On the 14th of September, 1992 Apple Computer introduced a new family of Macintosh computers targeting the consumer marketplace. Initially available only in the U.S., the new series of computers were “designed to reach first-time buyers and new users in the home, offering specific solutions for families with school-age children”. Every Macintosh Performa included “enhanced system software, pre-loaded applications [such as ClarisWorks], one year of service and support”, and were to be “distributed in nearly 2,000 consumer retail outlets nationwide”. It was a bold but ultimately unsuccesful move to expand market share by offering an affordable entry into the Macintosh world, rebranding older and low power systems with a new name. The Performas were based on preexisting Macintoshes, although not all of them were exact copies and some even had their own code names.
The initial 1992 Performa family consisted of three models: the Macintosh Performa 200, Macintosh Performa 400 and the Macintosh Performa 600/600 CD. All of them were shipped installed with an optimized version of System 7 called System 7.1P, “designed to make using the Macintosh even easier for first-time computer buyers”.
The Performa 200, code named “Lady Kenmore”, was basically a Macintosh Classic II, released one year after the original and bundled with a 2400/9600 baud fax/modem and extra software. It was discontinued in April 1993, one month after Apple introduced its successor, the Performa 250, which was based on the Macintosh Color Classic.
The Performa 400 was a lowly Macintosh LC II, originally released six months before, in March. Bundled with several different hard drives and software, and rereleased in four variants as the Performa 400, 405, 410, and 430, it unfortunately had the same shortcomings of the LC II, i.e. the LC’s 16-bit data path, which crippled the speed of the relatively fast 16 MHz 68030 processor.
The Performas 600 and 600CD had the look and were based on the motherboard of the Macintosh IIvi but were released a bit later in the consumer market, and sported the IIvx’s 68030 32 MHz processor. The Performa 600 CD were among the first Macintoshes with an internal CD-ROM drive which could read data, play audio discs and also supported Kodak’s Photo CD technology.
The last batch of Performas was introduced in 1996 and discontinued during 1997 and early 1998. Among the last ones was also the first and only original model ever released, the Performa 6400, which had a new tower case design. It was Apple’s first consumer-aimed mid-range computer and had optional A/V capabilities: its innards were also used for the Performa 6360.
The Performa 200 picture is © Maja Vervoort, which has kindly authorized the reproduction alongside this text.
In April 2002, Apple renewed its attention to the educational market with a new, exclusive Macintosh model. Building 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…)
Jay Elliot has been part of Apple during its first incredible growth, in the early Eighties. He met Steve Jobs in a restaurant and was offered a job, where he became a Senior Vice President
The rest, as they say, is history, and Elliot has chronicled those years and his thoughts about Steve Jobs and Product Marketing in “The Steve Jobs Way”, a book he cowrote with William L. Simon.
I had the chance to speak a bit with him during his promotional tour for the italian edition, which was published by Hoepli.
Stories of Apple: How long were you at Apple?
Jay Elliot: I was at Apple from 1980 to 1986. Late part of 1980 to the late part of 1986.
Introduced on the stage by Steve Jobs during the May 1999 WWDC Keynote, the “Mac OS Anthology” was a collection of many Mac OS operating systems to aid (registered) third party developers in testing their software for compatibility.
It was presented originally in the form of a boxset of 4 DVDs which included all of the releases of the Macintosh operating systems since System 7 ’til the current one which at the time was Mac OS 8.5.
The DVDs were chosen for their archival capacity and featured all of the international localizations of the systems, up to 25 languages.
According to Applefritter the back of the first four DVDs reads:
Worldwide System Software for Developers
From System 7 to Mac OS 8.5 and beyond
This DVD-ROM set is the first DVD offering from the Apple Developer Connection. The DVD format was selected because it delivers so much useful data on one convenient and easy-to-use medium. This collection is designed to assist you in extending your product’s reach into international markets and environments.
From an archived copy of the Apple website we also know the sale price: 199 USD, and just 149 for those ADC members who ordered a copy before May 14. In 2000 the price was discounted to just 99 dollars.
Volumes 5 and 6 were devoted to Mac OS 8.6, just introduced at the aforementioned 1999 WWDC so the contents of the DVDs, which by the way are not bootable, at the end of the year became as follows:
Disc 1: 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.5, 7.5.3, 7.5.5 Update, 7.6.1, OS 8.0
– Disc 2: OS 8 (continued), OS 8.1
– Disc 3: OS 8.1 (continued)
– Disc 4: OS 8.1 (continued), OS 8.5, OS 8.5.1
– Disc 5: OS 8.6
– Disc 6: OS 8.6 (continued)
Later, in February of 2000 Apple offered to ADC developers two more volumes for Mac OS 9 (in 15 languages) collecting the other four in a new, second boxset labeled “2000 edition”.
After that, in 2001, the Mac OS Anthology again grew to include two more DVDs. These were to be the last additions, featuring Mac OS 9.0.4, 9.1 and the first Mac OS X and brought the grand total to 10 discs.
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.
In 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.