Four Ways Tech Has Changed in 30 Years of Apple

Greg Wheeler
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Thirty years ago on the campus of De Anza College in Cupertino, California, Apple Inc. officially announced the Mac desktop computer. The announcement was made at a shareholders meeting that was so large that all of the shareholders were unable to get inside. This event was important because the Mac was the first successful computer that came with a graphic user interface, a mouse, and the ability to view what you were printing before you printed it. It introduced a technological change that would forever influence the world of computers.

Before the Apple Inc. computer was introduced to the public, computers were sold in kits. They had to be assembled, and they used lights and switches for input and output instead of keyboards and monitors. You still had to purchase a power supply, keyboard, and display, but the Apple Inc. computer was also compatible with almost any audiocassette recorder. Setup was quick, and it was expandable, which gave you a wide variety of options unavailable with other computers. Instead of typing commands, you navigated the computer with a mouse and icons. The computer also introduced consumers to "trash cans" for their files and allowed users to publish newsletters and other publications in the privacy of their own homes.

Apple Inc. introduced the gateway for networking through computers in 1985 with AppleTalk. With this advanced technology, Macs could talk to one another using an Ethernet connection. This technology would eventually lead to the first laptop with built-in wireless Internet, which was introduced in 1999 at the Macworld Expo in New York.

With the desire to create its own software programs, Apple Inc. began technical research of a graphical version of Microsoft Office in 1989. The first versions of the graphic interface were bundled with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and an email application. The software program gained a following with Mac computers, and the Windows version of Office was released in 1990.

Many of today's tech devices drew inspiration from the original Mac computer. When Apple Inc. began to struggle financially in the 90s, Steve Jobs introduced the iMac in colors that offered character to personal computing. This was followed by the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. These devices all shared the Mac's ability to use icons to open applications, and the popularity of each of these items drove more consumers to purchase Mac computers instead of Windows-based PCs.

Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. have greatly influenced the technological change throughout the years, from personal computing to handheld devices. The company has even affected the way we listen to and store music and how we communicate with one another on a daily basis.


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