Many people remember 24th January with some nostalgia, it being the 30th Anniversary of the Apple Macintosh launch.
If it weren’t for Apple I myself would never have been involved in technology and even thinking back a) cannot believe it is 30 years and b) cannot believe what has transpired in that time.
My own introduction to the Apple world was a few years earlier to the Mac launch and centred on Apple IIs and the forerunner to the Mac, an enormous box called Lisa. Even if in those days everything was stored on a floppy disc of 400k – yes that’s correct - not 4mb, Lisa had an optional hard drive which cost £5000 and for that you got 5mb. It was impossible to imagine that you could ever fill it up.
But, the one thing that is clear, this was BIG and it would change more things than you could ever imagine; and that was going to make some people very angry.
So the company I was with got involved with Apple, started to sell software, and I still remember fondly the launch of the Mac II. The launch showed the first use of colour on a personal computer and the first bit of software that was being used to show that colour was Cricket Graph and we were the European Distributor for the product.
So then DTP came and we rode the wave enjoying great sales of the products we distributed and all the fun that was prevalent when new things happen in a new industry. It is probably a cliché to say that this period was a kind of technology renaissance but nobody can dispute the colourful characters that were around in the mid-late 80s. The creative pool covered a human spectrum from, poets, artists, hippies, thinkers to technical geniuses and of course some angry people that did not want change.
Let’s not forget that it was a small bunch of ex-hippies from the Bay area in San Francisco that created Photoshop; this would never have happened unless there was a digital world for people to play in. And it was people like them that started by playing, literally mucking around and generating bits of Postscript to produce for example interesting looking graduated tints on their screen and all gathering round from machine to machine to see share and enjoy each others efforts over a beer or funny cigarette or two..
Things and the way people interacted changed and the acceleration of change and development of the way that communication in general improved was massive.
All of a sudden everyone could network and communicate better and faster. Whether on mobile phone, across hard wired networks in offices to share information just to start with.
And since people could create decent enough looking output by just having access to a computer, a bit of software and a laser writer printer, the visual quality (in most cases) of what was produced allowed real mass individual efforts to be made viewable for the first time.
And then we could even start communicating online with other people. In 1985 we used Applelink (later to become AOL) and spent fortunes on dial up modems to see if any one had sent a message to us and all of a sudden we could transfer files and source code on line.
Most importantly time and our perception of it changed. Technology advanced delivery times and we wanted instant gratification, we certainly became less patient.
This backdrop is a precursor to the continuous evolvement of the web. There are time lines that illustrate it better but Apple certainly benefited by making the best toys for the job, starting with iMac (the ‘i’ supposedly a prefex for Internet) and connectivity is and always was what is was about.
Jump to today and mobility is our computing power pretty much as mobile as we want, and totally connected.
We do have instant gratification, we can pay online, talk online, publish online, and share our thoughts, opinions and abilities online like never before.
Individualism and self-expression has never been easier and the creation of audience and followers never simpler. Behind the web, the same types of individuals that were creating the DTP revolution are still at it today, causing more disruption and causing the no-change brigade to become even angrier than they were before.
Posted by Elliot Kahan - Activate Media