first Mac’s unveiling (unbagging, actually — watch the video). If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to bask in the nostalgia, check it out.

For those who can’t make it, or who are reading this after the fact, but would still like to amble back down memory lane, I’d encourage you to read “The Mac Turns 25: Our First Macs” (25 January 2009) for the stories about the first Macs of the various members of the TidBITS staff in 2009. Numerous other outlets have run brief histories of the Mac; CNET’s piece by Dan Farber is particularly nice. Also, Macworld’s Jason Snell spoke with a number of Apple executives about the role of the Mac in an iOS-dominated world, Peter Cohen has a visual look at the most influential iterations of the Macintosh at iMore, and, as part of their “The Mac at 30” roundup, Macworld UK has compiled some of Apple’s greatest ads, including the “1984” ad that introduced the Mac. It’s always worth watching again, and be sure to see its “making of” video too.

Anyway, inspired by a September 2013 reunion event to demonstrate the recently restored Twiggy Mac (a rare prototype) at the Computer History Museum, the Mac 30th event will feature three panels, each moderated by a well-known technology writer and featuring members of the original Macintosh development team and early Mac developers:

  • Conception: Moderated by John Markoff of the New York Times, this panel features Daniel Kottke, Larry Tesler, Marc LeBrun, and Bill Fernandez.

  • Birth of the Mac: Steven Levy of Wired will moderate this panel of Bill Atkinson, Randy Wigginton, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, George Crow, and Caroline Rose.

  • Coming of Age of the Mac: Finally, this panel of Macintosh developers will include Charlie Jackson, Jim Rea, Heidi Roizen, Ty Roberts, David Bunnell, Marc Canter, Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, Adam Hertz, and Steve Jasik, and it will be moderated by Dan Farber of CNET.

Our friend Jim Rea of ProVUE Development, who’s on the third panel, tells me that Mike Markkula, the “adult supervision” for the early days of Apple Computer, is slated to be there too as part of a presentation honoring the original Mac team, and Steve Hayden, along with some of the team that created Ridley Scott’s famous “1984” commercial, will be there to talk about its creation. The event is set to close out with a performance by the Macworld All Star Band, featuring Mac personalities Chris Breen, Paul Kent, Bob LeVitus, Chuck La Tournous, Duane Straub, Dave Hamilton, and Bryan Chaffin.

Throughout, the organizers will be screening privately held videos and still images documenting the events and personalities of the time, some of which have never been seen in public before.

The Mac 30th event doors open at 6:00 PM, with the panels starting at 7:00 PM and running until 10:30 PM. Tickets cost either $109.75 or $140.80 (for the good seats), and all proceeds will go to benefit CoderDojo, a volunteer-led movement of free coding clubs for young people.


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Comments about Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Macintosh
(Comments are closed.)

Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-01-22 11:12
My first Mac was a Macintosh XL (a.k.a. an Apple Lisa). I still have a memory board from it if anyone needs an extra 512K of RAM…
Vinny Giardina  2014-01-22 12:31
Please, someone video this so us poor slobs in the East can someday see it.
Tommy Weir  2014-01-23 09:28
I had access to a Mac SE/30 which was a glorious machine to have as your first one. You had to book time on it in work! I published several books using it, and taught myself how the publishing industry works through my efforts. I still have an old SE sitting in a Mac Bag up in the loft, still works...
Gary Gibson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Supporter 2014-01-23 19:35
My first Mac was a Mac Plus back in 1986. I remember buying a bunch of RAM in bulk for myself and my fellow Mac owners in San Francisco, so that I could max it out to an incredible (at the time) 4mb! I still have that extra long screwdriver to open the case.

I had a lot of fun with that thing, especially with MiDI and an early electronic keyboard. I still have it and a few accessories (including a MIDI box, and a SCSI hard drive) sitting in a Mac bag in the home office closet. It still worked when I tried it a year ago. I should try it again now...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-01-24 06:32
Boot it up and toast with a glass of champagne!
Chris Kohuch  2014-01-25 18:56
I remember my first experience using Macs with the Mac Plus is my high school computer lab. In those days we could shoehorn the OS and a copy of MS Works along with room for a few files/assignments on a single 400K 3.5" floppy.

The first Mac I owned was a Mac IIci I purchased fresh out of tech school in 1991. I still remember how shocked people were when I would run 2 monitors (one off the built in graphics and a second off the 3rd party Nubus card). Wish I still had it today just for old times sake.