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Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan. 1984: How critics reviewed the Mac

Original Mac[Originally posted Jan. 12, 2009 on]

Anticipating the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh -- unveiled by Apple (AAPL) in a Super Bowl ad on Jan. 22, 1984 -- AAPLinvestors has assembled some choice quotes from the first wave of critical reviews.

Below, a sample from their collection, to which we've added a few of our own (from Owen W. Linzmayer's Apple Confidential 2.0).
Byte, Gregg Williams, February 1984
The Macintosh brings us one step closer to the ideal of computer as appliance.
Creative Computing, John Anderson, July 1984
In its current form, the Macintosh is the distilled embodiment of a promise: the software can be intuitively easy to use, while remaining just as powerful as anything else around. It is now time to lay out the “bads”:
• The Macintosh does not have enough RAM.
• Single microfloppy is slow and inadequate.
• There are no internal expansion slots or external expansion buses.
• MacWrite has some severe limitations.
• The system is monochrome only.
• MS-DOS compatibility is ruled out.
• The Macintosh will not multitask.
• You can’t use a Mac away from a desk.
• MacPaint has an easel size limitation.
• Forget about external video.
• Macintosh software development is an involved process.
Bill Gates
Anybody who could write a good application on a 128K Mac deserves a medal.
InfoWorld, Thomas Neudecker, 26 March 1984
We think Apple has at least one thing right -- the Macintosh is the one machine with the potential to challenge IBM’s hold on the market
The Seybold Report, Jonathan and Andrew Seybold
Apple also got some important things wrong. Our biggest worry is that Mac may be under-configured... But the dumbest thing Apple did with the whole development effort was to allow two different operating systems for Mac and Lisa.
San Francisco Examiner, John C. Dvorak, 19 Feb. 1984
 The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a "mouse." There is no evidence that people want to use these things. 
David Bunnell, Macworld, from The Macintosh Reader
Borland founder Philippe Kahn was half right in January 1985 when he called the early Macintosh a "piece of s___." It was underpowered, had very little software, no hard drive, no compelling applications like desktop publishing, and was marketed by a company that seemed to be near death. I can't help but be amused by all the pumped-up bravado I hear and read about the people who created the Macintosh. To hold up the Macintosh experience as an example of how to create a great product, launch an industry, or spark a revolution is a cruel joke.
Click here to see APPLinvestor's full collection.

Below the fold: That 1984 Super Bowl commercial with the "Big Brother" theme.

See also:


  1. Just goes to show John Dvorak is not "newly dumb", he has been dumb forever

  2. I love that 1984 commercial