Some Facts About the Mac

Ransom Riggs

It was 26 years ago today that Apple's first Macintosh computer was announced to the world, via a still-famous commercial directed by Ridley Scott and aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. It's called, appropriately, 1984, and if you haven't seen it, it's pretty nifty:

It was also around this time that Steve Jobs demoed the first Macintosh for an audience (in what would in years to come be known as his Macworld keynote address), and the ecstatic reaction of the crowd to such things as scrolling text, the first iteration of MacPaint, and some very robot-y sounding text-to-speech software, is telling. So is Jobs' face at the end -- he looks like he's about to weep from joy.

The original Mac came bundled with MacWrite and MacPaint, though at first there wasn't a lot of other software available. Apple spent much of the next year pushing the heck out of their new flagship, and marketing promotions included buying every page of advertising in the November issue of Newsweek and offering customers a 24-hour tryout period, where those paying with credit cards could return their Mac if they weren't satisfied. The most shocking thing about the original Mac, though, might have been its price tag -- $2,495, or about $5,000 today adjusting for inflation. (Actually, scratch that -- the most shocking thing might be the amount of inflation we've had!)