Archive for the 'Macintosh' Category
As long time readers of VC&G know, I usually post short entries about my non-blog writing activities on this blog so you can enjoy them.
Recently, I've been so engrossed in writing Macworld articles that I have neglected to mention them. Consider that remedied with this handy digest of pieces I've written over the past two months for said Mac-related publication. Conveniently, they all have history angles to them (or else I wouldn't list them here):
- 09-18-2012 - Steve Jobs' Seven Key Decisions
- 10-12-2012 - The Five Weirdest Macs of All Time
- 10-19-2012 - Six of the Rarest Macs
- 10-26-2012 - The Land Before Macs: A Field Guide
- 11-02-2012 - The Apple Family Tree: Apple Platforms …
- 11-16-2012 - The Unexplored History of Translucent Apple Design
- 11-23-2012 - The Unusual World of Mac Prototypes
There's more on the way, so stay tuned to see whether I neglect to mention those here as well. The excitement is palpable!
Yep, the iMac G4 turned 10 this year, and I wanted to write about it. I bought the high-end 800 MHz/SuperDrive model new back in January 2002 (just at launch), and I used it for about five years to do all sorts of casual, media-related things (email/iChat/iMovie/iTunes mostly). It was, and is, a great machine — it's a little slow, but it has always been a joy to use.
You can read my article celebrating the iMac G4 over at Macworld now. I hope you enjoy it.
Microsoft's recent announcement of its Surface tablet line has brought a lot of attention to the history of Microsoft's hardware products. Unfortunately, most accounts of that history are sorely lacking, rarely going beyond Microsoft's involvement in PC peripherals like mice.
I thought I'd remedy that gap in history by digging back into the past and bringing to light a forgotten era of Microsoft hardware — all of which, it just so happens, launched in the 1980s.
The result, "The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware," is now live over at PCMag.com. I hope you enjoy it.
25 years ago this March (1987), Apple released the Macintosh II, the first open architecture Macintosh. Naturally, I've written a short feature about this pioneering machine over at Macworld.
While speaking with Michael Dhuey, the Apple engineer that conceived the Mac II, I learned that Apple patterned the Mac II after the 1977 Apple II, which sported the same sort of flexibility and expandability as the Mac II. That self-referential influence amazed me — especially coming from a company that recently institutionalized the practice of ignoring its own history.
But only two years after Steve Jobs resigned from Apple, the company had no problem making the un-Jobs move of both looking backward and opening up the Macintosh. The result changed the course of Macintosh history.
In the lost era between Jobs (1985-1996), Apple produced many strange and ill-fated products. Here we see an ad for eWorld, Apple's subscription dial-up online service that launched in June 1994.
eWorld offered proprietary features like message forums, email, weather, news, and other information in a fashion similar to CompuServe, Prodigy, or AOL. It also provided an early consumer portal to the Internet.
Due to its high price ($8.95 per month plus $7.90 per hour from 6 AM to 6 PM on weekdays), poor marketing, and the fact that the World Wide Web was breathing down its neck, eWorld never really took off. Apple shut down the service in March 1996.
By the way, Happy New Year!
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever use a subscription online service? Which one(s)?
Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod to the world. Many people didn't know what to think. It would take a little time for idea of the iPod to sink in, so to speak, but once it did, it did so in a very big way.
I first encountered the iPod shortly after its 2001 launch at a local Circuit City. Its simple white scroll wheel stared at me from across the room like a giant eye that had just opened for the first time. Yep, it got my attention. A ring-shaped kiosk in the middle of the room held iPods projected upwards, each player perched on a security rod, restricted, but available for public tinkering.
I walked up to it and touched it, ran my fingers across the front and spun the wheel. It was almost insultingly intuitive to a gadget freak like myself. It worked, and it was obvious that everyone would know how to use it almost immediately after picking it up.
Before playing with the iPod, I was skeptical of the device — like just about everyone else. But after touching it, I knew that the future of music consumption wore an Apple logo. By God, I wanted one. Bad.
Three Articles about iPod
So here we are, ten years later. The iPod unquestionably shook up the world. How should we mark the anniversary? Well, to start, I have written three pieces about the iPod for this exact occasion. I'll go through them below.
- The Birth of the iPod - In this piece over at Macworld, I take a look at the origins of the first iPod — how it was created, by whom, and why. I owe great thanks to Tony Fadell for sharing his time to talk about the iPod's creation, and to Steven Levy and Leander Kaheney, whose previous works on the iPod also provided invaluable sources for my article.
Despite those sources, this is not some iPod creation rehash. In fact, it puts together a number of disparate information sources for the first time. And thanks to my interview with Fadell, you'll definitely learn some new tidbits about the birth of the iPod.
- iPod Oddities - In which I continue my long-running Technologizer-hosted Oddities series by examining weird accessories, art, and history related to the iPod. Fun stuff, as always. Don't miss the iPod ballistics calculator.
- The iPod as an Iconic Cultural Force - Also at Macworld, this piece openly muses about how the iPod changed our culture, the music industry, and the world around us.
I wish I could say that I wrote more (ha), but you'll have to be satisfied with that — oh, and all the other iPod tributes you'll find on the web in the next few days.
Happy birthday, iPod.
Discussion Topic of the Anniversary: What did you think about the iPod when you first heard about it? Did your opinion change after you actually used it?
Apple included corporate logo stickers like this with just about every computer sold by the company from the Apple II era (late 1970s) up to at least the iMac G4 (2002) — the last time I noticed one. This particular sticker came packaged with a 1983 Apple IIe.
The stickers changed over time, of course. At first, the font switched from Motter Tektura (seen here) to Apple Garamond in the mid-1980s. The last Apple sticker I own, from 2002, simply consists of a solid white Apple logo, no text.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Steve Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO last Wednesday. What do you think will happen to Apple without him?