Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

The Macintosh (often called "the Mac") was the first widely-sold personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) and a mouse. Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh in an ad during Super Bowl XVIII, on January 22, 1984, and offered it for sale two days later.

The Mac was designed to provide users with a natural, intuitively understandable, and, in general, "user-friendly" computer interface. Many of the user interface ideas in the Macintosh derived from experiments at the Xerox Parc laboratory in the early 1970s, including the mouse, the use of icons to represent objects or actions, the point-and-click and click-and-drag actions, and a number of window operation ideas. Microsoft successfully adapted these user interface concepts for its first Windows operating system.

The Macintosh runs on its own operating system, Mac OS (currently Mac OS X). The Mac originally ran on Motorola's 68000 series microprocessors and then moved to the PowerPC processor. Current models use Intel x86 processors.

The Macintosh product line includes:

  • iMac
  • Mac mini
  • Mac Pro tower
  • MacBook
  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook Pro laptops
  • Xserve server

See an image of the first Mac, some features and the commercial that introduced it.

This was last updated in January 2009
Contributor(s): Steve Mullany and John C. Watson
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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