Yes, it was 40 years ago today… that the Apple Macintosh was introduced, although by today’s standards, it looks quite modest: It was a beige, rather boxy-looking device that also came with a keyboard and single-button mouse. On the inside, it included an 8 MHz processor and 128 KB of RAM. There was also a single 400 KB floppy drive for storage and a 512-x-342 pixel black-and-white display.
However, although its physical design might not have been groundbreaking, another aspect of the computer was: It came with a graphical interface, which meant you could interact by using the mouse to click on icons, buttons, and menus. And that was new! Still, by today’s standards, the tech specs for the Macintosh 128K, which can be found on Apple’s website, seem extraordinarily meager.
Yet, according to an article from the BBC, there are some who are still using their Apple Macintosh 128K personal computers.
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One of them is David Blatner, who, in the article states, "A computer that would work for a single person—that was, in itself, mind-boggling." Perhaps not surprisingly, Blatner is president of CreativePro Network, an online resource for creative professionals. What’s also fascinating about Blatner is that he still has “practically every Macintosh computer he ever bought.” But, it’s the Apple Macintosh that, for him, made the biggest impact, and which his parents purchased for him just before heading off to college. It cost them $2,495 (which is the equivalent of $7,366 today)...and he still has the receipt!
Blatner was really taken with the Apple Macintosh. "It had menus, it had folders, it had a graphical user interface, it had a mouse—it was everything I thought a computer ought to be," said Blatner.
The BBC story also includes stories and comments from others who still have a usable Apple Macintosh 128K, which the article also calls "a museum piece." The group includes Lisa McGerty, chief executive of The Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England, which has a functioning 128K. McGerty mentions that this its introduction was revolutionary for those in the publishing and printing industries. The article also mentions Steven Matarazzo, who is a YouTuber and computer collector. Last year, he published a fascinating video about an Apple Macintosh prototype.
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Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.