The first Apple computer to carry the ‘Macintosh’ nameplate rolled off the assembly line 25 years ago this week… The Mac has seen may changes since then, some revolutionary, others merely evolutionary. And Apple, today, is about a lot more than computers. In fact, industry observers agree that its the iPod and iPhone that are now the company’s most important products. Coincidentally, it’s also the anniversary of the first issue of Macworld magazine.


A young Steve Jobs and a flock of original Macs, from the first issue
of Macworld magazine (Photo: Macworld)

As Macworld’s Jason Snell reports, “With the iPhone, especially, we see the company changing the way people use cell phones and other handheld devices. And here, 25 years later, the Mac is more successful than it has ever been. Apple sold more Macs in the last year than it has in a single year ever before, and sales are accelerating.”

That statement, while true, doesn’t take into account the overall growth in the personal computer market, in which Apple remains a niche player based on unit sales.

But Snell remains as optimistic as any lifelong Mac fan can be:

“As for where Apple goes next, I think we all have a pretty good idea. Apple is going to continue going by the playbook that has served it in good stead since the day it was founded: combining innovative hardware and software in a seamless package. The truth of the matter is, Apple has succeeded by realizing that technology companies fail when they specialize on hardware or software to the exclusion of the other.”

One thing that hasn’t changed in 25 years is the single-button Mac mouse. But, as was recently reported by a number of media outlets, Apple has recently files a patent for a new input device designed to replace the mouse altogether, based on the Touch screen technology it originally developed for its iPod and iPhone and recently ploughshared to its new unibody Macbook portables.

Industry observers predict that Mac fans will love the new pointing device, as a novelty, but suspect that the idea won’t ultimately be any more popular than the standard touchpad controllers used on most of the world’s current-model portable PCs — for which many users buy add-on conventional mice to avoid using the inefficient — to some, downright annoying — touchpad.

Nevertheless… Happy birthday, Mac!

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