Thursday, October 6th 2011
Die-hard Apple fans will understand the significance of this image.
The Mac Plus was launched in 1986 – it was the third product to launch from a young and vibrant company started in a garage 10 years previous.
The Plus, which retailed for a mere $2599, was for me a turning point in my life. Staring at the 9-inch 512×342 pixel monochrome display I could instantly use a computer with no training, no reading the manual, no understanding of any code or language – as I used, I learnt.
I loved my Mac Plus; it was upgraded with a 20mb external hard drive, I could plug in my SCSI SyQust drive for backing up, it was treated to the occasional Apple sticker, it went away to University with me.
It wasn’t the most powerful computer for it’s day, there were problems with overheating, but the GUI (Graphical User Interface) changed the way we use and interact with computers forever. Heavily influenced by the Xerox Star but made infinitely better.
Being controversial for a minute I would have to say that Apple (and it’s creations) aren’t entirely the work of Jobs. Many true Apple fans will see Steve Wozniak as the real engineer and programmer to Jobs’ more accountant-like role in the business. Yes, Jobs had vision – especially in the more recent Apple years or iPhone, iPod and iPad – and an amazing understanding of the user ‘experience’ but has this changed the world, really?
The Mac was taken to heart by every Graphic Designer across the land because it could cope with displaying curves better than any PC and this meant one thing – smooth typography! Magazines like Emigre began to push the boundaries and eventually launch their own range of typefaces that us mere mortals could use. The world had changed again – no-one would go back to dry-transfer lettering.
Jonathan Ive turned the home computer from beige box to jewel-like must-have and in 1997 became Senior Vice President of Industrial Design when Jobs returned to the helm.
To summarise; Apple is no one person but an amalgamation of great minds and pioneers, all of which had the amazing ability to ‘Think different’ steered and directed by the vision of Jobs – and for that, I salute them a…