This month sees Apple mark the 30th anniversary of the first Apple Mac - the computer that changed everything and spawned an industry. It also marks the 30-year anniversary of Macworld, the magazine founded to follow Apple's then new and exciting computer. We've seen a lot of Macs come and go in the past 30 years, and here we pick out the five most important Macs in that long history. Here are the 5 Macs that changed everything.
[Read our History of Apple]
5 Macs that changed everything: 1. Original Mac (1984)
You could argue that without the Apple Mac someone else would have had to invent something similar, but it's difficult to see who would have done so. It's doubtful that they would have done it with such panache. And without the Apple Mac or something like it the computing world we know today would not exist.
Today we consider PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets to be consumer devices rather than technical equipment that requires a manual. We expect everything from TVs to cash points to come with a graphical user interface, something that speaks our language and understands our needs. And the Mac was at the forefront of that movement.
As clunky and expensive as it was - about $5,000 at today's prices - the original Apple Mac was the first mass-market personal computer featuring a graphical user interface and mouse. And that is a hugely important staging post in the development of personal computing.
It had a tortured design process a million miles away from the smooth way via which Apple now appears to produce winning gadgets. And the launch itself, with its Ridley Scott Superbowl advert, is almost as famous as the device became. But never forget just how important the original Mac was. It started everything, including this website.
Macworld launched at the same time as the Mac, with the permission (if not the outright endorsement) of one Mr Steve Jobs. Thirty years of lean and fat later and we're still here, and so is the Mac.
[Read more of our 30th anniversary of the Mac coverage over at our Mac at 30 channel.]
5 Macs that changed everything: 2. The first iMac (1998)
Of course those 30 years haven't all been plain sailing. Far from it. Without the second of our five Macs that changed everything it's unlikely that the Mac, or Macworld, would still be around. Fast forward to 1998 and Steve Jobs is back at Apple having been ousted and then rehired in 1997, with just months to save his beloved Apple. The rest is history, but before the iPods, iPhones and iPads, Jobs saved Apple with a couple of key products: OS X and the first iMac.
You know the one - the all-in-one Mac with translucent blue plastic at the back. Apple introduced its new iMac in 1998 and it swiftly became both a runaway succes and a design classic. The iMac standardised with the rest of the PC industry by including USB ports, and upgraded to a CD-ROM drive.
More importantly, it looked like something normal humans wanted to own, and it worked like that. In a world of beige Windows boxes that were complicated and unreliable, the cute iMac just worked. It was a combination that proved to be phenomenally successful, with 800,000 units sold in just 139 days.
And this icon of the Mac world did two other critical things. It put Apple back in to profit, and it cemented Steve Jobs' role as the undisputed leader of Apple, which in turn allowed him to push on with all the other key products. Love your iPad? It may never have happened without the original iMac. (See all Mac reviews.)
5 Macs that changed everything: 3. The first MacBook Pro (2006)
Here we must give an honourable mention to the original Mac mini, the first Intel iMac and the Mac Pro. Why? Because one of the reasons we are choosing the first MacBook Pro as our third Mac that changed everything is because it was one of the original Intel Macs.
It seems strange now that until 2006 Apple computers didn't run on Intel architecture. In practical terms this had performance implications. More importantly, it meant that software makers found it more difficult to port their wares to Macs. You know how Macs are the only computers that run both OS X and Windows? That wouldn't be the case without the move to Intel.
But why the MacBook Pro? Well for one thing the MacBook was and remains a hugely popular and successful product line. But there's more to it than that.
Look at a timeline of Mac models and the Power Mac G[x] and Mac Pro series morphs seamlessly into the MacBook line. MacBooks in many ways replaced desktop Power Macs. The Mac Pro is now the niche product, and the MacBook is the Mac that people buy.
With the MacBook Pro, Apple not only moved on to Intel, but it perfected the move to the portable power of laptops before Windows PC makers did. As Apple does when it works best, the MacBook Pro told the public what it wanted before the public knew it wanted it. And every high-end power laptop that followed owes a debt the MacBook Pro. (See all Mac laptop reviews, and Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display 13-inch (Late 2013) review - Lighter, faster and with the Retina display working well.)
5 Macs that changed everything: 4. The original MacBook Air (2008)
It still surprises me that the iPad has been around only since 2010. The MacBook Air is two years older than Apple's ultra successful tablet, and it is still cutting edge. Head out to a high-street PC store and you'll see rows of expensive 'Ultrabooks'. Nothing wrong with Ultrabooks - the MacBook Air was the template - but they are evidence of how far ahead of its time the MacBook Air was. Intel and Microsoft are only now getting PC makers to catch up with the MacBook Air - and even then via the expedient of paying them to do so.
Indeed you could argue that with the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft has had to resort to building its own computers in order to compete with the MacBook Air. And still, six years on, the MacBook Air is the best thin-and-light laptop there is, offering true portable power in an iconic and beautiful shell. Few computers are so ground-breaking as to invent a category, but our fourth Mac that changed everything is. See also: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro review and Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (2013) review.
5 Macs that changed everything: 5. The new Mac Pro (2013)
Which just about brings us up to date. One problem Apple now has is where to go when it's at the top of the tree. But the new Mac Pro shows that innovation is still at the heart of everything Apple does. It's as powerful a workstation as you could need, but unlike other bulky, ugly power computers, the new Mac Pro is a small and stylish device.
It puts true power into a shell that wouldn't look out of place in any home. And in doing so it offers up a glimpse of the future of the desktop PC. Not a device for every user, but a niche tool for those who need the power. And because this is Apple, being a tool for just a few doesn't mean that the user needs to compromise on design. It's early days, but the Mac Pro could end up being another icon. Find out more in our New Mac Pro review.