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Macintosh's 25th Birthday

Twenty-five years ago today, a bowtied Steve Jobs let the Macintosh out of the bag at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. The machine embodied the talents of top Apple engineers, whom Jobs had persuaded to work 90-hour weeks on the project in the hope of building something great. Another crucial ingredient was the user-interface innovations created by Alan Kay’s group at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Lastly, there was Jobs’s own near-maniacal perfectionism. All this came together and the result was lightning.

Jobs’s showmanship is on display in this video of the unveiling. Also, this 1984 Macintosh brochure is a terrific example of marketing a highly sophisticated product to consumers in an engaging and approachable way.

Two years later, Jobs would be out of Apple … and signing a check for a little computer graphics hardware company called Pixar. In writing The Pixar Touch, I really liked the fact that Jobs’s background with Apple gave me the excuse to write a little about the history of personal computers, which he had done so much to shape by that time.