Today’s the day, the day that the Macintosh was in some sense born. Apple introduced the Macintosh 128K on January 24th, 1984. Apple PR kindly sent me a slew of Apple propaganda about the event, including Apple’s Annual Reports over the last ten years. From those reports, I’ve pulled a few telling quotes, quotes that point at Apple’s conception of itself, perhaps accurate, perhaps not, and that show milestones in the evolution of the Macintosh and of Apple. I’ll let you make of them what you will.
1984 — "It’s difficult to get people to work so hard for so long. But the Macintosh group was inspired with a fervor, not just for the machine they were designing, or the brand new markets they would open up, but for the thrill of working with great people. This fervor even hid the clear fact that no sane person believed the design would ever be finished. The best people to do an impossible job are those who don’t know it’s impossible."
"The new challenge for the Macintosh group is to make the Macintosh the second standard in business."
1985 — "By any measure, Macintosh is one of the most successful new computers of this decade, with an installed base of more than 500,000 systems in just 20 months after its introduction."
"We believe desktop publishing will be important in companies all sizes, large and small."
1986 — "The Macintosh Plus computer and the LaserWriter Plus printer opened the door for Apple in business. In the early spring, we introduced the Macintosh 512K Enhanced, a more affordable version of the Macintosh Plus."
"Each of these products remains true to Apple’s design philosophy: No matter how powerful the system, keep it simple to set up and operate."
1987 — "1987 was a year of good news for Apple Computer. The best news of all for Apple and our shareholders is simply this: the idea works. The fundamental Apple idea that the individual, not the mainframe, belongs at the center of the computing universe."
"In August, at the Macworld trade show in Boston, we introduced two new system software products that are as important to the evolution of Macintosh technology as the hardware of the Macintosh SE and Macintosh II [introduced on 02-Mar-87]. Those products are MultiFinder and HyperCard."
"Early in 1987, we sold our one-millionth Macintosh – demonstrating that we’d succeeded in establishing Macintosh as a viable second standard in business, while maintaining our leadership in education."
1988 — "In 1988, what changed Apple’s world was the Macintosh II. Its global acceptance positioned Apple as a mainstream business computer company, and continued to strengthen our leadership position in education."
"Meanwhile, Apple desktop publishing moved into its third generation in 1988. The Macintosh II, with its ability to drive multiple big-screen monitors, supports up to 16 megabytes of RAM and runs professional publishing software from developers such as Quark and Aldus, bringing a new depth and power to desktop publishing."
"In March, we introduced the AppleCD SC, a compact disc, read-only memory (CD-ROM) drive that can be used with either Macintosh or Apple II computers. CD-ROM is the next step in the information revolution."
1989 — "With a 30 percent increase in net sales, Apple grew large by more than $1 billion. We owe this dramatic growth to an array of successful new products. Early in the year, the Macintosh SE/30, the first compact Macintosh with Motorola’s advanced 68030 microprocessor, renewed users’ excitement with the classic Macintosh design."
"Shortly thereafter, we introduced the Macintosh IIcx, a powerful modular Macintosh with a smaller footprint, and it quickly won global acceptance. In the fourth quarter, we introduced the Macintosh IIci, an even higher-speed version of the IIcx. And we introduced a product the world had been weighting for [Oops, sorry! That’s "waiting for" -Adam]: the innovative Macintosh Portable."
"Our vision of personal computer has been validated by some of the best in our industry as they attempt to create ‘Mac-like’ computers and software."
1990 — "We recognized early in the year that to meet the needs of our customers, we had to expand our product line to include more affordable computers. The result, after months of tremendous effort, was the reaffirmation of Apple’s original vision of Macintosh as ‘the computer for the rest of us.’"
"1990 also saw increasing globalization in the computer industry. Worldwide product launches became commonplace, and the tailoring of system software to many languages, once rare, became a competitive necessity. Apple international sales grew to account for 42 percent of net revenues."
1991 — "We introduced the Macintosh PowerBook 100, 140, and 170. These small, lightweight, and powerful notebook computers make ‘anytime, anywhere’ computing a reality."
"In addition to expanding its line of Macintosh hardware in 1991, Apple extended its lead in system software, directly taking on the competition from graphics-based operating software such as Microsoft Windows 3.0. On May 13, at Apple’s worldwide developers’ conference, we introduced System 7, our next-generation system software for the Macintosh."
"On October 2, 1991, Apple forged a long-term alliance with the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) – a move that took many in the industry by surprise."
1992 — "Two words summarize Apple’s personal computing business in 1992: strong momentum. Unit shipments of Apple Macintosh personal computers grew by 20 percent, outpacing the industry. In 1992, Apple sold more than 2.5 million Macintosh personal computers."
"Sales of Macintosh PowerBook computers account for much of our growth. Apple sold more than 400,000 PowerBook computers in fiscal 1992, representing $1 billion in net sales."
"In 1992, we introduced more new Macintosh models – twelve in all – than in any other year in our history."
1993 — "We shipped more than 3.3 million Macintosh and PowerBook personal computers, brought to market the first product based on our Newton Intelligence technology, and shipped our first family of hardware and software server products."
"To keep pace with customer expectations, we cut prices on Apple Macintosh and PowerBook computers by up to 34 percent and introduced new models at – or in some cases below – the prices of competitive products."
"In 1993, we remained on schedule with the development of our first Macintosh systems based on the PowerPC architecture. The PowerPC 601 is the first microprocessor resulting from our sweeping technology alliance with IBM and Motorola. Apple plans to deliver its initial PowerPC processor-based Macintosh systems in the first half of calendar year 1994."