Hair Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Woz) were both once very hairy, sporting beards and wayward head hair. When you work in a dusty garage nobody’s going to march you to the barbers. And when you run a multi-billion dollar business, the clippers aren’t mentioned either. Woz has remained consistently hairy, while Jobs has toyed with his barnet depending on the latest fashion: 1970s Steve was much hairier than clean-cut 1980s and 1990s Steve. A beard – this time in grey – returned between 2003-6, but the once-luxurious hair had started thinning on his return to Apple in 1997. In comparison Bill Gates has stuck with his boyish, hairless chin from the very start and has a hairstyle so boring it’s impossible to recall.
Happy Mac Many of Apple’s best icons were dumped on the introduction of Mac OS X and its fancy pulsating glow icons, but perhaps the greatest loss was the Happy Mac. When you started up a Mac pre-OS X the bootup icon was a little Mac with a broad grin, accompanied by a musical chord. Designed by chief Mac iconist Susan Kare, the Happy Mac icon showed that booting had begun successfully. Its evil twin, the Sad Mac, would appear if there was a hardware problem. The Sad Mac had its own little tune, known cheerfully as ‘The Chimes Of Death’.
The Happy Mac got some colour in its little cheeks when Apple moved over to PowerPC processors, and later System 7.5 Happy Macs ditched the original Mac case for a wider two-sided blue grinning face.
The Happy Mac outlived the Sad Mac icon, but still only made it as far as Mac OS X 10.1 – although it had a zombie-like existence in various logos until 2006’s Universal logo finally punched its cheery lights out.
Headphones Apple gets slammed for the average audio quality of its iPod/iPhone earbuds, but its iconic white earbuds are the world’s most popular, and third-party headphone makers should thank Apple every single day for not making them the best.
Hertzfeld Andy Hertzfeld was one of the main developers of the original Mac system software. His Apple business card stated simply: ‘Software Wizard’.
Homebrew Computer Club With all their hair (see above), tubby tummies and ‘Live with Mum’ status, 1970s hardcore computer geeks resembled real ale enthusiasts. It’s little surprise then that a bunch of them called their club The Homebrew Computer Club. In the absence of ready-made PCs – let alone tech emporia like the Apple Store – bands of sweaty techies would meet up in Menlo Park in the San Francisco Bay Area to trade parts and share tips on making their own computers.
The first meeting was held in March 1975 in a garage, when founder Gordon French showed off the first Altair microcomputer that had been sent for review by the People’s Computer Company. Later meetings were held at the much more impressive-sounding Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
Steve Jobs and Woz were both Homebrew regulars, although one can imagine Jobs lambasting the DIY PC makers for not making their computers beautiful enough. The Apple I was demonstrated at the Homebrew Club in April 1976.
HP Apple has a close but strained relationship with Hewlett-Packard. As a high school student, Steve Jobs had the front to ask HP president William Hewlett for electronic parts he needed for a class project. Hewlett was impressed enough to offer him a summer job at HP – where Jobs met Wozniak, with whom he’d later set up Apple. In 1988 Apple tried to sue HP for $5.5 billion for stealing ideas from the Mac graphical user interface. All was forgiven by 1997 when HP rebadged its DeskJet printers as Apple’s last ever StyleWriter inkjets.
Hockey Puck As with the average headphones, Apple is laughed at for its one-button mice. But 1998’s iMac came with an object of utter derision, the ‘Hockey Puck’ mouse that was as unergonomic as a frozen mini pizza.
Hurricane Most of us are unaware that as soon as a company develops some fantastic new computer or gadget, it starts to think about how it can be replaced – not just upgraded, but replaced, killed off, junked, binned, put out with the milk bottles. Apple has a long history of absolute failure in this endeavour – remember C is for Copland, Macworld, December 2010.
More extreme than replacing the operating system was an Apple plan to design a new computer to end the Mac. I know, it’s unthinkable, isn’t it? I mean we’d have to rename Macworld, for God’s sake.
In 1989 Apple began a project called Jaguar that was intended to be the Mac’s replacement, running on faster RISC processors. This didn’t go down well with Apple’s army of Mac engineers and eventually it was dropped in favour of a plan to get the Mac itself onto RISC. This was Project Hurricane – which was meant to be the saviour of the Mac and the whole of Apple. Of course, it was an abject failure. Luckily a much smaller group codenamed PDM (for Piltdown Man) did manage to get the Mac onto RISC and the resulting PowerPC Mac kept the Mac and Apple in business.