The Macintosh turns 40: It revolutionized technology

The first Macintosh, launched on January 24, 1984, turns 40. Here's a look back at the stats associated with this technological classic from Apple, which paved the way for modern computers, ahead of its time.

The Macintosh, a small computer with a screen and floppy drive, was a device from the 1960s and the Mac was widely used because of its interface that allowed users to click on icons with a mouse.

Previously, access was limited to those who knew computers obeying complex command lines.


The first Macintosh was introduced to the market with great fanfare.

On January 22, 1984, two days before kickoff, Apple appeared at one of the most followed events in the computer world: the Super Bowl, the final game of the American football championship, watched by 77.6 million viewers that year. According to the Nielsen Group, it specializes in audience measurement.

Called „1984,” the 60-second ad directed by Ridley Scott („Alien,” „Blade Runner”) is inspired by George Orwell's dystopian novel „1984” and is destroyed by an athlete dressed in the colors of „Big Brother” and rival IBM – Apple. .

The bitten Apple brand, inspired by its co-founder Steve Jobs, paid $800,000 ($2.5 million today) for ad space, in addition to hundreds of thousands to produce the video, according to the book „Apple Confidential.” 2.0” by Owen Linsmeyer.


The first Macintosh was a luxury product. It was sold in the United States on January 24, 1894 for $2,495, about $7,400 today, but its price soon dropped to $2,195.

The Mac was more affordable than its main competitor, the IBM PC, which cost $3,270 at the time (about $10,000 today), but more than twice as expensive as the brand's then-entry-level bestseller, the Apple II.

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Today, original MAC computers fetch 2,000 euros (nearly $2,200) at auction. Internal documents from its presentation, dated October 1983, are still highly valued by collectors, surpassing $12,000 in 2022 at RR Auctions.

370,000 in sales

Apple expected to sell 250,000 Macintoshes in 1984, the New York Times reported in April of that year. Although official figures are secret, according to tech history blogger Jeremy Reimer, the brand sold 372,000 in addition to a million Apple IIs in the first year.

These figures were impressive at a time when computers had not yet been democratized, a modest 15 times the current sales of Apple computers.

According to consulting firms Gartner and ITC, the Cupertino (California) group will sell around 22 million (MacBook, iMac…) in 2023. With 8% to 9% of global sales, Apple ranks fourth behind Lenovo, HP and Dell.

9 inches

The screen of the first Mac was much smaller than the current one, 9 inches, about 23 cm across.

By comparison, the latest iMacs offer a 23.5-inch (60 cm) screen and some MacBook laptops are 16 inches (41 cm).

At 34.5 cm high, 24.4 cm wide and 27.7 cm deep, the first Mac, despite its 7.5 kg weight, could be carried „anywhere, even on an airplane,” according to an AFP dispatch from January 1984.

128 AD

The first Mac had 128 kB of RAM, which is about 131,000 bytes. 128 kB is, for example, the size of a low-resolution photo or a very small Excel file.

Today, very few computers have less than 8 GB (8.6 billion bytes) of RAM, and Apple's most powerful Mac Pro has up to 1.6 million times more RAM (192 GB) than its predecessor.

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RAM allows the computer to temporarily store data needed to perform a task. The larger the memory, the more complex and simultaneous the computer can be.

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