Snippet: Apple Shares the Secret of Why the 40-Year-Old Mac Still Rules ☇

Shared on January 22, 2024

Steven Levy for Wired:

On January 24, Apple’s Macintosh computer turns 40. Normally that number is an inexorable milestone of middle age. Indeed, in the last reported sales year, Macintosh sales dipped below $30 billion, more than a 25 percent drop from the previous year’s $40 billion. But unlike an aging person, Macs now are slimmer, faster, and last much longer before having to recharge. […]

My own first exposure to the Macintosh was in late 1983, when I was working on a Rolling Stone feature about the birth of Apple’s new computer. Later, on the 10th anniversary of the launch, I published Insanely Great, a history of the Mac. Not to brag—oh, hell, I’m bragging—but I think I captured the nature of the achievement as well as the oversized character of Steve Jobs, who led the team. Reading it today is a reminder of how the Mac established standards that are now taken for granted.

If you have had any prior experience with personal computers, what you might expect to see is some sort of opaque code, called a “prompt,” consisting of phosphorescent green or white letters on a murky background. What you see with Macintosh is the Finder. On a pleasant, light background, little pictures called “icons” appear, representing choices available to you. A word-processing program might be represented by a pen, while the program that lets you draw pictures might have a paintbrush icon. A file would represent stored documents – book reports, letters, legal briefs and so forth. To see a particular file, you’d move the mouse, which would, in turn, move the cursor to the file you wanted. You’d tap a button on the mouse twice, and the contents of the file would appear on the screen: dark on light, just like a piece of paper.

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