Macintosh In the past Apple didn’t think so hard about its product names: the Apple I was followed by the Apple II, and Apple III. The Lisa was named after a child, for goodness sake – possibly Steve Jobs’ child but equally possibly one of the engineer’s kids, or maybe a cat. The Macintosh was named after a type (or, more appropriately for a company run by Jobs, a ‘cultivar’) of apple.
Even then, for legal reasons, Apple couldn’t spell it the correct way (McIntosh). Despite Jobs’ attempts to muscle high-end audio equipment-maker McIntosh (I know, I’d never heard of it either), Apple had to jam an ‘a’ in there, in much the same way it now adds an ‘i’ to generic names for things.
Apple no longer names its products after apples or apple-associated people (eg the Newton), or even children – although I’m sure that there are people who name their children after Apple products. But the Macintosh remains, albeit without the folksy ‘intosh’ part these days. And who would have it any other way? Remember that Jobs wanted to call it ‘Bicycle’!
But, for most of us, the Mac is still at the heart of Apple, despite all the iPhones, iPods and iPads in our homes and offices. It wasn’t the first graphical user interface but it rapidly became the best and hasn’t looked back since. Although it quickly lost the lead in terms of sales, the Mac is still the best, most friendly graphical OS that others will forever follow.
MacPaint To put it simply, MacPaint (created by Bill Atkinson) was, and possibly still is, the best application ever on the Macintosh, or any computer for that matter. It worked in black and white only but you could spray paint brick patterns and brush on nets, stripes, spots and things that looked like roof tiles. Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 5.5 can’t do that. The New York Times said that MacPaint “is better than anything else of its kind offered on personal computers by a factor of 10”. Wow.
Macworld The premiere issue of Macworld magazine was released on the very same day as the Macintosh itself. It was handed out to all the attendees at Jobs’ Mac launch event, and featured the great man on its cover – although it very nearly didn’t. Macworld founder David Bunnell got Jobs to agree to star on the cover of issue 1, but Jobs said he could spare only a few moments. After insisting on changes to the shoot he asked photographer Will Mosgrove: “Are you one of those type of photographers who takes dozens of photos hoping one of them will turn out okay? Well, take a picture of this,” Jobs said, holding up his middle finger. Bunnell tells the story of how, two weeks later, Jobs called him to say he no longer wanted to be on the cover. “Too late, the cover is already at the printer and we can’t change it,” bluffed Bunnell, and the fledgling magazine had its scoop.
Magical Much fun is made of the hyperbole in a Jobs and Apple keynote: “great”, “phenomenal”, “tremendous”, “beautiful”, “unbelievable”, “incredible”, “terrific”, “amazing”, “awesome”, and “gorgeous”. But Jobs reached a new high with his description of the iPad as “magical”. That leaves just “holy” left for the introduction of the iPhone 5.
Magnification Effect Apple stripped out the fun sounds from the Mac OS, but in its early days OS X made up for it in pulsating, “lickable” Aqua loveliness. Probably the most amazing wow factor in the brand new system – and unlike most of the Aqua visual elements it survives today – was the Dock’s Magnification Effect. As you move your cursor from one side of the Dock to the other the luscious icons balloon in size, and ripple like a Mexican wave of application appreciation. Back in the early days of Mac OS X all you had to do was moon around with the magnifying Dock to make non-Mac users swoon and look back at their Windows PCs with a certain amount of shame and indignation.
Markkula Armas Clifford Markkula Jr, or Mike for short, was Apple’s most important angel investor at its start. Mike invested $250,000 to become a one-third owner of Apple and employee number three. Initially he was there to provide ‘adult supervision’ to Jobs and Woz, but stayed as Apple chairman from 1985 till 1997. In 1985 he sided with CEO John Sculley to force Jobs out of Apple. Tellingly, he left when Jobs returned.
Microsoft Apple’s arch enemy, nemesis, copyist, lead developer, investor, saviour, and company recently viewed disappearing in Apple’s rear-view mirror.
Motorola Motorola supplied the first processors for Apple PCs from the Lisa’s MC68000 to the PowerPC 7447 in 2005’s PowerBook G4. Even the Apple I’s MOS Technology 6502 was designed by old Motorola chip designers. Motorola also made Apple’s first mobile phone, the very lacklustre ROKR – now trying desperately to be forgotten in the era of the iPhone.
Mouse Apple was the first to take inventor Doug Englebart’s computer mouse seriously, and used it first on the Lisa before it made its name alongside the Macintosh. Apple trialled a four-button mouse before deciding that one button was more user-friendly. While everyone added more buttons on their mice, Apple stuck with one until 2005’s Mighty Mouse, which had left and right capacitive sensors and a dirt-attracting trackball that could be pressed for a click – but no real ‘buttons’ to speak of. The company’s touch-sensitive Magic Trackpad does away with the moving mouse altogether. Multi-button debate over.