30 years ago, on 24 January 1984, Apple launched the original Mac. Apple is celebrating the occasion with a stunning 'Happy Birthday, Mac' website complete with an interactive timeline, fascinating Mac data and a video that highlights how far the Mac has come in those 30 years.

By visiting Apple's website today, you can watch the company's Mac 30 video (above), which demonstrates how important the Mac is, and has always been, for creatives and professionals and speculates about the Mac's future.

After watching the video, you'll be taken to Apple's 30-years webpage, where you can explore the Mac Timeline from 1984 to present day. Each year is tied to a particular model and a prestigious personality who used that model to create something groundbreaking.

The people featured include:

Original Photoshop co-developer and visual effects guru John Knoll.
The Sandman cover artist, writer and filmmaker Dave McKean.
Design legend David Carson (best known for causing a stir by replacing all of the words in a "boring" interview with Bryan Ferry in Raygun magazine with a symbols font).
Data visualisation designer and Felton Report creator Nicolas Felton.

Also included are Korean typographer Ahn Sang-soo, designer (and current president of the Rhode Island School of Design) John Maeda, The Lion King composer Hans Zimmer, vegan musician Moby, photographer Nick Knight, and CodeAcademy founders Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski.

Apple is also inviting visitors to share stories about their first Mac. "However you discovered the Mac, we'd love to hear about it. Because your story is our story. Add your experience to those of other Mac users around the world and help chronicle where Mac has been and what it's been up to for the past 30 years."

Once you've shared your story, you'll see the data that Apple has collected so far through its website, which we found quite insightful. At time of writing, the most common Mac selected as visitors' first Mac is the Macintosh 512Ke from 1986. In 1984, the most common use for the Mac was education and teaching, but that's changed to internet and email 30 years later.

We've created our own timeline and video to celebrate 30 years of the Mac, which you can watch here.

The birth of the Mac

The original Mac retailed for $2,495, and Apple said at the time: "Users tell Macintosh what to do simply by moving a "mouse" – a small pointing device – to select among functions listed in menus and represented by pictorial symbols on the screen." Just reading that sentence demonstrates how much has changed in 30 years.

It cost Apple a total of $78 million to develop the original Mac, which was introduced to an excited audience at the company's annual shareholder meeting on its launch day.

"Many of us have been working on Macintosh for over two years now and it has turned out insanely great," Jobs said as he prepared to show off the Macintosh for the first time. "Until now, you've just seen some pictures of Macintosh. Now I'd like to show you Macintosh in person."

He then unveiled the Macintosh from beneath a canvas bag on the table beside him. After demonstrating some of Macintosh's capabilities, Jobs said: "Today, for the first time ever, I'd like to let the Macintosh speak for itself."

Jobs pressed a key and the Macintosh said in a synthesized voice: "Hello. I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I'd like to share with you a thought that occurred to me the first time I met an IBM mainframe: Never trust a computer you can't lift. But right now I'd like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who has been like a father to me, Steve Jobs."

The original Mac was about 35 cm tall and weighed about 7.5kg, or 10kg when placed in its carrying case. It wasn’t until September 1989 that the Macintosh Portable was launched. This cost $6,500 and was 10cm thick and weighed almost as much as the original Mac did.

5 Macs that changed everything

As for software, the original Mac shipped with System 1.0 (the first System and Finder application), the word processing tool MacWrite and the drawing tool MacPaint.