Timeline: Milestones in the Mac's history

Take a trip down memory lane as we revisit the highs, lows and in-betweens of the Apple Macintosh from 1978 to today.


Steve Jobs first proposes Apple to develop a next-generation computer.


A research project for a new low-cost computer is begun under Jef Raskin, Apple's director of publications and new product review -- it's called the Macintosh project. (Raskin will leave Apple in 1982, before the Mac's eventual release.)

Steve Jobs and Apple employees visit Xerox PARC, where they are shown several next-generation technologies, including the Xerox Alto, a personal computer featuring a graphical user interface, mouse and object-oriented programming.

Apple Lisa
The Apple Lisa (photo: Mschlindwein, GNU FDL 1.2 license)


The Apple Lisa specifications are drafted with features similar to those seen at PARC.


The IBM PC is introduced. Apple "welcomes" IBM to the personal computing market.


The Apple Lisa is introduced for $9,995; it drops to $6,995 by the end of the year.

Apple's Lisa and Mac divisions are combined.

In mid-December, Apple's marketing company airs the now-famous 1984 TV commercial during sign-off in an Idaho market to qualify for the year's advertising awards. It is aired only one other time, during the 1984 Super Bowl.

original Macintosh 128k
The original Macintosh 128k (photo: Marco Mioli, All About Apple, GNU FDL 1.2 license)


The Mac is introduced for $2,495.

The Apple Lisa 2 is introduced for $3,495.

The Test drive a Mac program is launched, enabling users to take a Mac home from resellers for a 24-hour trial period. Although unique and innovative, the program fails because too few Macs are initially available, and many are not returned to stores in perfect condition.


After a power struggle with Apple CEO John Sculley, during which Steve Jobs is stripped of operational responsibilities, Jobs resigns from Apple and founds NeXT Inc.

The Lisa is discontinued. Some models are converted and sold as the Mac XL.

Mac II
The Mac II (photo: Alexander Schaelss, GNU FDL 1.2 license)

Microsoft licenses some of the Mac's technology in order to develop Office for Mac. Later that year, the company releases Windows 1.01.


Apple ships the Mac II, the first Mac to eschew an all-in-one design and to support color displays. Along with the Mac II, Apple releases the Mac SE with the classic all-in-one design. Both machines debut the inclusion of expansion slots in Macs.

The installed base of Mac users reaches 1 million.

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