Thoughts on 1984 Macintosh Demonstration
Unlike some of the readers of Apple-Orange, I have not yet arrived in this world when Apple released the Macintosh. When I first started using the computer it really was different than that time.
After watching Apple’s first public demonstration of Macintosh in Boston Computer Society, I really left wondering about so many things.
The Mac Paint and the Mac Write app demonstrated so many features that we still use today: inter-app copy and paste, undo, select and replace a word, and a lot more. To me it feels like the demonstration was very carefully planned, but they knew what not to do while still wowing the audience. For example, I don’t think they demonstrated how many levels of undos can they perform on Mac Paint and Mac Write. I have a feeling that that might have been one of the many things that can go wrong.
Then some of the questions from the audience also sounded weird to me:
I really feel like I take the ability to write in almost any mainstream programming language on my Mac for granted. I’ve never thought that back then compilers for some programming languages weren’t available in some platforms. It seems like today if you are writing a programming language and there’s no compiler for Windows, Mac, and Linux, then people will think that you are not writing programming language seriously.
Lastly, here’s another question from the audience:
After you become an expert, will the mouse be a handicap, or a feature?
Steve Jobs didn’t want to answer this himself initially, but basically the answer from him and other people from Apple is that they agree that switching from holding a mouse to a keyboard take a fraction of time, but the benefits of the mouse far outweighs this. Obviously as we all know, the subsequent versions of Macintosh features arrow keys. This is one of the things that Jobs thought would be good to left out, but after using it for a while he realised that in some cases the mouse can slow down your workflow when there’s no way to easily move the cursor around.
If you haven’t watch the video yet, I recommend you to watch it. It is quite long, but it’s amazing to see one of the biggest events in the history of technology.