Posts tagged with "Apple history"

Every App Tells a Story Worth Preserving, Even Warren Buffet’s Paper Wizard

You're Warren, and your job is to deliver newspapers.

You’re Warren, and your job is to deliver newspapers.

Apple anniversaries come and go. Some mark important milestones in the company’s history. Others celebrate products that have had outsized impacts on the world. Both have their place, but I prefer Door Number 3: Weird Apple Anniversaries.

That’s why today, on its fifth anniversary, it’s worth taking a moment to solemnly reflect on the legacy of one of Apple’s least culturally significant software releases ever: Warren Buffet’s Paper Wizard. I regret to say that I didn’t cover Warren Buffet’s namesake paper-tossing arcade game in 2019. So, to make amends, let’s take a look back at this gem that dropped out of nowhere five years ago today.

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The Next Time You Use a Videogame Emulator, Thank Steve Jobs

Source: [Retroplace](

Source: Retroplace.

We’ve covered videogame emulation on Apple devices many times over the years, but today, I have a fun story from the archives about the Mac and emulation.

As Chris Brandrick explains on, the Mac played a pivotal role in developing the U.S. case law that holds that emulators are ‘fair use’ under copyright law:

Believe it or not, but back in 1999 Apple’s Steve Jobs went on national TV and spoke glowingly about a new piece of emulation software that made playing PS1 games on your Macintosh a reality. 

Yes, then iCEO Jobs not only took to the airwaves on U.S. news network CNBC to brag about how this new emulator “lets your Mac play Sony PlayStation games” (noting that “you can’t even get this on Windows”), but he also took to the stage at that year’s MacWorld Expo touting the $49 ‘Virtual Game Station’ software to the Mac masses.

The software Jobs demoed on stage at Macworld was Connectix Virtual Game Station, which was developed by Aaron Giles and allowed Sony PlayStation CD-ROMs to be played on Mac like the G3 iMac. Sony promptly sued Connectix, the company behind the emulator, and got a preliminary injunction against its distribution, which was later overturned on appeal. Sony ultimately bought Connectix Virtual Game Station to take it off store shelves.

Also linked in the story is a terrific video overview of the history behind Connectix Virtual Game Station by Definitive Mac Upgrade Guide:

The entire story is fascinating in light of Nintendo’s recent actions against Yuzu, an open-source Switch emulator, which resulted in the Yuzu project being taken down and has had ripple effects in all corners of the emulation world.

So, the next time you fire up an emulator, think of Steve Jobs and the fight he helped kick off that sits at the foundation of videogame emulation everywhere.


Apple Shares the Secret of Why the 40-Year-Old Mac Still Rules

Steven Levy, writing for Wired, interviewed Apple executives about the secret to the Mac’s 40-year run:

“With the transition to Apple silicon that we started in 2020, the experience of using a Mac was unlike anything before that,” says John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering.

Ternus’ comment opens up an unexpected theme to our conversation: how the connections between the Mac and Apple’s other breakout products have continually revitalized the company’s PC workhorse. As a result, the Mac has stayed relevant and influential way past the normal lifespan of a computer product.

In the past few years, Mac innovations sprang from the transition to custom Apple silicon chips first pioneered to power iPhones. “I joke that we had to create the iPhone to create the scale to build the Mac we wanted to build,” says Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering. Ternus also notes that the iPhone’s contribution to Apple’s bottom line has been very good to the Mac. “As the business has been successful, it’s enabled us to invest and do the things we always wanted to do,” he says.

One example of that, I mention, must have been the recent boost to battery life in Mac notebooks. “When we broke physics?” jokes Joswiak. Indeed, the almost daylong span, 22 hours of battery life in some Macbook Pros, can feel life-changing. Again, this was a collateral effect of efforts to extend battery life in the iPhone.

“When we first started working with Apple silicon, it honestly did feel for us like the laws of physics had changed,” says Ternus. “All of a sudden, we could build a MacBook Air with no fan with 18 hours of battery life,” he says. “The best arrow in our quiver is efficiency. Because if you can improve efficiency, everything gets better.”

Levy has been covering the Mac from the beginning. His article is a fascinating look back at important moments in the computer’s history and at where it stands today.

Apple silicon is just the latest inflection point for a computer that has seen more than its fair share of changes over four decades. For a while, it looked like the Mac would be relegated to history’s dustbin – left behind by the iPhone. But, it’s the very success of the iPhone formed the foundation of some of the greatest strengths of today’s Mac. It’s an age-old story of reclaimed success built on reinvention necessitated to avert irrelevance.


40 Years of Macintosh

This morning, the Steve Jobs Archive remembered the 40th anniversary of the Mac with a message to its email subscribers that tells the story of when Rolling Stone photographer Norman Seeff and reporter Steven Levy visited Apple. It’s a great anecdote that captures the spirit of the team that created the Mac in the time leading up to its public unveiling.

The post also explains Jobs’ approach to building the Mac:

Steve knew that the very best work conveys the ideas and intentions of the people who created it. And he believed deeply that this team of engineers, designers, and programmers, who were also sculptors, photographers, and musicians—a team that integrated technology and the liberal arts—could create a machine for everyday people, “a computer for the rest of us.” 

At a time when computers were complex and difficult to use, it was a radical objective. To get there, Steve encouraged the team and protected them; he pushed them hard and shared his critiques. He asked them to sign their work like artists, even while reminding them that they were building a tool for others to use. “We’re going to walk into a classroom or an office or a home five years from now,” he promised, “and somebody’s going to be using a Macintosh for something we never dreamed possible.”

The Steve Jobs Archive has published a handful of stories to its email list since its inception, and today’s is one of my favorites. I do wish, though, that the Archive maintained a blog on its site for this sort of material. Locking these stories up in a third-party service like Mailchimp is a shame for a bunch of reasons.


Author of ICONIC Marks the Mac’s 40th Anniversary with Over 1,000 Photos

Jonathan Zufi, the creator behind the coffee table book ICONIC - A Photographic Tribute To Apple Innovation has dug into his archive of Mac photography to mark the 40th anniversary of the Mac with over 1,000 photos and videos that he’s taken and collected over the years, all of which are on display on Here’s Zufi on the Mac’s milestone:

Over the past 40 years Apple developed and launched hundreds of products in and supporting the Macintosh line - culminating in 2024 with the latest range of M3 powered desktops and laptops which are technological marvels of speed, power management and design.

To celebrate this milestone, showcases every Macintosh desktop and portable Apple has ever made with hundreds of the photos taken as part of the work creating the coffee table book ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation (3rd edition now available up to date as of the end of 2023). The site also includes photos taken by Kevin TaylorForest McMullin and others (including video) that I’ve collected over the past 14 years.

Zufi’s website is wonderful. There’s so much to browse here. You can easily spend hours discovering old favorites alongside obscure curiosities. It’s the perfect way to spend some downtime and mark today’s anniversary.


The Verge Marks the iMac’s Silver Anniversary

Yesterday, the iMac turned 25, and The Verge had an excellent trio of articles, plus a visual history, covering the computer’s impact on Apple, the computer industry, and culture.

The series includes a look back at the introduction of the iMac in 1998 by Jason Snell and the many controversial design choices the iMac introduced like foregoing a floppy drive and including USB-A ports. The iMac also introduced color and transparency to consumer electronics that spread throughout the gadget world, but I agree with Jason’s take that the most important contribution of the iMac was that it pulled Apple back from the brink of financial disaster:

[P]erhaps the iMac’s strongest legacy is Apple itself. The company was close to bankruptcy when Jobs returned, and the iMac gave the company a cash infusion that allowed it to complete work on Mac OS X, rebuild the rest of the Mac product line in the iMac’s image, open Apple Stores, make the iPod, and set the tone for the next twenty five years.

The Grape iMac.

The Grape iMac.

Alex Cranz looked at how Apple marketed the iMac to college students at the turn of the millennium to build a foundation of life-long customers:

When it launched the iMac, it also launched a then exorbitantly pricey marketing campaign focused not just on traditional Mac owners but also students. “Being the first computer truly owned by a student entering college gives a company like Apple tremendous brand leverage over future computer loyalties,” Laine Nooney, a computer historian, professor at New York University, and author of The Apple II Age: How the Computer Became Personal,told me over the phone. “That marketing isn’t just paying for a couple of years of sales… it’s helping create a generation of users.”

The M1 iMac.

The M1 iMac.

However, as important as the iMac has been to Apple historically, the lack of an update in over 800 days can’t be overlooked. The iMac’s role in Apple’s lineup is a shadow of what it once was. The Verge’s Monica Chin’s contribution to the site’s series wonders aloud what’s next for the all-in-one desktop:

The iMac was once the computer that everyone I knew had on their desk. That is now, without question, the MacBook. The laptop, as a category, has come so far and permeated culture so thoroughly in the past two decades that it’s hard to see any desktop — regardless of its purported numbers — as a mainstream option. I wouldn’t be surprised if, like the Mac Studio, the iMac leans more into a niche over the next few years. Maybe that’s offices that want a beautiful setup. Maybe that’s people with yellow bedrooms. 

Or maybe it’s the high-performance space. If there’s an opening in the market for a premium desktop like the Mac Studio, I don’t see why there’s not a larger one for a premium iMac. It could essentially be a MacBook Pro with a much larger built-in screen than any MacBook Pro can provide. Plus, maybe this one could also come in yellow.

My first Mac was a white plastic Intel-based iMac. I also owned an early aluminum model. However, other than testing a loaner M1 iMac, my Apple desktops in the years since have been Mac minis and my current Mac Studio paired with a MacBook Air for on the go.

I guess I’m part of the problem. I love the simplicity and elegance of the iMac, but the power and modularity of the Mac Studio paired with a laptop fit my needs much better these days. Still, my sense is there’s room for both a consumer-level iMac that serves as a shared family computer or a simple space-saving desktop solution and a more powerful, big-screen iMac for tasks like photo and video editing.

Rumors point to an iMac refresh this fall, so the drought should be over soon. I just hope what Apple introduces takes some chances aimed at broadening the iMac’s user base beyond where it is today.

Stephen Hackett Announces Kickstarter Campaign for His 2024 Apple History Calendar

Today, our friend Stephen Hackett launched a follow-up to his successful series of Apple history calendars with a campaign on Kickstarter. This year’s calendar features more of Stephen’s excellent photography, along with notable dates in Apple’s services and retail history.

Here’s what Stephen has to say about this year’s calendar:

The calendar features my own product photography of Apple products, with each month highlighting some of Apple’s services and retail announcements over the years. Each calendar measures 20 inches by 13 inches (50.8  x 33.02 cm) when it’s hanging on your wall with a simple thumbtack or pin.

You can watch Stephen’s announcement video here:

You can also read more about the campaign, which has already reached its goal, on Stephen’s website, 512 Pixels.

In addition to the wall calendar, Stephen has created a digital wallpaper pack for backers who pledge $5 or more. If you pledge $10 or more, you get the wallpapers and a .ics file version of the calendar. Pledge $36, and you’ll add the physical calendar and pledge $40, and you’ll also add four stickers.

The hard work and care that have gone into each of the prior editions of the Apple History Calendar show and make this year’s version a great purchase for any Apple fan, whether that’s you or a friend. I can’t wait to see the images and events Stephen has collected for 2024’s calendar.


Steve Jobs Archive to Release Digital Book of Materials Drawn from Jobs’ Life on April 11th

Today, the Steve Jobs Archive said it will publish a digital book called Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs in his own words on April 11th. The Archive, an online repository of historical material from Steve Jobs’ life, was announced at the Code Conference last fall.

According to the Archive’s website, the book will include:

A curated collection of Steve’s speeches, interviews and correspondence, Make Something Wonderful offers an unparalleled window into how one of the world’s most creative entrepreneurs approached his life and work. In the pages of this book, Steve shares his perspective on his childhood, on launching and being pushed out of Apple, on his time with Pixar and NeXT, and on his ultimate return to the company that started it all.

Featuring an introduction by Laurene Powell Jobs and edited by Leslie Berlin, this beautiful handbook is designed to inspire readers to make their own “wonderful somethings” that move the world forward.

The title of the book is drawn from a Jobs quote of something he said in 2007 at an internal Apple meeting that’s featured on the Archives’s website:

One of the ways that believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.

According to an email sent by the Archive to subscribers to its mailing list, the book will include familiar sources as well as photos and quotes that have never been published before.

News of Make Something Wonderful was a great way to start a Saturday morning. I’ve always found Jobs’ musings on art and building things inspiring, so I can’t wait to read this book.


The Mac’s 30th Anniversary Icon Font Shared As SVG Images

In 2014, for the 30th anniversary of the Mac, Apple celebrated with a mini site featuring the stories of the people behind the computer and its users. As part of that event, Apple created a special font of line-drawn versions of every Mac from its introduction on January 24, 1984 through 2014.

Robb Knight, my co-host on the Ruminate podcast, has had that font sitting on his Mac for years until yesterday when he released it as a series of downloadable SVG images with the help of friends Keir Ansell and Josh Calvetti.

The Mac's 30th anniversary website.

The Mac’s 30th anniversary website.

I love this sort of project. The line drawings of these Macs look great and, as SVGs, are suitable for a wide range of projects. Robb has a long list of other interesting projects worth checking out on his website, including Alfred workflows, a Mastodon bookmarklet, a Mac utility to eliminate trackers from URLs, and a set of tools for to name a few.