35 years ago today, on January 24th 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh. At the iPhone introduction keynote in 2007, Steve Jobs called the Mac a “revolutionary product” that “changed the whole computer industry”.
What was revolutionary about the Mac? It’s well known history, the radical thinking was you wouldn’t need to open the manual, the computer had become compatible with people (instead of the other way around), you wouldn’t need to memorize arcane commands. It didn’t mean the command line or text interface was over, just that you could do things visually, intuitively, discovering options at your own pace.
The Macintosh was launched with the famous Ridley Scott-directed Super Bowl ad, and a whopping 39 page special section in Newsweek later that year.
The advertising style is so great, it comes off as somewhat ambitious but also honest and sincere, and in retrospect so spot on. It was thought provoking, challenged the status quo, showed the benefits and even contained a few usage tutorials, education-based marketing.
One particular page spread caught our eye:
The ambitiousness of the parallel feels very apt. But really has website design seen a revolutionary step forward such as what the Mac did for computers? Why is the world stuck with the command line/text mindset?
Sparkle changed the rules nearly 5 years ago and, to paraphrase the Mac introduction “A funny thing happens when you design a website builder everyone can use”. What is it? “Everyone uses it”.
The beauty of a revolution like this is, despite trying to describe it terms of the old paradigm, the real potential is unknown, unexplored. It takes people with fresh eyes, coming to the platform, getting things wrong, then getting them right, then leaping ahead of the old.
People in the old paradigm are hacking away at their CSS tricycle, while in the new paradigm the wheels are flying off the ground.
Has it really been 35 years? We ❤️ the Mac. Happy Birthday Mac, here’s to many more years!
To close this up in 1984 AppleSteve Jobs style: “Soon there’ll be just two two kinds of people. Those who use web development environments, and those who use Sparkle”.