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Apple Macintosh

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The Macintosh is a family of personal computers manufactured by Apple Computer in Cupertino, California, and commonly called Mac.

Launched in January 1984 with a famous Super Bowl commercial, it was the first computer to popularize the Graphical user interface (GUI).

The operating system, originally simply referred to as the Macintosh operating system, or informally, the Mac OS, officially became known as Mac OS as of version 7.6. In March 2001, Apple introduced a Unix-based successor, Mac OS X.

From its inception, the Macintosh has introduced or popularized a number of innovations adopted later by other kinds of PCs:

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History It is thought by many that Apple's main innovations were done after their famous visit to Xerox PARC, even though in reality work on the Macintosh project started long before that, and the Macintosh operating system ended up working and looking quite different from the programs at PARC. (GUIs had been an active area of research since the late 1960s; Jef Raskin's thesis was written in 1967.) Apple added the menubar, overlapping windows and icons representing objects instead of actions, for instance.

The Macintosh was introduced on January 22, 1984, with a famous Super Bowl commercial featuring a female athlete throwing a hammer through a giant image of a dictator. The machines went on sale two days later.

Although the Mac garnered an immediate enthusiastic following, it was too radical of a departure for most. Since the machine was entirely designed around the GUI, existing command-line programs[?] had to be redesigned and rewritten, a challenging undertaking that many software developers shied away from, which led to a lack of software for the new system.

In 1985, the combination of the Mac and its GUI with Adobe Pagemaker and Apple's Laserwriter[?] printer enabled a low-cost solution for designing and previewing printed material, an activity that came to be known as desktop publishing. Interest in the Mac exploded, and it has continued to be the standard platform for publishing and printing houses for many years.

By the early 1990s, the Motorola 68000 CPU of the original Macs was no longer keeping up with computing demands. Apple's alliance with IBM and Motorola resulted in the RISC-architecture PowerPC. Apple then had the tricky task of designing a system that used the new chip and yet was backward-compatible. The new Power Macintosh machines used an emulator that was accurate enough to run existing 68000 apps unchanged.

In 2000, the Macintosh made a second fundamental change, this time in its operating system, by switching to the Unix-based Mac OS X.

See List of Macintosh models grouped by CPU.



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