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Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Macintosh

by Adam C. Engst

[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 [1],” 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 [2] event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, the site of the first Mac’s unveiling (unbagging, actually — watch the video [3]). 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 [4]” (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 [5] 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 [6] at iMore, and, as part of their “The Mac at 30 [7]” roundup, Macworld UK has compiled some of Apple’s greatest ads [8], including the “1984” ad that introduced the Mac. It’s always worth watching again, and be sure to see its “making of” video [9] too.

Anyway, inspired by a September 2013 reunion event [10] 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:

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 [11] cost either $109.75 or $140.80 (for the good seats), and all proceeds will go to benefit CoderDojo [12], a volunteer-led movement of free coding clubs for young people.