Steve Jobs in the first promo video for the Macintosh (1983)


For the launch of the Macintosh, this promo video entitled “Apple Presents a Revolutionary Idea: Macintosh” was created to evangelize the product to Apple’s staff, dealer channel and sales force.

At the time, the Apple II was Apple’s cash cow and many saw the Macintosh as an expensive toy – even at Apple! There was a lot of education to be done and there’s nothing better to convince than a video.

Macintosh Promo Video Summary

00:00. Macintosh Team interview
01:12. Macintosh introduction
03:35. Macintosh demo
09:45. Macintosh developers (Bill Gates, Fred Gibbons, Mitch Kapor)
11:17. Peripherals
13:00. Manufacturing
14:05. Steve Jobs excited about the Macintosh

People in the videoBurrell Smith – Hardware Wizard, Andy Hertzfeld – Software Wizard, George Crow – Manager Analog Design, Bill Atkinson – Apple Fellow, Mike Murray – Marketing Manager, Kit Plank – A.C.I Technician, Bill Gates – Microsoft CEO, Fred Gibbons – Software Publishing Corporation, Mitch Kapor – Lotus CEO

MacWrite Software

MacWrite Owner Manual cover
Awesome looking MacWrite owner manual cover (click to enlarge)

Little is known about the MacWrite software mentioned in the video. I was curious to learn more about it and managed to gathered these tidbits of info for your pleasure. It turns out that MacWrite was BIG for Apple!

MacWrite was a WYSIWYG word processor application released together with MacPaint. It was one of the two original “killer applications” that propelled the adoption of the Graphical User Interface.

Just on itself, MacWrite was a nice program, but it’s when coupled with the newly launched LaserWriter printer that it became serious.

It spurred the development of desktop publishing, which ultimately became the real “killer app” for the Macintosh and kept the company afloat during the rough period of the 90s. Remember those?

Watch this ‘cute’ MacWrite review

Products Steve Jobs’ loves

In the video, Steve makes insightful comments about companies and products he admires. It’s interesting to see a CEO positively referring to stuff other companies do. But then again, Steve is not your normal CEO. Let’s have a look at these products:

Sony Walkman

Sony Walkman and the 80's
Icons of the 80s: Sony’s Walkman and weird fashion

Who can forget the Walkman? If you’re born before the 80’s you’ve certainly owned a cassette walkman and were probably carrying a pen in your pocket – just in case :)

Jobs surely admired the miniaturization and hightech that went into that little gadget. He also had a profound admiration for Akio Moria, Sony‘s co-founder. Steve credits Sony of inventing the whole consumer electronic industry. Not long after Akio’s passing, Steve shared his appreciation for the man behind the Walkman, the VCR and the Trinitron during a Keynote. You can watch it here.

Braun

Dieter Rams
Dieter Rams

We all know that design is at the core of Apple’s personality. We can all be grateful to Braun and their brilliant designer, Dieter Rams, for influencing Steve Jobs. Since day 1 at Apple, Steve always pushed the limits of design and aesthetics. Sometimes too far :)

When Steve got back at Apple in 1997, he met a designer called Jonathan Ive. Steve quickly recognized Ive’s talent and gave him more responsibilities.

Coincidentally, or not, Ive was also an admire of Rams passion for Simplicity and Honest Design.

Apple design and Braun design
Which ones are Ram’s design and which one came first?

Whenever Ive is interviewed or appears in a promo video, Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design are at the core of his saying.

Good Design:

1- Is innovative – The possibilities for progression are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for original designs. But imaginative design always develops in tandem with improving technology, and can never be an end in itself.

2- Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic criteria. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could detract from it.
3- Is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
4- Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
5- Is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
6- Is honest – It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
7- Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
8- Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
9- Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
10-Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

More good stuff about Dieter Rams and Apple:

Mercedes-Benz

steve-jobs-mercedes-benz-sl55-amg
Parked in the handicap spot without a license plate. Who’s car could that be?

With billions in the bank, you’d figure Steve would drive an amazingly expensive car… nope. If you’re into little details and seek performance – a ‘simple’ Merc will do the trick. I don’t know what cars Steve owned throughout the years, but his last one was a Mercedes SL55 AMG.

His car had no license plates, front or back; he claimed they got stolen too often, so the California DMV let him get away with it. Wired ran a story on this and came with other reasons.

 Ouf… that post became longer than expected. Lots of good stuff in that promo video I guess.