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The One That Started it All – The Original 1984 Macintosh

The One That Started it All – The Original 1984 Macintosh

The last few days, we’ve taken a look at a few of the iconic Macs from over the years, including the iMac G3, and the iMac G4. Now, it’s the 31st birthday of the original Macintosh, and in the final edition of our series, we take a look back at the original model that started it all.

The One That Started it All - The Original 1984 Macintosh
“Macintosh 128k transparency” by w:User:Grm wnr – Modifications of Image:Macintosh 128k.jpg and w:Image:Macintosh 128k No Text.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Macintosh originally boasted 128K of RAM, and was powered by a Motorola 68000 processor, running at almost 8MHz. The Macintosh’s beige case housed a 9-inch Black and White monitor, along with the motherboard, and a 3 1/2-inch floppy drive. The Macintosh originally sold for $2,495 USD.

The centerpiece of the machine was a Motorola 68000 microprocessor running at 7.8336 MHz, connected to 128 KB RAM shared by the processor and the display controller. The boot procedure and some operating system routines were contained in an additional 64 KB ROM chip.

The built-in display was a one-bit black-and-white, 9-inch CRT with a fixed resolution of 512×342 pixels.

The Macintosh contained a single 400 KB, single-sided 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, dedicating no space to other internal mechanical storage.

Introduced to the world via the famous “1984” Super Bowl commercial, sales of the new machine were initially strong, reaching 70,000 units sold by May 1984.

Almost immediately following the release of the Macintosh 128K, Apple realized their new marvel needed more internal memory. On September 10th, 1984 the company debuted the Macintosh 512K boasting a full four times the RAM of the original.

The larger memory capacity of the 512K allowed the Macintosh to become a more capable business machine, with the ability to run more software.

The original Macintosh keyboard had no arrow keys, function keys, or a numeric keypad. Apple decided to omit these keys from the Macintosh keyboard, as these keys were common on other computing platforms, and the company was worried the presence of such keys might only encourage developers to simply port software over to the new machine, in the place of designing new apps around the Mac’s GUI interface. Apple would later include such keys on later models.

The original Mac included a single button mouse. Standard headphones could be connected to a monaural sound jack.

The unit did not include a cooling fan, a decision by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs insisted that the computer ship without a fan in order to make it more quiet in its operation. No Macintosh would contain a cooling fan until the introduction of the Macintosh SE in 1987.

The original Macintosh was unusual in that it included the signatures of the employees in the Macintosh Division as of early 1982 molded on the inside of the case. The names included were” Peggy Aleixo, Colette Askeland, Bill Atkinson, Steve Balog, Bob Belleville, Mike Boich, Bill Bull, Matt Carter, Berry Cash, Debbie Coleman, George Crow, Donn Denman, Christopher Espinosa, Bill Fernandez, Martin Haeberli, Andy Hertzfeld, Joanna Hoffman, Rod Holt, Bruce Horn, Hap Horn, Brian Howard, Steve Jobs, Larry Kenyon, Patti King, Daniel Kottke, Angeline Lo, Ivan Mach, Jerrold Manock, Mary Ellen McCammon, Vicki Milledge, Mike Murray, Ron Nicholson Jr, Terry Oyama, Benjamin Pang, Jef Raskin, Ed Riddle, Brian Robertson, Dave Roots, Patricia Sharp, Burrell Smith, Bryan Stearns, Lynn Takahashi, Guy (Bud) Tribble, Randy Wigginton, Linda Wilkin, Steve Wozniak, Pamela Wyman, and Laszlo Zidek.

The One That Started it All - The Original 1984 Macintosh
“Apple Macintosh 128Kb naked” by Carlos Pérez Ruiz – originally posted to Flickr as Apple Macintosh 128Kb naked. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Macintosh shipped with the very first System and Finder application, known to the public as “System 1.0” (formally known as System 0.97, Finder 1.0). The original Macintosh saw three upgrades to both before it was discontinued.

The applications MacPaint and MacWrite were bundled with the Mac, while other programs available at introduction included MacProject, MacTerminal, and Microsoft Word.

MacTrast would like to thank YouTube user Canoopsy, who put together the video shown in this article. He did a great job on the video, which he recorded using only the camera on his iPhone 6 Plus. He has supplied us with video for our series on Apple’s iconic computers. Be sure to visit Canoopsy’s YouTube page for more great videos.

We’d also like to thank Wikipedia for the information about the original Macintosh. If you have any corrections or additional information about the original Macintosh that you’d like to share with us, please email chris@mactrast.com.