[ Retro Scan of the Week ] African American Apple Fans

February 4th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Multiracial Black African American Apple Fans Apple PowerBook Advertisement 1992One big happy family — and a PowerBook (click to see entire ad)

It's Black History Month once again in the US, so I thought it would be timely to share this Apple PowerBook advertisement from 1992.

The ad appeared in the February issue of Smithsonian Magazine; I don't think it is a coincidence that it prominently featured people of African decent. It also prominently featured the PowerBook 100, which had just been introduced a few months prior in October 1991.

The obvious racial focus of this ad brings to my mind a couple of interesting, if racially-charged questions: What percentage of black Americans, historically, have used Apple products versus other computer brands? Do African Americans, like other demographic groups, have their computer or tech brands of choice?

Today, Apple is such a mainstream company that the answer to the first question is most certainly larger than it likely was in the pre-iPod era. It would be interesting from a cultural standpoint to peek back into private demographic customer studies that Apple no doubt commissioned at various points in its history.

As for an answer to the second question, I have no idea. But I would love to hear from African American computer users to find out.

[ From Smithsonian Magazine, February 1992, p.10-11 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite PowerBook model?

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[ Retro GIF of the Week ] The Smithsonian's Apple I

January 18th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Apple I Smithsonian 1992 Retro GIFClick to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ]

You're looking at a photograph of an Apple I computer that currently resides in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. It was on display at one point, but I believe it is not being displayed at the moment (feel free to correct me on that).

I downloaded this 256-color GIF image from CompuServe back in 1994 (judging by the file date). I think it came from the Archive Photos forum, but I am not 100% sure about that. Either way, it's a nice photo, and if you see it floating around the Internet, it's likely because I first posted it on VC&G in 2006.

As you may know the Apple I (which was officially titled "Apple Computer 1″ on the circuit board and "Apple-1″ in its manual) did not ship with a case. The wooden enclosure you see here was created by early Apple employee Randy Wigginton's father. It's interesting how it presages the design of the Apple II enclosure to some extent.

[ Wondering what a GIF is? Read the introduction to this column. ]

Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box
Source File Name: APPLEI.GIF
Source File Date: August 20, 1994
Source File Format: GIF - 89a (non-interlaced)
Dimensions: 640 x 480 pixels
Color Depth
(bits per pixel):
8-bit (256 color)
Origin Platform: Unknown
Derived From: Scanned photograph
Creation Date: 1992
Artist: Smithsonian Institute
If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.

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