The year was 1984 and Apple had just announced the Macintosh on January 24. A year earlier, Apple introduced the Lisa, but at a cost of nearly $10,000, it was not priced to make a big dent in the home computer market. But the Macintosh was designed for the home. It was Apple's remarkable new paradigm-shifting device; poised to change forever the way computers are designed and used. Apple's marketing blitz stressed the ease of use inherent to the Mac's graphical operating system. The hardware was sublime, but it was the operating system, more than anything else, that changed the industry. Apple had always believed itself to be a great hardware company, which is without dispute, but it would soon become apparent that the grandfather of the home computer industry was also an insanely great software company. We obtained our copy of the famous Macintosh Newsweek insert from a seller on eBay. Our copy was attached to the March 19, 1984 edition of Newsweek. We are uncertain if Apple included this insert in any other edition of Newsweek.
When Apple introduced the Macintosh, its main product was still the Apple II. Failing to make inroads with the Apple III and with Lisa sales stagnant due to its premium price, Apple would attempt to take back the home market from IBM, whose PC had surpassed the Apple II in both the home and business markets. The IBM PC was comparable to the Apple II in terms of performance, but it was light years behind the Macintosh. So, it is no surprise that Apple's first attempts to market the Macintosh targeted Big Blue (or should I say, "Big Brother").
The insert stresses the general superiority of Macintosh hardware, but I think the most interesting aspect of the insert is Apple's comparison of IBM's interface versus MacOS.
Before Macintosh...After Macintosh
Word Processing Before Macintosh.
(Click) File listings before Macintosh.
(Click) Macintosh Finder.
(Click) Spreadsheets before Macintosh.
(Click) Microsoft's Multiplan for
(Click) Business graphics before
(Click) Microsoft's Chart for Macintosh.
(Click) Terminal emulation before
It's so hilarious because it's so true...but the Macintosh goes further...
(Click) MacProject does for project
management what VisiCalc did for
(Click) MacPaint can create both
freehand sketches and precise
(Click) If you don't see a typeface you
like here, Macintosh lets you design
(Click) Microsoft's Chart displays a
more graphic approach to
(Click) Using insets with MacPaint,
you can even illustrate your illustrations.
(Click) With Macintosh's unlimited
graphics, there'll soon be no limit to
the games it can play.
Of course, where would the Macintosh be without developers? Of interest is Billy Gates appearance in the insert. He speaks of the "new standard" and how it "captures people's imaginations." Apparently, it really did capture his imagination as he would soon set out to "imagine" a way to copy it. I wonder if Mitch Kapor, President and CEO of Lotus Development Corporation, would have been willing to do the ad with Bill if he had a crystal ball back in '84 that informed him how Gates would one day ruin his company with Microsoft Office. Is there nothing better than seeing Billy smiling wide while wearing a Macintosh shirt?