The machine, which was kitted out with 128 kilobytes of RAM and a 9-inch monochrome display, was the progenitor of a long line of desktops that would eventually transform the tech landscape – and help make Apple one of the wealthiest companies in the world.
This week, in an attempt to honor the legacy of the Macintosh, Apple has launched a "Thirty Years" website, which includes a lengthy video, an extensive timeline, and testimonials from early adopters such as the artist April Greiman.
"When I got the Macintosh, it signaled the end of calling myself a graphic designer because ideas could cross platforms, change scale, change materials," Ms. Greiman writes.
There's also an interactive section in which you can punch in data about your first Mac, whether it was a Macintosh SE or a MacBook Pro, and about how you used it – for business, for fun, or for educational purposes. For our part, it was the latter: We still remember booting up an old Macintosh in the dimly-lit computer room of our middle school.
In a lengthy reflection published this week, Anick Jesdanun, a technology writer for The Associated Press, points out while the Macintosh helped usher in a new era of personal computing, in many ways, it owed its existence to the machines that had come before.
At the time, "Xerox Corp. sold its own mouse-based Star computer, and Apple's Lisa" – a computer introduced in 1983 – "beat the Mac by months," says the AP piece. "It's impossible to say what would have happened if those machines hadn't flopped with consumers or whether others would have come along if the Mac hadn't. But the Mac prevailed and thus influenced generations of gadgets that followed."