In the olden days, before 1984, not very many people used computers....
April 26, 2006 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Apple Computer 1984 Newsweek Advertising Insert :: a complete scan of Apple's 16-page advertising insert in Newsweek magazine, introducing the new and revolutionary Macintosh computer.
posted by anastasiav (55 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hey, who's that nerd on the left?
posted by MrZero at 8:52 AM on April 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

I remember how excited I was to get a Mac Plus...
Check out the photo of Bill Gates.
posted by mert at 8:53 AM on April 26, 2006

Fffeh. My computer is way better than that.
posted by mazola at 8:54 AM on April 26, 2006

"With Macintosh's unlimited graphics, there'll soon be no limit to the games it can play."

So much for the psychic powers of Chiat Day.
posted by illovich at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2006

I always enjoy these old ads. They make me realize how much of my everyday computer use I take for granted.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:04 AM on April 26, 2006

I particularly like this bit:

"Some mice have two buttons. Macintosh has one. So it's extremely difficult to press the wrong button."

That's one way of justifying it, I suppose. But like Dr-Baa said, it is pretty neat to see how so many basic features we all take for granted now were revolutionary back then. Cool stuff.
posted by adamp88 at 9:09 AM on April 26, 2006

The part where it has to explain what a mouse is and how it works just blows my mind.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:12 AM on April 26, 2006

I like how this page now seems wonderfully condescending and pissy.
posted by Peter H at 9:14 AM on April 26, 2006

Holy crap. Bill Gates looks like a teen and Mitch Kapor looks like a young guy. I used to work outside of Mitch's office in SF the last couple years and I definitely think of him as an "old guy" now.
posted by mathowie at 9:14 AM on April 26, 2006

illovich: "So much for the psychic powers of Chiat Day."

There are greater and lesser inifinities.
posted by Plutor at 9:16 AM on April 26, 2006

Sloooow... But worth it!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 9:18 AM on April 26, 2006

This keyboard had such a great clicking sound when you typed.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:18 AM on April 26, 2006

Okay, I just got to the part about the conveneince of being less than 20 pounds and started laughing out loud at my desk.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:20 AM on April 26, 2006

Anyone know what it retailed for?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:25 AM on April 26, 2006

Man, this brings back memories. I got one of these in 1984 just before graduating college: 128K (yes, K) of RAM, built in monochrome 10" monitor, dot-matrix printer, MS word 1.0. The funny part is it cost about the same as my current Mac, a quad-core G5 with 4 GB of RAM and a 30 inch cinema display. Truly amazing how far computers have come.
posted by TedW at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2006

Anyone know what it retailed for?

My parents got a Tandy 1000HX from RadioShack in dpring of 1987 and I remember hearing them talk about how they paid close to two thousand dollars for it and all the accessories. They had to buy the extension card leter to bump the system RAM to over 640K so we could run Space Quest 3.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:27 AM on April 26, 2006

$2500, if I remember correctly.

The vision had originally been a $999 computer with all the Mac's capabilities, but RAM and ROM costs, amusingly enough, helped drive the price up. The infamous superbowl ad and the splash it made added an eventual $500 or so to the final price of the thing.

One has to wonder what kind of splash it would've made at the original 'dream' price point.
posted by verb at 9:28 AM on April 26, 2006

On preview, DieHipspterDie, I think my entire set-up was about $8000.00. And that was with the educational discount. I did get what few extras were available, though, such as external disc drive, carrying case, and a couple of other things.
posted by TedW at 9:28 AM on April 26, 2006

DieHipsterDie: $2499, or, in 2005 dollars, $4434.88. It was planned to be $999, but so much for that.
posted by zsazsa at 9:30 AM on April 26, 2006

Yes! The shoe in their cut'n'paste demo is called the Zapata.
posted by thecjm at 9:31 AM on April 26, 2006

Wow, I guess Apple's advertising hasn't actually changed all that much...they still love the series of pictures showing how easy it is to get from an idea to the final result, and varying angles on the hardware.

Thanks for the reminder!
posted by jdfalk at 9:31 AM on April 26, 2006

It was indeed $2495, and the Imagewriter dot matrix printer was another $495. I worked at an Apple retailer at the time, and Apple offered us a mega-special deal, the Own-a-Mac program, which was $1000 for the Mac and Imagewriter, and a ton of coupons for really cheap software (I seem to recall that Microsoft Multiplan was $15). I immediately bough the external disk drive, and was in hog heaven. Ah, the memories.
posted by dbiedny at 9:34 AM on April 26, 2006

here's a huge collection of old Apple ads.
posted by hypocritical ross at 9:52 AM on April 26, 2006

Someone remind me to call my next project "ZipChip 5000."
posted by aparrish at 10:00 AM on April 26, 2006

Man, it's a great computer, but don't pop one, OK?

verb: the ad cost $750,000 to make and $1 million to air, and amortized across the 50,000 units sold in the first quarter, that's about $35 per. Still, insiders say that Sculley pushed the price from $1995 to $2495 to support a larger marketing budget.
posted by dhartung at 10:09 AM on April 26, 2006

And not a Mac/PC flame on the thread. What a peaceful, Edenic world this has become!
posted by kozad at 10:16 AM on April 26, 2006

For many, many years, the computer you really wanted at any given time was in the $3000-$3500 range. This was true up until, oh, probably about 2000 or so, when they finally started turning into commodities.

You could always spend more or less, but in general, spending less was cutting corners, and spending more was getting into professional-level stuff. $3000 was the sweet spot.

Nowadays, it's, what, $1250 or so?
posted by Malor at 10:18 AM on April 26, 2006

I kept that ad, just to salivate over when I was in junior high—then I'd go over and pet my C64 and feed it a carrot.
posted by eener at 10:19 AM on April 26, 2006

Ahhh, the memories. Daddy brought one home in late 1984. The printer, too. I still remember going through the training program with the audio tapes.
posted by pmbuko at 10:22 AM on April 26, 2006

This is fun. I like how on Page 5 everybody seems to be squinting and leaning to see the postage-stamp screen.

Page 5 is also where we learn that you can take your Macintosh for a cab ride, out onto the quad to keep you company while you read, and on bicycle trips! Oh what fun you'll have with your Mac!
posted by veggieboy at 10:22 AM on April 26, 2006

I want one.
posted by spock at 10:47 AM on April 26, 2006

You can, spock - at about the price of a dinner out. Dinner for 6 for a colour version.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:27 AM on April 26, 2006

Now, the Banana 6000 Jr. with tint control!
posted by keswick at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2006

I wonder how many times they had to try with that VCR-sized mouse to get that "hello." to come out all nice like that.
posted by redteam at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2006

redteam, they probably did it a pixel at a time.

When the Mac came out, I was using a monitor even smaller than that.... I was using a tiny portable television, I'd guess 7 or 8 inches diagonally, on a TI 99/4A.

That so-called "postage-stamp screen" was luxury! Luxury, I tell ya! Huge! Glorious! Much to be envied.

Now, you kids git off my lawn.
posted by Malor at 11:49 AM on April 26, 2006

I've seen the future... and it's beige.
posted by penguin pie at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2006

Now, you kids git off my lawn.

Your tiny, low-res, poor-contrast lawn, where the grass takes forever to grow due to the slow refresh rate.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:48 PM on April 26, 2006

"Now, the Banana 6000 Jr. with tint control!"

Aw, yeah. With Bananawrite, Bananadraw, Bananafile, and Bananamanager.*

*Warning: Actually typing "bananamanager" may cause permanent finger damage.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:20 PM on April 26, 2006

I looked at the photo on page 3. The I turned around and compared it to the Mac sitting on my shelf.

Looks the same to me. Mac Plus Model# M0001A.

Needs a mouse, but other than that it still seems to work fine.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:43 PM on April 26, 2006

To think that I actually used to get excited about a new computer...gee, where has the magic gone?
posted by pax digita at 2:12 PM on April 26, 2006

The crazy thing is knowing someone had to draw this by hand, most likely...
posted by delmoi at 4:49 PM on April 26, 2006

Macintosh? Meh. That was a newfangled thing with all the bells and whistles. Was I the only person who owned one of these?
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:31 PM on April 26, 2006

Wow...misty water color memories.
posted by Sassenach at 5:41 PM on April 26, 2006

So I just realized that I paid the same for my first Mac as I just paid for my MacBook Pro. Well, $4 more.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:46 PM on April 26, 2006

TI 99/4A! Now there's a system design.

Marketed as a "16-bit" machine, it actually did contain a 16-bit processor (the TMS9900) in contrast to the 8-bit processors (mostly Z80 or 6502) used in competing machines. Unfortunately, that (actually rather nice) CPU had only 256 bytes (!) of RAM directly available.

Most of the 32K (!) RAM in the 99/4A was video RAM on a completely separate bus, accessible to the CPU only via an explicit "write address to one port, read or write data to another" code sequence - a technique also used in assorted Nintendo games boxes.

The processor was totally dedicated to running an interpreter for an intermediate bytecode called GPL (Graphics Programming Language). GPL code lived in video RAM. The inbuilt BASIC interpreter was written in GPL, and seemed to run at about three or four BASIC statements per second.

As the proud owner of an Apple ][+ (with the optional Language Card to take it to a massive 64K RAM) I used to look at my mate's ultra-slow 99/4A and giggle a lot.

He had it decked out, though - enough expansion boxes to make it stretch halfway across his desk...
posted by flabdablet at 6:08 PM on April 26, 2006

UseyurBrain, you are not alone. I too had that little Synclair 1000, along with the 16kb upgrade cartridge that all too easily got wiggled out while coding BASIC.

I'd like to say, "ah, those were the days", but those days totally sucked. (middle school, Reagan, nuclear brinkmanship, etc...)
posted by tritisan at 6:26 PM on April 26, 2006

"Was I the only person who owned one of these?"

Guilty as charged. Also a PET 2001-8N.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:30 PM on April 26, 2006

Nowadays, it's, what, $1250 or so?

No, still $2000-$3000 I'd say. That would be 2x7800's with a dual-core pentium, 2-3 GB ram, case, SATA HD, etc. That's the "computer you really want" for now.

You can get a solid one now for that $1250, but its hardly top of the line. Hell, just getting the 2 7800's for the SLI setup will be over $1000, just for graphics card(s).


My first computer was a TRS-80, which I never really liked. After that I got my C64, which I loved so much my next upgrade was a 386-16. Not because we couldn't afford a new one sooner, but because I loved the Commie so much I didn't want to switch to Intel. After that, I upgraded every year or two, but I had that C64 for 8 years or so. By the end it was pretty sweet for what it was, had a hard drive and GEOS and everything.

I never liked Macs. I guess because they had Apple/Macs at school, and school computers were usually pieces of crap that had shitty software, so I had bad associations with Apple.

I suppose that's exactly the opposite of what they hoped when they gave away computers to schools so cheap. But it probably worked better for the majority of kids who didn't also have computers at home.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:40 PM on April 26, 2006

If I worked in Apple's marketing branch, I think I would have to find interesting ways to keep dragging out the Bill Gates quote and picture every few years...
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:44 PM on April 26, 2006

I never owned a PET, but it was one of the first computers I ever wrote code for (the other was an Exidy Sorcerer). Both of these were shop display computers (the PET in Myer's department store in Melbourne, the Exidy at Dick Smith Electronics in Richmond). Me and my mate used to take our own cassettes with us and spend hours writing little programs on these things.

Eventually our favourite sales guy at Myers must have been instructed to get rid of us, because one day he told us that the PET wasn't working any more because the "cursor was broken".

That square PET keyboard really did suck, didn't it?
posted by flabdablet at 6:47 PM on April 26, 2006

Malor: I still expect to spend about $3k on a computer. I just expect a hell of a lot more computer.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:16 PM on April 26, 2006

Looks the same to me. Mac Plus Model# M0001A.

Almost, but not exactly. The Apple logo on the original Mac is a small rectangular insert, while it's molded into the case on the Mac Plus. The original Macintosh only said "Macintosh" on the back of the case, while the Plus says "Macintosh Plus" on the front between the logo and the disk drive. Finally, and least trivially, the Mac Plus keyboard has a number pad, while the original Macintosh keyboard does not.

Please forgive me for this ridiculous display of pedantry; I spent countless hours staring at the Macintosh which was my family's first computer, twenty years ago, and then at the Mac Plus that replaced it, and still remember both machines fondly.

I could go on about the differences between the 64k and 128k ROMs, the introduction of the SCSI driver, the differences between MFS and HFS, and the peculiarities of the Mini-DIN-8/RS422 versus DB-9/RS232 serial ports, but by now I'm boring even myself.

posted by Mars Saxman at 9:46 PM on April 26, 2006

from the last page:

"Soon there will be two kinds of people. Those who use computers. And those who use Apples."

so true...
posted by punkbitch at 8:03 AM on April 27, 2006

I really enjoyed this. As I was born in 1981, I'm too young to remember the introduction of the Macintosh - but I do remember that the first one my family owned still included a training program designed to teach you how to use a mouse.
posted by emmastory at 9:03 AM on April 27, 2006

Man, I dunno what you guys are talking about with this 1250 and 2-3000 dollar stuff.

You can build a VERY solid computer for ~$750 US.

$50 case with 450w psu

$115 - mobo with sata raid, 6 channel audio, 1000mb ethernet, etc.

$100 - Athlon/Opteron 64 proc

$175 - 2 1gig sticks ram

$30 - decent wifi card

$150 - middle range video card with dvi out, dual monitors, tv out, etc

$120 - 300gig sata hd
posted by stenseng at 11:05 AM on April 27, 2006

« Older Wednesday Flash Design Fun   |   50th birthday of the shipping container Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments