Macintosh in 1983 (Wait! Wasn’t it intro’ed in 1984 on the Superbowl?)

bowtiesteve_2Today’s article on Slashdot about Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh in 1984 really brought back memories!

My recollection wasn’t just about the Superbowl ad in January of 1984 — though that was really cool and the top ad ever — instead it was about my being in Hawaii in November of 1983 for the Apple International Sales Meeting called “Leading the Way” (I was a manufacturer’s rep for a firm that setup dealer distribution for Apple before they were able to hire their own direct sales force). Besides this event being really fun with my colleagues hanging out in Honolulu, we were learning good stuff and getting ready to sell more Apple products upon our return.

gates_kaporjay_1On (I think) the second day there, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the company, showed us the soon-to-be-famed Superbowl ad, and had Bill Gates, Mitch Kapor (of Lotus fame) and Fred Gibbons (Software Publishing…a big PC vendor) on the stage talking about their support for this new, cool computer.

Right after the introduction, we had breakout sessions. Susan Kare led my breakout session. Steve Jobs led my buddy Eric Johnson’s session (fun fact to know-n-tell: Steve wore the same thing every day: hunter green Ralph Lauren polo shirt; jeans; sandals).

That evening we took buses to a beach location where the company had set up a M.A.S.H setup like the TV show — complete with tents, nurses, jeeps, and great food. WWII helicopters landed with Steve Jobs and John Sculley…that’s how they made their appearance.

1984_girlA couple of months later and knowing that the 1984 Superbowl ad was going to run, I eagerly anticipated its arrival. It so happened I was at a friends house for a big Superbowl party when the ad came on. The room went silent and everyone watched. The reaction was pretty dramatic!

All I can say is that — as cool as the Macintosh was — I was still more enamored at the time with the power of the Mac’s “big sister” and predecessor the Lisa. At $10,000 it was overpowered and overpriced…and it was never going to make it as a mass market product.

The super bowl ad introducing Macintosh in January, 1984:


It’ll be fun one day to tell my grandchildren about being there at the beginning (sort of…woulda been cooler to have built the product!). Things have sure changed in the computing arena and my kids already are unable to fathom a floppy-disk based computer printing to a dot-matrix printer.

Even when *I* think about it, I recall my Dad in the 1970’s talking about my Grandpa’s first Ford which, even then, felt like ancient history…kind of like me talking to my kids today about a Macintosh in 1984.


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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.