Mac Owners Are Just Like, Well, the Mac Guy



Mac Guy,  Apple Macintosh actor Justin Long


YORK, Pa. - So it's not just that Mac guy in the "Get a Mac" ads who thinks he's better than everyone else. Apparently so do many of the people who use Apple's computers.

Research from internet ad network Mindset Media confirms the ad's personification of Mac users as superior and self-satisfied. Its recent Mac user "mind-set profile" - a psychographic ranking system that scores respondents on 20 different elements of personality - found them to be more assured of their superiority, less modest and more open than the general population.

Mindset did not work with Apple, Microsoft or any other PC company for its survey of 7,500 Nielsen online consumers. The questions were structured so Mindset could discover information about groups they were interested in - in this case, Mac and PC users.

Far fewer cohesive personality traits emerged among PC owners, likely because of the breadth of PC ownership. Given that 95% or so of all computer users own a PC, those users essentially are the general population. The one area where PC users did stand out as statistically different was in creativity - low creativity, that is. Mindset Media found they tend to be realists who are emotionally steady and work well with what they're given.

Increasing share

The "Get a Mac" series of ads, also known as "Mac vs. PC," began in 2006 and has almost 40 creative iterations, along with innumerable riffs and takeoffs on YouTube. Apple has made significant strides in market share since before the commercials began running. It has gone from hovering at a low 2% to 3% share to a 6% to 8% share today, depending on whose numbers one believes. Exact calculations aside, by most estimates Apple is now the solid No. 3 seller of computers in the U.S. with forecasts for double-digit share by decade's end. While Mac adoption is being propelled by several forces -- such as the iPod halo effect, along with the dismal reception of Microsoft Vista, aided by Mac price drops and feature extensions -- Apple's clever and consistent marketing also deserves credit.  Beth Snyder Bulik



Macintosh, or for newer models, Mac, is a brand name which covers several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The original Macintosh was released on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI) rather than a command line interface.

The idea for a personal computer appropriate for the ordinary consumer dates to the late 1970s and an Apple development team was established in 1979. After the success of the original Macintosh in 1984, the company quickly established market share only to see it dissipate in the 1990s as Microsoft came to monopolize personal computing. Apple consolidated multiple, consumer-level desktop models into the 1998 iMac, which sold extremely well and saw the brand name revitalized. Current Mac systems are mainly targeted at the home, education, and creative professional markets. They are the upgraded iMac and the entry-level Mac mini desktop models, the workstation-level Mac Pro tower, the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, and the Xserve server.

Production of the Mac is based on a vertical integration model in that Apple facilitates all aspects of its hardware and creates its own operating system that is pre-installed on all Macs. Apple exclusively produces Mac hardware, choosing internal systems, designs, and prices. Apple does use third party components, however; current Macintosh CPUs use Intel's x86 architecture (formerly the AIM alliance's PowerPC and originally Motorola's 68k). Apple also develops the operating system for Macs, currently Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard". This is in contrast to most IBM compatible PCs, where multiple vendors create hardware intended to run another company's software. The modern Mac, like other personal computers, is capable of running alternative operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, and Microsoft Windows, considered to be the Mac's biggest competitor.


1979 to 1984: Development

Part of the original Macintosh design team, as seen on the cover of Revolution in the Valley.
Left to right: George Crow, Joanna Hoffman, Burrell Smith, Andy Hertzfeld, a Macintosh, Bill Atkinson, Jerry Manock.


The Macintosh project started in the late 1970s with Jef Raskin, an Apple employee, who envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer for the average consumer. In September 1979, Raskin was authorized to start hiring for the project, and he began to look for an engineer who could put together a prototype. Bill Atkinson, a member of Apple's Lisa team (which was developing a similar but higher-end computer), introduced him to Burrell Smith, a service technician who had been hired earlier that year. Over the years, Raskin assembled a large development team that designed and built the original Macintosh hardware and software; besides Raskin, Atkinson and Smith, the team included Chris Espinosa, Joanna Hoffman, George Crow, Jerry Manock, Susan Kare, Andy Hertzfeld, and Daniel Kottke.

Smith’s first Macintosh board was built to Raskin’s design specifications: it had 64 kilobytes (KB) of RAM, used the Motorola 6809E microprocessor, and was capable of supporting a 256×256 pixel black-and-white bitmap display. Bud Tribble, a Macintosh programmer, was interested in running the Lisa’s graphical programs on the Macintosh, and asked Smith whether he could incorporate the Lisa’s Motorola 68000 microprocessor into the Mac while still keeping the production cost down. By December 1980, Smith had succeeded in designing a board that not only used the 68000, but bumped its speed from 5 to 8 megahertz (MHz); this board also had the capacity to support a 384×256 pixel display. Smith’s design used fewer RAM chips than the Lisa, which made production of the board significantly more cost-efficient. The final Mac design was self-contained and had far more programming code in ROM than most other computers; it had 128 KB of RAM, in the form of sixteen, 64 kilobit (Kb) RAM chips soldered to the logicboard. Though there were no memory slots, its RAM was expandable to 512 KB by means of soldering sixteen 256 Kb RAM chips in place of the factory-installed chips. The final product's screen was a 9-inch, 512x342 pixel monochrome display, exceeding the prototypes.

The original 1984 Mac OS desktop featured a radically new graphical user interface. Users communicated with the computer not through abstract lines of code but rather using a metaphorical desktop that included items that the user was already familiar with.
The design caught the attention of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Realizing that the Macintosh was more marketable than the Lisa, he began to focus his attention on the project. Raskin finally left the Macintosh project in 1981 over a personality conflict with Jobs, and the final Macintosh design is said to be closer to Jobs’ ideas than Raskin’s. After hearing of the pioneering GUI technology being developed at Xerox PARC, Jobs had negotiated a visit to see the Xerox Alto computer and Smalltalk development tools in exchange for Apple stock options. The Lisa and Macintosh user interfaces were partially influenced by technology seen at Xerox PARC and were combined with the Macintosh group's own ideas. Jobs also commissioned industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger to work on the Macintosh line, resulting in the "Snow White" design language; although it came too late for the earliest Macs, it was implemented in most other mid- to late-1980s Apple computers. However, Jobs’ leadership at the Macintosh project was short-lived; after an internal power struggle with new CEO John Sculley, Jobs angrily resigned from Apple in 1985, went on to found NeXT, another computer company, and did not return until 1997.

1984: Introduction

The Macintosh 128k was announced to the press in October 1983, followed by an 18-page brochure included with various magazines in December. However, the Macintosh was most famously heralded by the 1984 Super Bowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott which aired January 22, 1984. This commercial showed a woman, played by Anya Major, who defiantly throws a sledgehammer at a Big Brother-like video screen (which represented IBM). This symbolized Apple's challenging of the text-based computers that dominated the market at the time. For a special post-election edition of Newsweek in November 1984, Apple spent more than US$2.5 million to buy all 39 of the advertising pages in the issue. Apple also ran a “Test Drive a Macintosh” promotion, in which potential buyers with a credit card could take home a Macintosh for 24 hours and return it to a dealer afterwards. While 200,000 people participated, dealers disliked the promotion, the supply of computers was insufficient for demand, and many were returned in such a bad shape that they could no longer be sold. This marketing campaign caused CEO John Sculley to raise the price from US$1,995 to US$2,495 (adjusting for inflation, about $5,000 in 2007).

Two days after the 1984 ad aired, the Macintosh went on sale. It came bundled with two applications designed to show off its interface: MacWrite and MacPaint. Although the Mac garnered an immediate, enthusiastic following, it was too radical for some, who labeled it a mere "toy." Because the machine was entirely designed around the GUI, existing text-mode and command-driven applications had to be redesigned and the programming code rewritten; this was a challenging undertaking that many software developers shied away from, and resulted in an initial lack of software for the new system. In April 1984 Microsoft's MultiPlan migrated over from MS-DOS, followed by Microsoft Word in January 1985.[9] In 1985, Lotus Software introduced Lotus Jazz after the success of Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PC, although it was largely a flop. Apple introduced Macintosh Office the same year with the lemmings ad, infamous for insulting potential customers. It was not successful.

1985 to 1989: Desktop publishing era

In 1985, the combination of the Mac, Apple’s LaserWriter printer, and Mac-specific software like Boston Software’s MacPublisher and Aldus PageMaker enabled users to design, preview, and print page layouts complete with text and graphics—an activity to become known as desktop publishing. Initially, desktop publishing was unique to the Macintosh, but eventually became available for IBM PC users as well. Later, applications such as Macromedia FreeHand, QuarkXPress, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator strengthened the Mac’s position as a graphics computer and helped to expand the emerging desktop publishing market.

The limitations of the first Mac soon became clear: it had very little memory, even compared with other personal computers in 1984, and could not be expanded easily; and it lacked a hard disk drive or the means to attach one easily. In October 1985, Apple increased the Mac’s memory to 512 KB, but it was inconvenient and difficult to expand the memory of a 128 KB Mac. In an attempt to improve connectivity, Apple released the Macintosh Plus on January 10, 1986 for US$2,600. It offered one megabyte of RAM, expandable to four, and a then-revolutionary SCSI parallel interface, allowing up to seven peripherals—such as hard drives and scanners—to be attached to the machine. Its floppy drive was increased to an 800 KB capacity. The Plus was an immediate success and remained in production until October 15, 1990; on sale for just over four years and ten months, it was the longest-lived Macintosh in Apple's history.

The Macintosh II, one of the first expandable Macintosh models.

Other issues remained, particularly the low processor speed and limited graphics ability, which had hobbled the Mac’s ability to make inroads into the business computing market. Updated Motorola CPUs made a faster machine possible, and in 1987 Apple took advantage of the new Motorola technology and introduced the Macintosh II, which used a 16 MHz Motorola 68020 processor. This marked the start of a new direction for the Macintosh, as now, for the first time, it had an open architecture, with several expansion slots, support for color graphics, and a modular break-out design similar to that of the IBM PC and inspired by Apple’s other line, the expandable Apple II series. It had an internal hard drive and a power supply with a fan, which was initially fairly loud. One third-party developer sold a device to regulate fan speed based on a heat sensor, but it voided the warranty. Later Macintosh computers had quieter power supplies and hard drives.

Apple continued to improve Macintosh software. In September of 1986 Apple introduced the Macintosh Programmer's Workshop, or MPW that allowed software developers to create software for Macintosh on Macintosh, rather than cross-developing from a Lisa. In August 1987 Apple unveiled HyperCard, and introduced MultiFinder, which added cooperative multitasking to the Macintosh. In the Fall Apple bundled both with every Macintosh.

Alongside the Macintosh II, the Macintosh SE was released, the first compact Mac with a 40 MB internal hard drive and one expansion slot. The SE also updated Jerry Manock and Terry Oyama's original design and shared the Macintosh II's “Snow White” design language, as well as the new Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) mouse and keyboard that had first appeared on the Apple IIGS some months earlier.

In 1987, Apple spun off its software business as Claris. It was given the code and rights to several applications that had been written within Apple, notably MacWrite, MacPaint, and MacProject. In the late 1980s, Claris released a number of revamped software titles; the result was the “Pro” series, including MacPaint Pro, MacDraw Pro, MacWrite Pro, and FileMaker Pro. To provide a complete office suite, Claris purchased the rights to the Informix Wingz spreadsheet on the Mac, renaming it Claris Resolve, and added the new presentation software Claris Impact. By the early 1990s, Claris applications were shipping with the majority of consumer-level Macintoshes and were extremely popular. In 1991, Claris released ClarisWorks, which soon became their second best-selling application. When Claris was reincorporated back into Apple in 1998, ClarisWorks was renamed AppleWorks beginning with version 5.0.

In 1988, Apple sued Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard on the grounds that they infringed Apple’s copyrighted GUI, citing (among other things) the use of rectangular, overlapping, and resizable windows. After four years, the case was decided against Apple, as were later appeals. Apple’s actions were criticized by some in the software community, including the Free Software Foundation (FSF), who felt Apple was trying to monopolize on GUIs in general, and boycotted GNU software for the Macintosh platform for seven years.

The Macintosh Portable was Apple's first portable Macintosh. It was available from 1989 to 1991 and could run System 6 and System 7.

With the new Motorola 68030 processor came the Macintosh IIx in 1988, which had benefited from internal improvements, including an on-board MMU. It was followed in 1989 by a more compact version with fewer slots (the Macintosh IIcx) and a version of the Mac SE powered by the 16 MHz 68030 (the Macintosh SE/30, breaking the existing naming convention to avoid the name "SEx"). Later that year, the Macintosh IIci, running at 25 MHz, was the first Mac to be “32-bit clean,” allowing it to natively support more than 8 MB of RAM, unlike its predecessors, which had “32-bit dirty” ROMs (8 of the 32 bits available for addressing were used for OS-level flags). System 7 was the first Macintosh operating system to support 32-bit addressing. Apple also introduced the Macintosh Portable, a 16 MHz 68000 machine with an active matrix flat panel display that was backlit on some models. The following year the Macintosh IIfx, starting at US$9,900, was unveiled. Apart from its fast 40 MHz 68030 processor, it had significant internal architectural improvements, including faster memory and two Apple II-era CPUs dedicated to I/O processing.

1990 to 1998: Growth and decline

The Macintosh Classic, Apple's early 1990s budget model.

Microsoft Windows 3.0, which began to approach the Macintosh operating system in both performance and feature set, was released in May 1990 and was a usable, less expensive alternative to the Macintosh platform. Apple's response was to introduce a range of relatively inexpensive Macs in October 1990. The Macintosh Classic, essentially a less expensive version of the Macintosh Plus, sold for US$999, making it the least expensive Mac until early 2001. The 68020-powered Macintosh LC, in its distinctive “pizza box” case, was available for US$1800; it offered color graphics and was accompanied by a new, low-cost 512 × 384 pixel monitor. The Macintosh IIsi, essentially a 20 MHz IIci with only one expansion slot, cost US$2500. All three machines sold well, although Apple’s profit margin was considerably lower than on earlier machines.

System 7 was the first major upgrade of the Macintosh operating system.

The year 1991 saw the much-anticipated release of System 7, a 32-bit rewrite of the Macintosh operating system that improved its handling of color graphics, memory addressing, networking, and co-operative multitasking, and introduced virtual memory. Later that year, Apple introduced the Macintosh Quadra 700 and 900, the first Macs to employ the faster Motorola 68040 processor. They were joined by improved versions of the previous year’s top sellers, the Macintosh Classic II and Macintosh LC II, which used a 16 MHz 68030 CPU. Also during this time, the Macintosh began to shed the "Snow White" design language, along with the expensive consulting fees they were paying to Frogdesign, in favor of bringing the work in-house by establishing the Apple Industrial Design Group to establish a new fresh look to go with the new operating system.

The PowerBook 100, 140 and 170 introduced a line of professional laptop Macs. They pioneered notebook ergonomics by placing the keyboard behind a palm rest.

In October 1991, the Macintosh Portable was replaced by the first three models in Apple’s enduring PowerBook range—the PowerBook 100, a miniaturized Portable; the 16 MHz 68030 PowerBook 140; and the 25 MHz 68030 PowerBook 170. They were the first portable computers with the keyboard behind a palm rest, and with a built-in pointing device (a trackball) in front of the keyboard.

In 1992, Apple started to sell a low-end Mac, the Performa, through nontraditional dealers. At Apple dealers, a mid-range version of the Quadra series called the Macintosh Centris was offered, only to be quickly renamed Quadra when buyers became confused by the range of Classics, LCs, IIs, Quadras, Performas, and Centrises. Apple also unveiled the miniaturized PowerBook Duo range. It was intended to be docked to a base station for desktop-like functionality in the workplace, and was sold until early 1997. In May 1994, Apple released the second-generation PowerBook models, the PowerBook 500 series, which introduced the novel trackpad.

Also in 1994, Apple abandoned Motorola CPUs for the RISC PowerPC architecture developed by the AIM alliance of Apple Computer, IBM, and Motorola. The Power Macintosh line, the first to use the new chips, proved to be highly successful, with over a million PowerPC units sold in nine months.

Despite these technical and commercial successes, Microsoft and Intel began to rapidly lower Apple's market share with the Windows 95 operating system and Pentium processors respectively. These significantly enhanced the multimedia capability and performance of IBM PC compatible computers, and brought Windows still closer to the Mac GUI. In response, Apple started the Macintosh clone program, by which third-parties manufactured hardware to run Apple's System 7. This succeeded in increasing the Macintosh's market share somewhat and provided cheaper hardware for consumers, but hurt Apple financially. As a result, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he ordered that the OS that had been previewed as version 7.7 be branded Mac OS 8. Since Apple had licensed only System 7 to third-parties, this move effectively ended the clone line. The decision caused significant financial losses for companies like Motorola and Power Computing which had invested substantial resources in creating their own Mac-compatible hardware.

1998 to 2005: New beginnings

The original "Bondi Blue" iMac G3, introduced in 1998. One of the first products produced under CEO Steve Jobs since he left the company in the mid eighties, it brought Apple back into profitability.
In 1998, a year after Steve Jobs had returned to the company, Apple introduced an all-in-one Macintosh called the iMac. Its translucent plastic case, originally Bondi blue and later many other colors, is considered an industrial design hallmark of the late 1990s. The iMac did away with most Apple standard (and usually proprietary) connections, such as SCSI and ADB, in favor of two USB ports. It proved to be phenomenally successful, with 800,000 units sold in 139 days, making the company an annual profit of US$309 million—Apple's first profitable year since Michael Spindler took over as CEO in 1995. The "blue and white" aesthetic was applied to the Power Macintosh, and then to a new product: the iBook. Introduced in July 1999, the iBook was Apple's first consumer-level laptop computer. More than 140,000 pre-orders were placed before it started shipping in September, and by October it was as much a sales hit as the iMac. Apple continued to add new products to their lineup, such as the eMac for the education market and PowerBook G4 laptop for professionals. The original iMac used a G3 processor, but the upgrades to G4 and then to G5 chips were accompanied by a new design, dropping the array of colors in favor of white plastic. Current iMacs use aluminum enclosures. On January 11, 2005, Apple announced the release of the Mac mini priced at US$499, the least expensive Mac to date.

Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard" is the latest in the long line of Macintosh operating systems, including numerous functionality and appearance changes.

Mac OS continued to evolve up to version 9.2.2, but its dated architecture—though retrofitted a few times (for example, as part of the PowerPC port, a nanokernel was added and Mac OS 8.6 was modified to support Multiprocessing Services 2.0 in Mac OS 8.6) - made a replacement necessary. As such, Apple introduced Mac OS X, a fully overhauled Unix-based successor to Mac OS 9, using Darwin, XNU, and Mach as foundations, and based on NEXTSTEP. Mac OS X was not released to the public until September 2000, as the Mac OS X Public Beta, with an Aqua interface. At US$29.99, it allowed adventurous Mac users to sample Apple’s new operating system and provide feedback for the actual release. The initial release of Mac OS X, 10.0 (nicknamed Cheetah), was released on March 24, 2001. Older Mac OS applications could still run under early Mac OS X versions, using an environment called Classic, but Apple has since removed Classic from the latest version of the operating system. Subsequent releases of Mac OS X were 10.1 "Puma", (September 25, 2001), 10.2 "Jaguar", (August 24, 2002), 10.3 "Panther", (October 24, 2003), 10.4 "Tiger", (April 29, 2005) and 10.5 "Leopard" (October 26, 2007). The Intel version of Leopard received certification as a Unix implementation by The Open Group.

2006 onward: Intel era

The MacBook Pro is the first Mac notebook to use an Intel processor. It was released at Macworld 2006.

The MacBook Air, Apple's latest Mac, dubbed "The world's thinnest notebook". It was released at Macworld 2008.

Partially because of a failure to produce laptop-ready G5 chips, Apple discontinued the use of PowerPC microprocessors in 2006. All new Macs now use x86 processors made by Intel, and some Macs were given new names to signify the switch. Intel-based Macs can run pre-existing PowerPC-based software using a virtual machine called Rosetta. With the release of Intel-based Mac computers, the potential to natively run Windows-based operating systems on Apple hardware without the need for emulation software such as Virtual PC was introduced. In March 2006, a group of hackers announced that they were able to run Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac. The group has released their software as open source and has posted it for download on their website. On April 5, 2006 Apple announced the public beta availability of their own Boot Camp software which will allow owners of Intel-based Macs to install Windows XP on their machines; later versions added support for Windows Vista. Boot Camp is now a standard feature.

In recent years, Apple has seen a significant boost in sales of Macs. Many claim that this is due, in part, to the success of the iPod, a halo effect whereby satisfied iPod owners purchase more Apple equipment. The iPod digital audio players have recaptured a brand awareness of the Mac line that had not been seen since its original release in 1984. From 2001 to 2007, Mac sales increased continuously on an annual basis. On October 22, 2007, Apple released its fourth quarter results, reporting shipment of 2,164,000 Mac - exceeding the previous company record for quarterly Macintosh shipments by over 400,000.

Timeline of Macintosh models

Product line

Ultracompact Consumer Professional 
Desktop Mac mini

Entry-level; ships without keyboard, mouse, or monitor; uses Intel Core 2 processors iMac

All-in-one; available in 20" and 24" screen sizes; uses Intel Core 2 processors Mac Pro

Workstation desktop; highly customizable with dual processors; uses dual- and quad-core Intel Xeon processors 
(MacBook) MacBook Air

13.3" ultraportable with aluminum casing; uses Intel Core 2 processors MacBook

13" laptop with polycarbonate casing; available in black and white; uses Intel Core 2 processors MacBook Pro

15.4" or 17" models with aluminum casing; uses Intel Core 2 processors 
Server n/a Xserve

1U rack-mount; uses dual-core Intel Xeon processors 

Hardware and software


Apple directly sub-contracts hardware production to Asian manufacturers, maintaining a high degree of control over the end product. By contrast, most other companies (including Microsoft) create software that can be run on a variety of third-party hardware. The current Mac product family uses Intel x86 processors. All Mac models ship with at least 1 GB RAM as standard. Current Mac computers use an ATI Radeon, nVidia GeForce or Intel GMA graphics cards and include either a Combo Drive, a DVD player and CD burner all-in-one; or the SuperDrive, a dual-function DVD and CD burner. Macs include two standard data transfer ports: USB and FireWire. USB was introduced in the 1998 iMac G3 and is ubiquitous today; FireWire is mainly reserved for high-performance devices such as hard drives or video cameras. Starting with a new iMac G5 released in October 2005, Apple started to include built-in iSight cameras to appropriate models, and a media center interface called Front Row that can be operated by remote control for accessing media stored on the computer.

The majority of Mac computers have historically shipped with a single-button mouse, largely because surveys showed users (at the time) didn't know which button to use. Although Microsoft's IntelliMouse, featuring two buttons and a scroll wheel, was introduced in 1995 to great success, Macs did not support more than one mouse button until Mac OS X arrived in 2001. Apple released the four-button Mighty Mouse in August 2005, and a wireless version in July 2006, and began to ship it with new desktop Macs.


Mac Book Macintosh laptop air computer 2008




The original Macintosh was the first successful computer to use a graphical user interface devoid of a command line. Instead it used a desktop metaphor, depicting real-world objects like documents and a trashcan as icons onscreen. The System Software, named Mac OS starting with version 7.6, continued to evolve until version 9.2.2. In 2001, Apple introduced Mac OS X, based on Darwin and NEXTSTEP; its new features included the Dock and the Aqua user interface. The most recent version is Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard". In addition to Leopard, all new Macs are bundled with assorted Apple-produced applications, including iLife, a trial of iWork, the Safari web browser and the iTunes media player.

The Macintosh operating system enjoys a near-absence of the types of malware and spyware that affect Microsoft Windows users. This is due to both Mac OS X's UNIX roots and smaller user base. Both of these factors drive malware creators to develop for Windows. However, worms as well as potential vulnerabilities were noted in February 2006, which led some industry analysts and anti-virus companies to issue warnings that Apple's Mac OS X is not immune to viruses, as is commonly misconceived. Regardless, there has not been an outbreak of Mac malware, and Apple routinely issues security updates for its software.

Originally, the hardware architecture was so closely tied to Mac OS that it was impossible to boot an alternative operating system. The most common workaround, used even by Apple for A/UX, was to boot into Mac OS and then to give control to a boot loader program. This technique is not necessary on Open Firmware-based PCI Macs, though it was formerly used for convenience on many Old World ROM systems due to bugs in the firmware implementation. Now, Mac hardware boots directly from Open Firmware or EFI, and Macs are no longer limited to running just Mac OS. Following the release of Intel-based Mac, third-party virtualization software such as Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, and Crossover Mac began to emerge, allowing users to run much of the previously Windows-only software on a Mac. Apple also released Boot Camp, which allows users to run Windows XP or Vista natively on any Intel-based Mac. Because Mac OS X is less common than Microsoft Windows, less third-party software is available, although popular applications such as Microsoft Office, are usually cross-platform and special versions can run without emulation.


Macintosh advertisements have usually attacked the established market leader, directly or indirectly. They tend to portray the Mac as an alternative to overly complex or unreliable PCs. Apple hyped the introduction of the original Mac with the now-famous 1984 commercial, which aired during the Super Bowl. It was supplemented by a number of printed pamphlets and other TV ads demonstrating the new interface and emphasizing the mouse. Many more brochures for new models like the Macintosh Plus and the Performa followed. In the 1990s Apple started the “What's on your PowerBook?” campaign, with print ads and television commercials featuring celebrities describing how the PowerBook helps them in their businesses and everyday lives. In 1995, Apple responded to the introduction of Windows 95 with several print ads and a television commercial demonstrating its disadvantages and lack of innovation. In 1997 the Think Different campaign introduced Apple’s new slogan, and in 2002 the Switch campaign followed. The most recent advertising strategy by Apple is the Get a Mac campaign, with North American, UK and Japanese variants.

Today, Apple focuses much of its advertising efforts around “special events”, and keynotes at conferences like the MacWorld Expo and the Apple Expo. The events typically draw a large gathering of media representatives and spectators. In the past, special events have been used to unveil its desktop and notebook computers such as the iMac and MacBook, and other consumer electronic devices like the iPod, Apple TV, and iPhone.

Market share and demographics

Since the introduction of the Macintosh, Apple has struggled to gain a significant share of the personal computer market. At first, the Macintosh 128K suffered from a dearth of available software compared to IBM's PC, resulting in disappointing sales in 1984 and 1985. It took 74 days for 50,000 units to sell.

By 1997, there were more than 20 million Mac users, compared to an installed base of around 340 million Windows PCs. Statistics from late 2003 indicate that Apple had 2.06 percent of the desktop share in the United States, which had increased to 2.88 percent by Q4 2004. As of October 2006, research firms IDC and Gartner reported that Apple's market share in the U.S. had increased to about 6 percent. Figures from December 2006, showing a market share around 6 percent (IDC) and 6.1 percent (Gartner) are based on a more than 30 percent increase in unit sale from 2005 to 2006. The installed base of Mac computers is hard to determine, with numbers ranging from a conservative 3 percent to an optimistic 16 percent.

Whether the size of the Mac’s market share and installed base is actually relevant, and to whom, is a hotly debated issue. Industry pundits have often called attention to the Mac’s relatively small market share to predict Apple's impending doom, particularly in the early and mid 1990s when the company’s future seemed bleakest. Others argue that market share is the wrong way to judge the Mac’s success. Apple has positioned the Mac as a higher-end personal computer, and so it may be misleading to compare it to a low-budget PC. Because the overall market for personal computers has grown rapidly, the Mac’s increasing sales numbers are effectively swallowed by the industry’s numbers as a whole. Apple’s small market share, then, gives the false impression that fewer people are using Macs than did (for example) ten years ago. Others try to de-emphasize market share, citing that it's rarely brought up in other industries. Regardless of the Mac’s market share, Apple has remained profitable since Steve Jobs’ return and the company’s subsequent reorganization.

Market research indicates that Apple draws its customer base from a higher-income demographic than the mainstream PC market. Higher income theoretically correlates with greater artistic, creative, and well-educated social behaviors, which may explain the platform’s visibility within certain youthful, avant-garde subcultures. Steve Jobs speculates that “maybe a little less” than half of Apple’s customers are Republicans, “maybe more Dell than ours.” This perception may or may not be accurate - several prominent conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, are Mac users - but it can only be reinforced by the company's pattern of political donations, by Al Gore’s membership on its board, and surely not least by Jobs’ own personal history.

Effects on the technology industry

Over the years, the Macintosh has introduced new ideas and technologies, both hardware and software, to the personal computer market. Many such innovations were implemented into non-Macintosh computers by other companies, causing the technology industry to quickly adopt these new features. Some of these were eventually dropped as they became outmoded, but others are still in widespread use.

The Macintosh 128K was the first successful commercial implementation of a computer based on the "graphical-user-interface" and mouse concepts developed by Xerox PARC. Mac OS's original mouse commands, like double-clicking and drag-and-drop, are still in use in most operating systems. It included software that allowed for now-standard features including “what you see is what you get” word processing, and long file names that permitted whitespace and did not require a file extension. The 128K had speakers and an output jack, and supported printers, and modems.

The Macintosh Plus successfully introduced the SCSI interface in 1986. The Macintosh IIsi and the Macintosh LC introduced standard audio in and out ports in 1990. The Macintosh was able to support multiple monitors as far back as 1988, a full ten years before Windows 98 supported dual monitors. The Macintosh was also the first personal computer to have virtual memory in 1988 using software literally called Virtual, a Connectix product. In 1998, the iMac G3 abolished all then-standard connections in favor of Universal Serial Bus, now seen on almost all personal computers. A later revision also used FireWire, a high-speed data transfer bus now popular in media-editing computers and digital video cameras. The iMac also had no floppy disk drive, causing many third parties to market external drives.

Apple has also contributed to the field of mobile computing. The PowerBook 100, 140, and 170 set the ergonomic standard for the placement of the keyboard in 1991 by moving the keyboard behind a palm rest area, rather than right at the bottom edge of the laptop. The PowerBook 100 series also featured the first built-in pointing device on a laptop: a trackball. The PowerBook Duo also introduced the idea of a dock/port replicator in 1992. One of the most significant features pioneered by the Macintosh PowerBook lineup was the first true touchpad as a pointing device on the PowerBook 500 in 1994; today, most laptops rely on it as their pointing device. More recently, the PowerBook G4 became the first full-size laptop computer to feature a widescreen display, and in 2003 the first laptop with a 17-inch (430 mm) display, and in 2004 it became the first laptop to provide dual-link DVI. The Wi-Fi Alliance's wireless networking standard IEEE 802.11b was implemented in the Macintosh portable lines in 1999; Apple also began production of their AirPort base stations at that time.





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