The Apple Macintosh 2
The Apple Macintosh 2 – 1987
Macintosh II line
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 the 16 MHz 68020 processor.
Above: Apple Color Macintosh 2
This marked the start of a new direction for the Apple Macintosh. The new machine had an open architecture with several expansion slots. There was support for colour 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.
Alongside the Apple Macintosh 2, the Macintosh SE was released, the first compact Mac with an internal expansion slot. The SE shared the Apple Macintosh 2’s “Snow White” design language, as well as the new Apple Desktop Bus mouse and keyboard that had first appeared on the Apple IIGS some months earlier.
Apple added the 68030 in the Macintosh IIx in 1988, which benefited from internal improvements, including an on-board MMU. It was followed in 1989 by a more compact version with fewer slots, in the Macintosh IIcx, and a version of the Mac SE powered by the 16 MHz 68030 in the Macintosh SE/30.
Later that year, the Apple Macintosh 2ci, 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.
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. The following year the 40 MHz Macintosh IIfx, starting at about US$9,900, was unveiled. Apart from its fast processor, it had significant internal architectural improvements, including faster memory and a pair of dedicated 6502 CPUs for I/O processing.
Above: Microsoft Windows 3.0
Microsoft releases Windows 3.0 in May 1990. Windows had similar performance and features set. It was a 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 SE, sold for US$999, making it the least expensive Mac until the re-release of the 400 MHz iMac in February 2001.
The 68020-powered Macintosh LC, in its distinctive “pizza box” case, was available for US$1800; it offered colour 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.
1991 saw the much-anticipated release of System 7, a 32-bit rewrite of the Macintosh operating system that improved its handling of colour graphics, memory addressing, networking, and co-operative multitasking, and introduced virtual memory.
In 1999, Apple introduced OS X Server 1.0, codenamed Rhapsody, with a new GUI and powerful Unix underpinnings. Its NeXT-like GUI left many Mac users disappointed, and wondering what the next generation of the Mac OS GUI would look like. Mac OS X was based on OPENSTEP, the operating system developed by Steve Jobs’ post-Apple company, NeXT. Mac OS X was not released to the public until September 2000, as the Mac OS X Public Beta, with an Aqua interface, much different from Mac OS X Server 1.x. It cost US$29.99 and allowed adventurous Mac users to sample Apple’s new operating system and provide feedback to the company on what they wanted to see in the actual release.
In mid-1999, Apple introduced the iBook, a new consumer-level, portable Macintosh that was designed to be similar in appearance to the iMac that had been introduced a year earlier. Six weeks after the iBook’s unveiling, more than 140,000 orders had been placed, and by October the computer was as much a sales hit as the iMac. Apple continued to add new products to their lineup, such as the eMac and PowerBook G4, as well make two major upgrades of the iMac. On January 11, 2005, Apple announced the release of the Mac mini priced at US$499, the least expensive Mac to date.
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 Macintosh line that had not been seen since its original release in 1984. From 2001 to 2005, Macintosh sales increased continuously on an annual basis. On October 11, 2005, Apple released its fourth quarter results, reporting shipment of 1,236,000 Macintoshes, a 48% increase from the same quarter the previous year. Starting with the introduction of the iMac Core Duo and the MacBook Pro on January 10, 2006, Apple has gradually switched from PowerPC microprocessors to microprocessors manufactured by Intel. Apple completed that transition on August 7, 2006 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, with the introduction of the Mac Pro.