From the archive: Macintosh launched by Apple

Originally published on 25 January 1984
Geoff Andrews and Peter Fiddick

Apple Computer, the firm that gave Silicon Valley its style, was converted to Madison Avenue values at a stroke yesterday for the simultaneous launch on both sides of the Atlantic of the computer that will fight its battle with IBM. With all the showbiz of a car launch, including the lights, dry ice, and a revolving stage, Macintosh (“the biggest advance in the office since the telephone and the calculator”) was launched in both New York and London as the first stage in Apple’s bid to revitalise the company after the comparative failure of its Lisa computer and in the face of burgeoning sales for the IBM personal computer. Based on the advanced 32-bit architecture developed for Lisa, Macintosh is built round a powerful Motorola 68000 microprocessor with 128K of RAM and a 512K version due later this year. It has a built-in nine-inch screen, weighs only 171b (77kg) and will fit into a canvas bag the size of an average ruck-sack, with a price in the region of $3,100.

Apart from its power, the secret of the Macintosh’s potential is its ease of use, based on the Xerox concept of the “mouse”. The mouse, a device centred on a ball bearing which fits neatly in the palm of the hand, is wheeled round the desktop acting as a cursor between labels or “icons” displayed on the screen which do away with complicated instructions to the machine. It makes the Macintosh very easy to use, particularly in its graphics program.

Geoff Andrews
The Guardian, Monday 25 January 2010