Apple Macintosh Computer

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(established 1976)

Almost ever since Apple Computer was founded in 1976 by Steven Wozniak and Steven Jobs the company has been at the forefront of many striking innovations in the Personal Computer (PC) industry. The company did not attract much attention until the launch of its Apple II with colour monitor and a plastic case in 1977, a configuration further improved in 1978 with the launch of the Apple Disk II, the cheapest and most practical PC on the market. By 1980, the company had several thousand employees and was beginning to penetrate overseas markets, producing its millionth computer in the following year.1983 saw the introduction of highly innovative software entitled Lisa that provided an easy to use package of pull‐down menus, windows, and digital graphics. In 1984 the Apple Macintosh was introduced, incorporating Lisa, and for a decade setting the standard for those in the creative industries, graphic, interior, architectural, and industrial design. Its sleek, neat light casing designed by Hartmut Esslinger of Frogdesign (who had first worked with Apple on the identity of the Apple IIc) gave it a stylish identity that distinguished it from its prosaic IBM PC competitors. It became Time magazine's Design of the Year. The Macintosh's characteristically clever blend of accessible software and well‐designed hardware proved highly attractive to users, opening up for millions a world previously seen as the preserve of the computer specialist. Such perceptions were further enhanced with the introduction of PageMaker in 1985, a versatile program that made the attainment of professional layouts, blending digital images and text, readily accessible in‐house without recourse to outside specialists. Desk‐top publishing (DTP) was thus made available to owners of Apple equipment. As a result of increasingly overpowering competition from Microsoft Windows Apple went through difficult times, despite the introduction of PowerBooks in 1991, PowerMacs in 1994, and the launch of the on‐line Apple Store in 1997. The stylish i‐Mac, designed by Jonathan Ive and the Apple Design team, was introduced in 1998 and the brightly coloured i‐Book in 1999, once again bringing desirable yet affordable products to a wider, fashionable audience. In the 21st century the Apple i‐Pod revolutionized the downloading, storing, and playing of vast amounts of music, also becoming a well‐designed status symbol. In 2003 Ive was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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