COMMENTARY: 01.24.19- Last year in October 2018 (coincidentally on the day after the seventh anniversary of the passing of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs), CBS This Morning: Saturday did a feature segment on the downfall of America’s favorite apple, the Red Delicious, being knocked down from the top after 50 years by the Gala, imported and grown in New Zealand — the two just a small blip with over 7,000 varieties being grown across the world — but every Apple fan’s favorite variety, as far as computers are concerned, the Macintosh (or the Mac for short), has always been No. 1 in our hearts and the venerable and iconic brand turns 35 today.
If you were following this column, you may have read the news story about a highway accident in Silicon Valley involving a secured transport of secret Apple products onboard which occurred earlier this month. Could that have been a prototype for a new Mac to celebrate its 35th anniversary, on its way to Cupertino? One can only dream and speculate over the thought!
With that said, just how farfetched would it be for the Cupertino, California-based tech giant to release a special edition Mac this year for its 35th anniversary?
Apple created a special edition Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh back in 1997 for, of course, its 20th anniversary but the product name is a bit of a misnomer since the anniversary it was celebrating was the founding of the company rather than that of the computer itself. The computer which originally retailed for $7,499 and made in very limited quantities was designed by Jony Ive himself, current Apple chief design officer. Anyone who had that kind of money to fork over was treated to getting the computer delivered to their house by limo as Business Insider reported in 2017 on the special edition Mac’s very own 20th anniversary.
The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh computer was stunning, beautiful, and advanced for its time. It looked like something from the future, almost like the computer consoles found on Starfleet officers’ desks as seen in the sci-fi television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” It was the future of the Mac to come even before Apple realized it as later iterations of the iMac would take cues from the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh with its flat, all-in-one design.
I was only 19 when that computer came out and remember seeing it and reading about it in an issue of Macworld magazine, wishing I had that kind of money as a teenager and could get one, being the huge Apple fan that I was (and still am to this day).
Today, you can find that now 22-year old Mac going for much less, in used condition, on eBay. In stark contrast, just a few years ago I once saw (before I became blind in 2013) a listing for a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh “new in box” on the electronic auction site going for a whopping $10,000!
In fact, the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh featured in the photo accompanying this article was acquired in recent weeks secondhand from the original owner who was selling it on Craigslist for $600 but the buyer was able to bring down the cost to half that of the original asking price. I found out about it from a posting on the Facebook group of Low End Mac — another website I write for — a group which I myself am a member of too and read from another member that they also acquired a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh last year for $1,100 illustrating that while being more than two decades old, the computer still fetches a pretty penny, so to speak, in the wild among vintage Mac collectors.
So, what would a new Mac to celebrate its 35th anniversary look like?
For a 35th anniversary Mac, Apple would have to, “Think Different,” to quote a famous ad campaign in print from its past, which launched the same year that the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh was released, and create another futuristic-looking computer with a design that no one has ever seen before. Whether it’s a design that we haven’t seen in a Mac — such as the fabled touchscreen iMac maybe running a hybrid operating system that combines the best of MacOS and iOS — or something completely radical and new with next generation computing interfaces like neural or eye tracking technologies to operate the computer (all things I have opined and discussed previously over on low End Mac).
Then, wouldn’t it be great if Apple advertised a 35th anniversary Mac during this year’s Super Bowl LIII (53) next Sunday, February 3 followed by its release in stores shortly thereafter?
It was January 22, 1984 when the company known then as Apple Computer aired another famous and iconic ad, this time televised, during the Super Bowl that year which announced the Macintosh computer. The ad famously ended with the line, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like… 1984.”
Two days later, according to an exclusive story from TIME magazine published on its website in 2014, the Macintosh was unveiled by Steve Jobs at the company’s annual shareholder meeting held in the Flint Center on the campus of De Anza College located in Cupertino right near the company’s headquarters. It would retail for $2,495 and according to the website apple-history.com, it was the first affordable computer to include a graphical user interface (GUI) and released with much fanfare.
(For complete specs on the original Macintosh, also known as the Macintosh 128k, see this article on apple-history.com).
Back then, there were no Apple retail stores, no Apple.com, and that Macintosh was the only Mac the company offered. Fast forward 35 years later and we have a number of Mac models from desktops to notebooks for sale — not to mention all the different iterations of those Mac computers over the past three and a half decades — along with other non-computer products to boot like the assortment of iOS devices from the iPHone, iPad, and iPod touch.
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And finally, why Macintosh when, like the CBS This Morning: Saturday feature segment mentioned, there are more than 7,000 varieties of apples grown worldwide?
While Steve Jobs is credited for naming the company he co-founded, the Macintosh computer is actually the brainchild of former Apple employee Jeff Raskin, a contractor and writer for the company, who was in charge of what was dubbed “the Macintosh project” which was named after his favorite variety of the fruit which he is quoted as saying according to two sources cited on Quora, a question and answer website. Raskin would change the name from the original spelling of McIntosh to the name we all now know and love.
In a related story, the website Cult of Mac reported back in 2016 that Steve Jobs and co-founder Steve Wozniak were asked to stop using the name “Apple” for their company because their ad agency said that the brand didn’t imply the power of their computers..
It certainly would have been a different world today had it happened: no Apple or the Macintosh either. (I shudder at the thought!).
With the 35th anniversary of the Mac finally upon us, this year could be a great opportunity for Apple to wow and surprise us. One can only imagine what Apple has up its sleeve and waiting for us this year. Here’s hoping and to wishful thinking!