Technology A quick look back at the launch of the Apple Macintosh 40 years ago today


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Apr 24, 2016
Just a few days ago, Apple started taking pre-orders for its latest hardware product, the Vision Pro mixed reality headset. While that device has certainly received a lot of press and attention already, it didn't come close to the huge launch of what is likely Apple's single most important hardware product in its history.

That happened 40 years ago today, on January 24, 1984, with the release of the Apple Macintosh. It was considered a revolution in PC design at the time, as it integrated a PC with a monitor and Apple's graphical user interface.

The hardware specs of the Macintosh were, of course, well below the PCs, or even smartphones, that are available today. if you are curious, EveryMac has all the hardware details. The first Macintosh included an 8MHz 68000 processor, 128K of RAM that could be updated up to 512K via an authorized Apple reseller, 64K of ROM, a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, and a monochrome 9-inch 512 x 342 monitor. It even had a built-in handle for people to hold and transport the 16.5-pound PC.

The Macintosh was also sold with its own keyboard and a mouse and it included an extra port in the back for any external disk drives you wanted to connect. It also had two additional serial ports in the back to connect other peripherals to the PC like a printer, a modem, and more.

At the time graphical user interfaces for PCs were a rarity (Microsoft's first Windows OS would not go on sale until over a year later in November 1985). The release of Apple's new PC helped to popularize operating systems with GUIs and the use of a mouse to interact with the interface.

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