Macintosh Evolution

Macintosh Evolution

On January 24, 1984, Apple released its first Apple Macintosh system––the Macintosh 128k. The Macintosh 128k, a personal computer, cost $2,495 at the time (equivalent to about $5,664 today) and had a keyboard, a mouse, and a 9-inch monitor. Since then, Apple has released hundreds of Macintosh Systems––from the iBook and Powerbook to the iMac and Macbook Air. 

This Silk will use data from the EveryMac database to trace the Macintosh Evolution from 1984 to the present. 

Macintosh 128k

Macintosh Visualized 

Apple has created hundreds of Macintosh systems over the years. As of today, over 1000 Macintosh systems have been released. Each and every system has a unique case type––whether it is desktop, tower, cuboid, handheld, portable, or an “all-in-one” personal computer. 

Check out all Macintosh systems created by Apple below. Use the dropdown menu to filter Macintosh systems by case type or release year.

Explore more Macintosh systems by visiting the Macs Visualized page.

Macintosh Creation: Yearly Overview

The year 1997 is an outlier. During that year there was a surge in the number of Macintosh systems released by Apple. This can be explained by looking at Apple's history.

In 1997, Gil Amelio, the CEO of Apple at the time, was ousted after a bad quarter. He was then replaced by Steve Jobs, who served as Apple’s CEO until August 2011.

The period between 1997 - 2001 is considered as Apple’s “comeback,” whereby Steve Jobs worked hard to rebrand Apple by launching the “Think Different” campaign, striking a partnership with Microsoft, introducing the first iMac and, later, the Power Mac––the world’s fastest computer at the time. 

Total Number of Macintosh Systems Released, by year. (1984-present)

Source: EveryMac.

Case Types of Macintosh Systems

The majority of Macintosh systems that have been released have a "tower" case type, pictured below. Notebooks, otherwise referred to as laptops, make up about 25% (252) of Macintosh systems released by Apple since 1984. Followed by desktops, 15.6% (158). 

Number of Macintosh Systems released by apple, by Case Type. (1984-present)

Source: EveryMac.

Percentage of Macintosh Systems released by apple, by Case Type

Source: EveryMac.







Source: EveryMac.

Top-5 Processors Released by Apple 

Source: EveryMac.

Diagram of Symmetric Multiprocessing 

Source: Wikipedia.

As demonstrated by this graph, the majority of Macintosh Systems created by Apple have had the “200 MHz PowerPC 604e” processor. At the time, it was Apple’s first processor offering symmetric multiprocessing. 

PowerPC 604e Processor 

Source: Wikimedia 

Portable Macintosh: Then and Now

The truth of the matter is, many of the Macintosh systems' case types are no longer created by Apple. With the advent of laptops, many have forgotten about desktops or tower computers.

The picture on the left shows Apple's first laptop––the Powerbook 100. At the time, it was an estimated 5.1 pounds. The picture on the right is of the latest Macbook, weighing about 2.03 pounds. 

Powerbook 100. (1991)

Original Price: $2500 US 

Processor: 16 MHz 68HC000

Battery: Lead-Acid

Built-in Screen: 9” Monochrome

Macbook. (2015)

Original Price: $1099 US 

Processor: 1.1GHz

Battery: 55 W h Li-Poly

Built-in Screen: 13.3" Widescreen

Over the years, Apple has transformed the "Mac"––from the creation of the 128k Macintosh desktop computer to the release of one of the world's thinnest and lightest laptops. 

Watch this evolution unfold by watching thirty years of Mac advertisements––from 1984 to 2014. 

Thirty Years of Mac Advertisements 

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