30 years ago today, the Mac was formally introduced, two days after Apple ran its famous 1984 commercial at Super Bowl XVIII. Over the years, there have been many fantastic Macs, ten of which I’ve written about for Stuff.tv. Looking at the images in that piece, it’s interesting to chart the evolution of Apple’s computers, and show how many examples—even those that seemed a bad idea at the time—informed those that came later.
It also showcases the game of iteration Apple plays, rather than lurching from one thing to the next. Of late, many tech hacks have regularly criticised Apple for not revolutionising Macs, iPads or iPhones with every release. But stand back a little and compare current kit with what came before the previous iteration; the leaps become more obvious.
Today, the best way to do that is with the Mac. Current Macs are immensely powerful machines, with specifications insanely superior to the 1984 incarnation. But it’s perhaps easier to use visual comparisons to see how far Macs have come. For example, here’s a picture of the current OS X Mavericks Finder icon, with the original Mac Finder icon perched on top of it:
And here’s the same current icon wearing the entire original Mac desktop as a kind of ironic retro hat:
Technology does evolve, but so often we’re caught up in the fine details to the point that we don’t see it. So next time you buy some new tech kit—be it a Mac, iPhone, Android device or PC—don’t just compare it to what was released a few months back to see how technology’s faring. Instead, think back a year, five years, ten years, and more, and realise that technology is in fact barrelling along at a frightening and exciting pace.
In this article, you can click the images to see them full-size on screens with a high enough resolution.