January 24, 2014

Snippet: The Mac at 30: Tales from BMUG ☇

Chris Breen and Dan Miller:

And in that early Mac age, no user group was bigger or more important than the Berkeley Macintosh Users Group, known to all as BMUG. Founded in 1986 and lasting for 14 contentious years, it at one point reportedly boasted more than 13,000 users, with satellite groups in Boston and Japan. While the original group formally dissolved in 2000, a smaller group (BMUGWest) still meets. And so, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Mac, Macworld joined the group for dinner after one of its meetings and asked a few of the more senior members to look back over their three decades with the Mac.

BMUG really was a huge deal, especially in the 1990s with plenty of books and CD-ROMs published. For a kid growing up in Indiana, materials from BMUG were one of the best ways to learn about all the things you could do with your Mac.

Snippet: The Mac at 30: John Siracusa’s Thoughts ☇

John Siracusa:

Memories are short in the tech industry. For most people, Apple and Steve Jobs will always be synonymous with the iPhone, an uncontested inflection point in our computing culture. For me, the introduction of the Macintosh will always be more important. Though people who didn’t live through it might not feel it as keenly as I do, the distance between pre-2007 smartphones and the iPhone is much smaller than the distance between MS-DOS and the Mac.

Snippet: The Mac at 30: Apple’s ‘Thirty Years of Mac’ ☇

I’ve always viewed Apple—especially in its current incarnation—as a company that always chose not to talk about the past. Sure, we would see videos of cool things people are doing with iOS devices at the launch of the next version of said device, but the history Apple acknowledges always seems to be within a three year window. In this case, the company surprised a lot of people who shared my expectations and created a microsite not only celebrating the product and everything that people have done with it—the individual model pages give old technology the same modern sales treatment as current Macs, and there’s even a poll about your first machine:

Thirty years ago, Apple introduced the Macintosh with the promise to put the creative power of technology in everyone’s hands. It launched a generation of innovators who continue to change the world. This 30‑year timeline celebrates some of those pioneers and the profound impact they’ve made.

Snippet: The Mac at 30: Apple Execs: ‘The Mac Keeps Going Forever’ ☇

Macworld’s Jason Snell interviewed some of the current Apple execs on the Mac’s thirtieth birthday. I mentioned in our coverage that today’s Macs are really nothing like the original other than sharing some philosophies and ideologies—they’re more like NeXT machines and PCs, but I think Apple has kept the most important ideas at the forefront, as explained by Bud Tribble, Apple’s vice president of software technology, and member of the original Mac team:

An incredible amount of thought and creativity went into the original Mac metaphor…So there are some extremely strong threads of DNA that have lasted for 30 years. The sign of the strength of them and the underlying principles behind them—that the Mac should be easily approachable and learnable by just looking at it, that it should bend to the will of the person and not bend the person’s will to the technology—those underlying threads also apply to our other products.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing speaks about the role iOS and OS X play in Apple’s future:

…There’s a role for the Mac as far as our eye can see. A role in conjunction with smartphones and tablets, that allows you to make the choice of what you want to use. Our view is, the Mac keeps going forever, because the differences it brings are really valuable.

Snippet: The Mac at 30: Celebrate the Mac ☇

Jonathan Zufi commemorated the occasion in photos (via Federico Viticci):

To celebrate Mac’s 30th birthday, I’ve created this micro site for all the world to enjoy. In 2009, I started taking photos of every Apple product ever made since 1976. Then I turned them into a really big photo site. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, and I hope that the Macintosh’s anniversary brings your happy memories of your own experience with Apple. If you like the photos on this site, you might also like my book ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation.

These are excellent high-resolution photos of old hardware, and if you’re like me, it’s a good trip down memory lane.