In the chilly winter of January, 1984, one man walked into a packed room and introduces Apple’s Macintosh to a thundering response. It was Steve Jobs who was at the receiving end of all the applause, and the video of Apple’s demonstration of its breakthrough personal computer continues to inspire everyone to this day.
The legendary demonstration was held at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting at the Flint Center inside the De Anza College campus in Cupertino. The campus was situated near the company’s Cupertino office and an ideal venue for the launch. A week after the shareholder demonstration Steve Jobs did the demonstration again at the Boston Computer Society monthly meeting for Apple’s end user base.
The two meetings had the same demonstration with Steve Jobs playing the host on both the occasions. What differed was the audience who was seated across him, totally hung on to every word he spoke. The Cupertino audience was mainly comprised of the shareholders and investors of Apple. Towards the end of the meeting, the shareholders were apprised about the financial health and other aspects related to the operations of the company as well.
The Boston meeting was all about presenting Macintosh to prospective buyers and the entire demonstration was open to the general public. The video of this presentation day is readily available on YouTube and has been watched many times. This particular meeting of 1984 at BCS was an opportunity for Apple and Steve Jobs to demonstrate the capabilities of its Mac computers to the public.
However, the hitherto unseen Cupertino meeting video comes out to be far clearer and the entire presentation seems to be far more polished. Running close to ninety minutes, the video was extracted from forgotten archives of a videographer by a Time reporter McCraken. He managed to track down the exclusive yet elusive tape and bought it out for the world to witness Steve Jobs in action once again.
Chasing the video, McCracken landed up at the doorstep of a Boston-area videographer. The original tapes in his possession were recorded in a now defunct format called U-matic. It was found intact within the storage unit of the videographer and was probably taken to an expert for converting into current formats.
McCracken clarified that it was fortunate that the production values of the video was well preserved. The clarity that it projects gives the viewers a clean cut of the day’s proceedings. The other version available on the internet of the BCS meeting and of the Cupertino meeting itself does have issues in quality at several instances.
January 24th 1984, will forever be part of Apple history as it was from this day Macintosh went on to bring great success to Apple and Steve Jobs was on his way to become the legend, who would enthrall the world with his innovative iPod, iPhone and iPad two decades later .
Steve Jobs may have left Apple for his heavenly commitments; however, his persona and speech experienced from the video of the 1984 Macintosh demonstration still leaves many in awe. The video has been watched and re-watched several times by people all over the world and it continues to inspire many to “Think Different”.
By Daris Abraham