Here comes the eMac

In April 2002, Apple renewed its attention to the educational market with a new, exclusive Macintosh model. eMacBuilding upon the success of the iMac, engineers and designers in Infinite Loop created the eMac, a new desktop all-in-one Macintosh with a 17-inch flat CRT monitor and a PowerPC G4 processor housed in a compact and curved white case.

The move followed Apple’s decision to radically change the look of the iMac, which in January 2002 not only abandoned the G3 CPU but acquired a flat panel screen perched on a white matte half-dome, with the effect of looking like a lamp (or a sunflower, according to Apple’s designer, Jonathan Ive). The previous iMac line was discontinued except for some lower spec models which were kept available until March 2003. (more…)

Tuesday 03 April 2012, 9:15 pm
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Introducing the iPod

Filed under: Design,Hardware

Ten years ago Apple introduced the original iPod.

Here is Steve Jobs’ presentation during the first Apple Music Event:

The promotional video that followed the announcement:

The first TV ad:

The interactive QuickTime VR movie:

All contents are “courtesy of Apple”.

Friday 21 October 2011, 2:00 pm
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A Mac in Graffiti Bridge

There’s a Macintosh in Prince’s 1990 Graffiti Bridge movie.
It can be seen twice: at the beginning, during the first scene, and again at the end, during the end titles.

A Mac in Graffiti Bridge 01 zoomIn both instances it is being used by Prince to write and/or edit music. Prince, or rather “The Kid”, the character he plays, keeps the computer in his living quarters located just under the stage of the “Glam Slam”, the club of he is the (fictional) owner in Graffiti Bridge.

Although the Mac is always shown in mid-darkness and the camera closes up only on the screen (more on that later) but it’s clearly a compact Macintosh and considering when Graffiti Bridge was released, in November 1990, the list of possible models is pretty much easy to narrow.

We can immediately cross out the Mac Classic because it was introduced in October of 1990, just one before the movie showed up in theaters. Another model we can exclude is the original Mac, released in 1984, which was too old and frankly too underpowered for a serious musical use. The same is probably true for the “Fat Mac”, from 1985 which just had more RAM memory.

This leaves us just very few choices. Three actually: a Plus, a SE or a SE/30.
(more…)

Tuesday 01 March 2011, 2:12 pm
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Jack of all Apple trades – Interview with Bill Fernandez

Filed under: Hardware,People,Software

Bill Fernandez todayBill Fernandez describes himself as an “User Interface Architect” but he is much, much more. Being one of the first employees he has contributed immensely to Apple’s growth and development in various areas and has helped in the development of the Apple I, II and of course of the Macintosh.

We contacted him and he graciously and provided us with answers to our questions, covering in the process quite a big chunk of Apple’s history and also revealing interesting tidbits about his contribution to some well-known products, for which we thank him.

Stories of Apple: At Apple you worked as a hardware engineer, software developer, interface designer, project manager. Would you tell us more in detail a bit about all of your various roles?

Bill Fernandez: Shortly after Woz and Jobs incorporated Apple as a formal company they hired me as an Electronic Technician. Initially I worked in the garage of the Jobs family home where Steve’s dad had set up some workbenches for us. Later we moved into our first office on Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino, CA, and then to our first Apple building on Bandley Drive, also in Cupertino. Over that time period I did a wide variety of technical tasks to assist and augment the efforts of the engineers and managers we werer rapidly hiring. For example:

  • I ran a lot of errands.
  • I built a burn-in box for the Apple I circuit boards (we’d put a dozen computer boards in a box that kept them hot while running so as to force any that were likely to fail early in their lives to fail in the first couple of days so we could fix them and insure that they’d be reliable once we shipped them).
  • I drew the first complete schematic of the Apple II on drafting vellum so that we could make blueprint copies for everyone that needed them.
  • When we received the first printed circuit boards for the Apple II, I assembled the first one.
  • I built a burn-in box for the Apple II circuit boards.
  • I modified a TV set to accept direct input from an Apple II.
  • I taught Jobs how to use super glue to attach a speaker to the Apple II base plate (the secret is to use an extremely thin coating of the glue).
  • And lots of other things.

Bill Fernandez signature inside the Mac 128kAfter about a year and a half I left Apple, then returned in October of 1981 to become about the fifteenth member of the Macintosh development team, and stayed at Apple for the next twelve years.
Happily, I was given my old employee number (number 4), and my new title was “Member of Technical Staff”. Again I was a general technical resource and jack-of-all-trades, but this time at a higher level.
My role shifted as the needs of the group evolved. I laid out the floorplan for the first dedicated Macintosh building and coordinated our move into it. I kept the engineering lab stocked with tools, parts, and equipment. I managed a technician.
When we needed someone to oversee the development of the first external disk drive I became the project manager for that product, managing all the engineering work, travelling to Japan to work with Sony, working with the plastic molding company and so forth.
(more…)

Wednesday 12 January 2011, 6:00 pm
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Get unwired (and play) with Airport

The Airport technology was introduced in 1999 but only during the following year Apple managed to have all of the Macintosh line officially capable to use WiFi networking.

Logo AirportIn 2000 not only iBooks but also iMacs, PowerBooks and Power Macs supported an internal Airport card and could connect to Apple’s Airport Base using the 802.11b standard.

To showcase the possibilities of wireless networking Apple put online a demo, a small game in QuickTime made by Greg Gilman using LiveStage Pro (according to the movie properties). The game showed the plan of a flat and, on the left, three big buttons.

You could click the first button to choose a Mac and then drag it to the diagram on the right while clicking the second button and dragging you could add AirPort cards to the Macs.

Finally, a click to the third button, would show an Airport Base: as soon as it was dropped anywhere inside of the house (or even outside, which was unrealistic) the demo would show the transmitting waves of WiFi transmission.

The Internet Archive has copies of Apple’s website including the Airport Demo page but the QuickTime Movie is missing.

Fortunately if you search a bit you can find a copy of just the .mov file on a third party website so that ten years after you can still “Get unwired” and play with Apple’s Airport technology.

The Airport logo and Apple.com website are “Courtesy of Apple”.

Tuesday 07 September 2010, 2:50 pm
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