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The Computer That Was Insanely Great

1263 words - 6 pages

The first electronic computer came about a year after the end of World War II. Called the ENIAC, It weighed 30 tons and was produced at the University of Pennsylvania. During the 1950s, the transistor and miniaturized circuit allowed for the size of computers to be reduced. It also allowed for a reduction in price. ENIAC cost $487,000 in the 1940s. The transistor and miniaturized circuit allowed an IBM PC in 1983 to cost only $4,000. According to computer experts, if the car industry developed as fast as the computer industry, a Rolls-Royce would only cost $2.75 and get three million miles per gallon (Friedrich).
In 1982, Americans’ began to accept computers as part of their lives. According to a survey conducted by phone on December 8th and 9th 1982, 80% of Americans said they thought computers would be common household appliances in the near future. Two-thirds thought computers would improve living standards, and 68% thought they would improve education quality (Friedrich).
Macintosh could not have been successful if its manufacturer, Apple Computers, Inc., had had little or no experience in making computers. Apple’s first computer was called the Apple I. Compared to the Macintosh, the Apple I was very primitive. It was simply a circuit board and had no monitor, keyboard, or power supply. However, this primitive computer allowed Apple to make its first profit ever, totaling $8,000 dollars (Gilbert 10).
In 1984, Apple released a computer which was arguably the most revolutionary computer ever. This computer, called the Macintosh, was among the first to be cheap enough to be purchased by the general public. While a previous Apple computer, the Apple Lisa, cost $10,000, the Macintosh cost only $2,495, allowing Macintosh to be on more people's’ desks than any computer before (Jesdanun).
Steve Jobs, at the Macintosh unveiling event, compared Macintosh to the telephone and all other PCs at the time to the telegraph. He said that putting the competitors’ machines on desks would be a waste of time, while putting a Macintosh on desks would increase productivity (McCraken). Jobs was not simply making a general statement when he made the comparison. His team, at the time of the release of IBM’s PC, went out and bought one and took it apart to see what was inside. Everyone on the Macintosh team agreed that it “sucked.” They called it “a half-assed, hackneyed attempt” because it didn’t support graphic displays and used an old-fashioned display instead (Isaacson 135).
Despite its lower price, Macintosh had features that were relatively new to computers at that point. Macintosh was one of the first computers to display information like a TV, with information represented as pixels. Previous computers displayed information like a typewriter. Mac popularized What You See Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG formatting, which means what a document looks like on the screen is how they will look when printed out (Jesdanun). This also allowed it to relate items on the...

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