Apple's most iconic computer hits an important milestone today — The Macintosh 128K turns 40 years old

Apple Macintosh 128K with insanely great on the display
(Image credit: Apple)

Forty years ago today, one of the most iconic home computers ever was released and it helped cement Apple as the tech giant it is today. 

On January 24, 1984, the Apple Macintosh 128K was introduced to the market — an all-in-one computer with a whopping 128 KB of RAM weighing in at 7.5KG. It ran Apple’s own System Software 1.0 OS and was equipped with a beefy Motorola 68000 CPU. In raw power, today’s cheapest M1 MacBook Air has about 62,500 times the amount of RAM found in the 128K. 

It sold for $2,495, which equates to around $7,000 now — the price of an M3 Max MacBook, iPhone 15 Pro Max, M2 iPad Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and an Apple Watch Ultra 2 with enough change for some accessories 

Iconic from the start

Just a few days prior to the 128K’s launch, Apple ran its iconic '1984’ homage trailer, directed by Ridley Scott, at the Superbowl XVIII. In it, Anya Major, an English athlete sprinted at a screen with a hammer, taking down a totalitarian force. That same trailer was then sardonically flipped on its head by Epic Games for its lawsuit against the Mac creator. 

The Macintosh 128K is also iconic in its look due to the small box behind the display, that very chunky keyboard, and the rectangular singular-button mouse. It was even parodied just last year with a gorgeous USB-C hub. When you turned the 128K on, it simply displayed “Hello”, which was referenced in clothing just last November. From a great Steve Jobs-led keynote and a very convenient all-in-one design, the 128k shows many of the slick and stylish features that Apple became world famous for. 

The 128K replaced the Apple Lisa and was succeeded by the Macintosh 512K just 8 months later, an equally iconic machine. 

Today, Apple says the Mac continues to push the boundaries of computing, helping people to create their life's best work. The company has also made the graphic displayed above to celebrate. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.