There are stark comparisons between the novel 1984 by George Orwell, and the first Macintosh. A clean shaven Steve Jobs comes on stage to address a packed audience at the annual shareholder meeting on January 24, 1984. The first Macintosh is unveiled amidst guffaws as Jobs takes dig after dig at the IBM computers. The commercial, which found its popularity on the year’s Super Bowl half-time advertisements, has a female athlete running and throwing a hammer at a screen that preaches design conformity to people (another reference to IBM), to show the corrosion of conformity, in screened. To add to it, is tongue-in-cheek humour combined with his clean shaven sharp dressing, of Jobs, who continues to take on IBM head on.
Thirty years later, at the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh and the design and tech revolution, which it bought along with it, there is a sea of changes. The late founder, Jobs, has stood true to all the design considerations spoken about then, and bought along his own phone, iPhone, ushered in the Macintosh Book (Macbook) and changed the very manner in which the world and industry perceives technology. The video in discussion, here, is the rare showcase of the first Macintosh ever, from the same annual shareholders meeting in 1984. Jobs goes on to detail the finer aspects of the computer, which then was a technological marvel and even showcases the things that it could achieve back then.
The notable aspect of the video and the whole conference is that it was repeated twice. First at the headquarters in Cupertino (seen below) and then at the annual meet of the Boston Computer Society (BCS), which is less well-remembered. In addition, there are descriptions of the commercials that were to be showcased during the winter Olympics that year. Another part, is the manner in which the meet is addressed, along with the Q and A sessions with the journalists, where Jobs is brutally honest about the device, only getting stumped on one occasion when he is asked whether the ‘device would be able to create animations’. While Pixar studios eventually managed to do that with Toy Story almost a decade and half later, it goes on to show, the things that people expected of the computer then.
Thirty years on things have changed vastly, in the dystopian technology world, since Jobs’ Macintosh of 1984. The changes at Apple are evident on a macro level, with unibody aluminium body of the iMac replacing the plastic of the Macintosh. What has not changed on the micro-level, however, is the design and functionality of the devices which have continued to endear people to the ‘VolkerMacintosh’, over the last three decades.