Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 years ago today the Mac taught the kids to play

This Ridley Scott ad from the 1984 Super Bowl that announced the forthcoming birth of Mac on January 24th, 1984, wasn’t my favorite Mac ad but it is the one that got all the attention is advertising circles.

My favorite was this Lemmings ad with all the suits following each other over a cliff. If everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you jump a cliff too. The add reminded me of my childhood, but it was quickly pulled because of negative corporate feedback. It was apparently considered a negative message against corporations.

Twenty five years ago, give or take a couples days, we received our first 10 skids. The Canadian list price was $3,495 and the only software that ran on it came in the box, MacWrite and MacPaint.

Back then about the only thing people used personal computers for was word processing, spreadsheets and some geeky types doing databases. In other words a replacement for the typewriter and an adding machine (excluding maybe the K to 12 education market that was starting to do some cool stuff with the Apple //e and PETS).

MacWrite was great and probably covered off most of what I actually use Word for today, but MacPaint was unbelievable. You could actually select a pencil or paint brush and draw. Of course most people said why would you ever need to draw or do anything graphical on a computer.

Anyway we had pre-orders for about 45 of the first 100 Macs we received. Of course in typical dealer fashion we called the first twenty customers that had prepaid to come in and then at the assistance of our only professional salesman at the time Mr. George Clarke, we loaded up a van and drove down to a U of T parking lot. After two days and two trips he had sold the balance of the opening order for cash or cheque.

That was a pretty good week.



Beijing York said...

I still have a PowerBook 100 from the early 90s in good working order. I loved MacWrite. It was in its infancy heads above water over Word or Word Perfect.

In the mid to late 80s, I was working for a boutique software company that was also selling Wang PC hardware and another Canadian PC that ran on Unix. I can't even remember the brand name but the company was based in Markham. Needless to say, designing software for those specific PCs as well as flogging those PC units never panned out and the company went bankrupt.

JAWL said...

I finally decided to go MS free last year and deinstalled Office. Pages is awesome and well worth the switch, but numbers took some time. You can save files in .doc or .xls for the less adventurous.

Wang eh! I always got a giggle, when some said they were having trouble connecting their Wang to a Seimens printer.

But hey I was less mature back then and tended to giggle almost everyday.