#macintosh

John Gruber:

Which brings me to one of my favorite details in the original Mac, one which persisted through Mac OS 9: the Finder’s Special menu. The File menu was for commands pertaining to files. Edit for editing. View for view options. All commands neatly organized into three simple, obvious menus.

“Special” was a stroke of genius. Two of its four items were dangerous (and Empty Trash, originally, didn’t prompt for confirmation), and “Special” seems like as friendly a way as possible to cue the user to be a little careful in this menu. But more than serving as an apt categorization of the menu items it contained, “Special” served a higher purpose — an apt description of the Macintosh in its entirety.

While I may not have been a Mac user until relatively late, the “Special” menu was something that always stuck out to me as being pretty great. When I was a kid at the computer lab at school, I recall clicking on that menu just to see what could possibly be inside. Somehow, after all these years, that stuck with me.

30 Years Ago, Apple Was The Same Company

The other day, Megan dug up the original New York Times review of the first Macintosh from 1984 and read it to me. Hearing it outloud was amazing.

It’s not that the review by Erik Sandberg-Diment is particulary good — in fact, in many ways, it’s exceedingly silly. But listening to it made clear just how little Apple has actually changed in the past 30 years from a product and perception perspective.

A few examples — first, on the topic of the then brand-new mouse:

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Mac & Me

While this usually surprises people, I used to loathe Macintosh computers. It was the 1990s, and not only were they not insanely great, they were insanely slow. 1 I was a PC guy. Windows for life.

Or so I thought.

When I first saw the iMac, I thought it was a fun design. But wasn’t it just a toy? When I first saw OS X, I thought it was beautiful. But again, was it just visual candy? It wasn’t until I moved out to California that Apple really entered my life.

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Jason Snell sat down with Bud Tribble, Phil Schiller, and Craig Federighi to talk about the current state of the Mac in an iOS world:

“It’s obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience?” Federighi said. “We believe, no.”

“We don’t waste time thinking, ‘But it should be one [interface]!’ How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?’ What a waste of energy that would be,” Schiller said. But he added that the company definitely tries to smooth out bumps in the road that make it difficult for its customers to switch between a Mac and an iOS device—for example, making sure its messaging and calendaring apps have the same name on both OS X and iOS.

“To say [OS X and iOS] should be the same, independent of their purpose? Let’s just converge, for the sake of convergence? [It’s] absolutely a nongoal,” Federighi said. “You don’t want to say the Mac became less good at being a Mac because someone tried to turn it into iOS. At the same time, you don’t want to feel like iOS was designed by [one] company and Mac was designed by [a different] company, and they’re different for reasons of lack of common vision. We have a common sense of aesthetics, a common set of principles that drive us, and we’re building the best products we can for their unique purposes. So you’ll see them be the same where that makes sense, and you’ll see them be different in those things that are critical to their essence.”

A very different definition of “compromise" from Microsoft. And the right one, obviously.

nerdology

nerdology:

theatlantic:

The Mac Turns 30 Today

Thirty years ago today, Steve Jobs did something he would go on to do many times over: He strode onto a stage and introduced the public to a product that would do its damnedest to dent the universe

Here is, probably, the main thing worth remembering about the launch of the Macintosh: The soundtrack Apple chose for the moment of the machine’s introduction was, hilariously, the theme song from Chariots of Fire.

But here are a few more things to remember as the Mac marks its 30th birthday.

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That grin on Steve Jobs’ face. You can tell when he’s pleased with himself. Happy birthday Mac.

Showmanship. (Also, I was two years old.)

From John Markoff’s tribute to Douglas C. Engelbart, who passed away this week at the age of 88:

Early versions of the mouse had three buttons, because that was all the case could accommodate, even though Dr. Engelbart felt that as many as 10 buttons would be more useful. Two decades later, when Steve Jobs added the mouse to his Macintosh computer, he decided that a single button was appropriate. The Macintosh designers believed in radical simplicity, and Mr. Jobs argued that with a single button it was impossible to push the wrong one.