NEELIN VIEWS: The Apple computer that changed tech


Advertise with us

This Tuesday, Jan. 24, marks the 39th anniversary since one of the most important pieces of modern technology was released — the Macintosh, Apple’s revolutionary personal computer.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

We need your support!
Local journalism needs your support!

As we navigate through unprecedented times, our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you the latest local updates to keep you safe and informed.

Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Starting at $14.99 plus taxes every four weeks you can access your Brandon Sun online and full access to all content as it appears on our website.

Subscribe Now

or call circulation directly at (204) 727-0527.

Your pledge helps to ensure we provide the news that matters most to your community!


This Tuesday, Jan. 24, marks the 39th anniversary since one of the most important pieces of modern technology was released — the Macintosh, Apple’s revolutionary personal computer.

In almost four decades since its fateful launch in 1984, and in the almost four decades since, Macintoshes have changed considerably, from the name to the marketing, to even the software involved, but the core has still stayed the same since its launch all those years ago: an affordable, easy-to-use personal computer.

The Macintosh started out as the brainchild of an Apple employee by the name of Jeff Raskin. He had the idea sometime in the 1970s, and his vision was to have a personal computer that was “easy to use … and affordable” for the average individual. Raskin was also the same individual to name the computer, cleverly naming it after his favourite apple: the McIntosh. Although this name would have to be slightly altered due to legal reasons, the impact still remained.

Little did Raskin know that his idea for an affordable personal computer that anyone could use would jumpstart one of Apple’s most successful pieces of technology, alongside begin what we know as home computers today.

Raskin’s idea remained just a dream until September 1979, when he was granted permission by Apple management to find staff to begin the ambitious project. Over the next few years, he would collect a highly skilled and experienced development team of his choice to aid him in building the hardware and software of the Macintosh. Not only were the team able to create a completely new board in the Macintosh that was cost-efficient, but they were able to complete it quickly as well, having it completely done by December 1980.

At the same time that the Macintosh was being developed, there was another computer at Apple that many believed would be big: the Apple Lisa. Although quite similar to the Macintosh, the plan was for it to be the higher-end, less affordable and much less cost-effective counterpart. It was the first-ever marketable computer to feature a graphical user interface, or GUI, which meant that an individual could use the mouse and click to get what they wanted on their screen. This was a first of its kind for personal computers, as computers at the time functioned more as typewriters than the computers we use today.

The Apple Lisa was a short-lived project, being released in January 1983 but becoming obsolete not very long after as a result of the Macintosh. Not only was the Macintosh smaller in size, but it cost less (on the market) and was far more cost-effective for Apple to continue production. Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, was the one to name the computer — naming it after his daughter, Lisa Jobs.

Steve Jobs soon realized after the launch of the Apple Lisa that it was expensive, and far less marketable than Apple’s new project, the Macintosh, would be. Thus, he moved his attention onto the new project. It was around this time, in 1981, that Raskin left the project after clashing with Jobs. According to History Computer, this led to the end design of the Macintosh being reportedly “far more closer to Jobs’ ideas than Raskin’s.”

The Macintosh that was introduced to the public in October 1983 was then called the Macintosh 128k, and was revealed as having two new applications: MacWrite and MacPaint. This caused general excitement surrounding the computer, but it was still dismissed by many, especially in the technology world. Apple had given the Macintosh 128k a completely rewritten programming code due to it being designed around the GUI, which was a very time-consuming task, and many software developers didn’t want to put that effort into it.

This was considered a completely new system that Apple was introducing, and it took time for many of the more famously known aspects to be introduced. Microsoft Word was added in January 1985, and Macintosh Office was added later that same year. An additional feature released that year that was considered Mac-specific was the MacPublisher with Aldus Pagemaker, which allowed the user to do desktop publishing (they could design, preview and print page layouts with graphics and text).

By 1984, there were clear issues with the Mac: it had little memory and lacked a proper hard disk drive, even in comparison to other personal computers on the market. A year later, in October 1985, Apple increased the Mac’s memory but ran into issues with expanding it further. Therefore, Apple decided to just expand on the Mac’s popularity and release the Macintosh Plus in 1986, two years after the successful release of the Macintosh 128k.

After 39 years, it can be said that without the smarts of Raskin, his development team, and Steve Jobs, the personal computers used today wouldn’t be where they are now. The Macintosh was used to usher in a new era of personal computers with much better applications, and Apple was the force behind changing computers from essentially digitized typewriters to functioning and complex machines. Macs are still insanely popular to this day, and without that launch all those years ago, the technology would be so much different.

» Shayla Ramsden is a Grade 11 student at École secondaire Neelin High School.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us