Apple introduced the first Macintosh to the world during the 1984 Super Bowl, becoming the first commercially successful computer to feature a mouse and the GUI (graphic user interface). The original Macintosh personal computer simplified the computer-human interaction enabling users to manipulate desk accessories and directories--appearing as pieces of paper and folders--simply by dragging and clicking. Icon representations of programs as well as the introduction of drop-down menus further simplified computer use.
In 1984, Apple announced the Macintosh 128 K computer to the world in the famous $1.5 million third-quarter Super Bowl commercial. The new Macintosh sold bundled with two applications designed to showcase its GUI interface: MacWrite and MacPaint.
The 9-inch monochrome vertical processor became a distinguishing feature of the early "Mac Classic" computers. The original Macintosh computers appealed mostly to graphic designers and artists, while the IBM/DOS systems sold well to businesses.
The GUI interface eliminated the command-line interface--typing names of programs on command lines. Instead, users clicked "icons" (pictures) which represented the programs. Functions, such as saving, moving and deleting files, were also simplified by simply dragging the icons on the screen using a control device called a mouse.
The Mac computer, combined with Apple's LaserWriter printer and Macintosh-specific software, enabled users to develop, preview and print high quality projects complete with text and graphics. Mac's distinctive capability toward design was impressive; however, early Macs lacked a hard drive (HD) and the means to attach a HD, thus making the limited memory a hindrance.
After the initial launch of the Mac 128 K computer, Apple introduced the "Fat Mac" in 1985, which provided four times the RAM (512 kilobyte) allowing multiple applications to run simultaneously.
Apple released the Macintosh Plus in January 1986 offering users 1 megabytes of random access memory (RAM) that was expandable to 4, the revolutionary Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) parallel interface that allowed up to seven peripherals (hard drives and scanners) to connect to the computer, and an 800 KB capacity floppy drive; however, it was the Macintosh II computer, with its open architecture, several expansion slots and support for color graphics, that marked a new direction for Apple.
The April 2010 Macintosh computer product line uses the Intel x86-64 processor and ships standard with 2 gigabytes of RAM.
The first Mac system software, introduced in 1984 and renamed MAC OS (operating system) in 1997, evolved until OS version 9.2.2. In 2001, Apple introduced the Mac OS X system; however, to ease the transition from earlier OS versions (Classic), the new system allowed users to run Mac OS 9 applications under Mac OS X (up to version 10.4). As of 2010, the latest version, released 2009, of Mac OS X is Snow Leopard (version 10.6).
Although Apple introduced the computer mouse, support for a multi-button mouse did not occur until 2005 with the introduction of the "Mightly Mouse," which included four buttons and a scroll ball. In 2006, Apple introduced the Magic Mouse, which uses multi-touch gesture recognition---similar to the iPhone.
- Photo Credit computer image by Angie Lingnau from Fotolia.com
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