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Steve Jobs Archive Shares 1984 Photo of Jobs Spotting a Mac in the Wild

Five months ago, the Steve Jobs Archive debuted (for our coverage, see “Steve Jobs Archive,” 9 September 2022). Executive Director Leslie Berlin has now broken the silence since launch with an email containing the story behind a February 1984 photo of Steve Jobs, captivated by the sight of one of the first Macs in the wild.

Remember, Apple had introduced the Macintosh to the world in the now-famous “1984” commercial during Super Bowl XVIII on 22 January 1984, and Jobs had pulled the first Macintosh out of its bag on 24 January 1984. The Mac couldn’t have been available for more than about a month. And Jobs isn’t even in Silicon Valley—he’s in New Orleans for a software conference, walking to dinner with a friend. Who wouldn’t be captivated by such a serendipitous sight?

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Comments About Steve Jobs Archive Shares 1984 Photo of Jobs Spotting a Mac in the Wild

Notable Replies

  1. Great image.

    Even if it wasn’t Steve Jobs looking at a Macintosh, it looks like so many computer stores of the era.

    The first time I ever saw a Mac was a week before the official release when I walked into a classroom for dealer training filled with around twenty machines.

    Dealers got a single demo machine package to set up in the store, so they were definitely prominently displayed. I remember sitting in front of our machine demoing MacPaint. I kept hearing the door open behind me. When I turned around at the end of the demo there was a crowd watching over my shoulder.

  2. Link doesn’t work?
    “Read Original Article” in the e-mail…

  3. My favorite Jobs video was when he introduced the first iPhone. He kept repeating it was a phone, a music player, and internet access device (or something like that), then showed a iPod classic with the wheel turned into a rotary dial.

  4. Huh. It works for me, even in a private browsing window, in another browser, and on my iPhone. It’s the MailChimp “View this email in your browser” link. Is anyone else having problems loading it?

  5. Working now. Was not working this morning in ANY browser…

    Rich the Weather Guy

  6. Great image! The poster in the upper right looks like IBM/Charlie Chaplin


  7. It is. As The Tramp.

    Good times. :slight_smile:

  8. I didn’t check Twitter (for obvious reasons?), but their website still works. Sounds like it was down for a bit when everyone was first accessing it.

  9. What I meant is this new image & note is only visible in an email newsletter (and archive thereof), but hasn’t been posted to the website or on social media.

  10. Good times indeed. We can forget too easily how big a leap for a lot of people ‘working on a computer’ was then. Computer stores everywhere did this kind of thing, model it in the big window. People used to come into our office and watch me work as well. “Show me that copy and paste thing.”

    I’m sure that woman was plagued with worse than Steve.

  11. Ray

    In a work meeting the other day, a medical provider said they did not know how to “Copy and Paste” on the computer. Everyone else just stared at them. I figured it was part of the cultural knowledge by this time. They were serious.

  12. It is one of the Charlie Chaplin IBM PC Junior ads, and they were one of my clients when I was in ad sales. The campaign was an attempt to make emphasize this new product line look more user friendly and super easy for anyone to set up and use, featuring a character that was known to NOT be friendly to big and small businesses or technology.

    Even though this was a great print and broadcast ad campaign, the product failed because the OS and hardware was an extremely dumbed down version of a desktop computer. It had a very crappy keyboard and a very crappy mouse. It couldn’t do spreadsheets and other stuff the individuals and small businesses usually need to do. And not long after the Little Tramp campaign started running, “1984” destroying Big Brother, aka IBM, made sure computing for individuals and businesses would “not be like 1984.”

  13. I was actually in sales at that time. I have part of a display: the trunk and cane. I think I used to have the hat but it got destroyed along the years! I don’t recalling selling very many PC Jrs at all.


  14. It’s impossible to overestimate how little people understand. As an educator, I find that while devices are ubiquitous, understanding and practice, even with young people, is still relatively low. We may have laughed at Steve’s constant use of the word ‘magical’ but to most people these devices still are. “I don’t know how that happened…”.

    A lot of users have tasks they need to do, they learn how and then the main challenge is to stay on that path. I think MS built their whole business around this.

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