January 22, 1984
Apple Computer broadcasts their now-famous “1984” commercial introducing the Macintosh, during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. It was the first and last time the ad was truly broadcast. However, it is a little-known piece of trivia that the ad was aired one other time at 1 AM on December 15, 1983 in Twin Falls, Idaho, but only so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year. A 30-second version also ran in theaters starting January 17, but it was the broadcast during the Super Bowl that people really took notice of.
I was 9 years old then and I vaguely remember seeing the commercial, but I also remember being more interested in watching the Raiders beat the Redskins at that time. It wasn’t until many years later that I actually recalled the commercial. Yet when I recalled it, it was as if I remembered that commercial all along. I guess even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I somehow knew that moment truly was changing the world.
January 20, 1985
Apple airs their infamous Lemmings commercial during Super Bowl XIX to launch their ill-fated “Macintosh Office” software. The ad was widely considered a failure because the commercial seemingly insulted its intended audience. Perhaps Microsoft should study their tech history before airing any more Windows Phone commercials?
An internal Apple memo from Steve Jobs announced that he would be taking a six-month leave of absence, until the end of June 2009, to allow him to better focus on his health and to allow the company to better focus on its products without having the rampant media speculating about his health. It was later revealed that he required a liver transplant.
Apple Computer announces that it will post a US$68 million first quarter loss. It also announces a restructuring plan to reduce the company by a thousand employees. This event leads to the resignation of Apple CEO Michael Spindler, who is replaced by Gil Amelio. Gil Amelio eventually purchases Steve Jobs’ company, NeXT, which leads to the development of Mac OS X as well as the return of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO.
January 11, 2005
Apple introduces the iPod Shuffle, the first iPod to use flash memory and the smallest iPod made to date. The small size and low cost of the iPod Shuffle proved popular, as Apple sold 10 million iPod Shuffles by September 2006. It also paved the way for future flash-based iPods, which have now become more common than hard drive based units.
January 10, 2006
Seven months after announcing that Macintosh computers will transition from PowerPC to Intel, the first Apple computers to ship with Intel processors are released. The Intel-based iMac and MacBook Pro models will soon be followed by the rest of Apple’s Macintosh line in 2006. The importance of this transition can not be overlooked, as it enabled a level of compatibility with Windows computers never before possible. Through virtual machine software or Apple’s later introduced Boot Camp technology, people could run Windows software directly on their Macs at the same speed as a Windows based computer. This effectively removed a huge roadblock many people had to owning a Macintosh computer, even if it was more of a psychological security-blanket for many.
After introducing the iPhone, Steve Jobs announces that Apple Computer, Inc. has dropped the “Computer” from its official name and will now be known simply as Apple, Inc. This move is to signify that Apple has expanded their scope of products from what have been traditionally defined as computers. Still, old habits die hard and many people continue to add the “computer” part when talking about Apple.
Apple introduces the iPhone at Macworld. The phone wasn’t available for sale until June 29th, prompting one of the most heavily anticipated sales launches in the history of technology. Apple sold 1.4 million iPhones in 2007, steadily increasing each year to sell over 230 million in 2015 alone.
Steve Jobs introduces iTunes at Macworld. At the time, it only ran on Macintosh computers and there was no such thing as an iPod or an iTunes Store. I don’t think anyone at the time knew what a big deal iTunes was about to become. The graphic shows the evolution of the iTunes icon from top left to bottom right.
January 6, 2004
Apple Computer introduces the first variation of the iPod line, the iPod Mini. The iPod Mini began the trend for Apple to introduce smaller iPods that were (often) cheaper but could hold just as many (or more) songs than the previous generation larger iPods. As the underlying technology improved, such as the availability of the smaller hard drive in the iPod mini and eventually affordable flash storage in the future iPod Nano, Apple continued to push iPod technology forward ensuring that they remained the dominant force in the digital audio player market.