Back to Mobile View

Skip to Content

TUAW Deals

A 1984 view of the Mac: It's a 'calculated risk.' IBM will remain the standard

New technological advances are often accompanied by a chorus of naysayers who, for whatever reason, are so fixated on the status quo that they can't possibly fathom anything different from taking hold.

As a company with a number of game-changing products to its name, Apple is all too familiar with these naysayers who are so often focused on what a new product lacks that they often ignore the potential it creates. We saw it with the iPad; we saw it with the iPhone; and we saw it with the iPod. But apprehension and skepticism of Apple's technological innovations existed long before Apple began attaching the "i" prefix to its products.

Even the original a Mac, a product that completely leapfrogged the competition and catalyzed a computing revolution, wasn't immune from the skeptical glare of critics.

Case in point, this NPR broadcast from January 25, 1984, recorded just one day after the Mac was introduced. Writer Peter McWilliams, author of The Personal Computer Book (published in 1982), called the Macintosh "a mistake."

The program features an interview with computer expert McWilliams who espouses a pessimistic take on Apple that we still see today.

What you get is a screen, a 9 inch screen, you get a keyboard without any numeric keypad on it, you get 128k of ram, which is internal disk storage, and you get a 3.5 inch disk drive. A great deal of this stuff is non-standard.

...

The standard is 5 and a quarter inch, and they've made a corporate decision that the 3.5 inch drive is going to make it. i don't see it myself. This whole computer is a calculated risk on Apple's part. If the world is ready to accept a brand new standard, this machine will make it. If it's not, the machine won't make it. And it will have certain specialized applications like in architectural firms and so forth. But on the whole, it's gambling that the world is ready to accept a new standard. My personal point of view is that the world is not. The standard for personal computers is the IBM standard and it will continue to remain such for quite some time.

Has anyone ever bet against Steve Jobs and won?

© 2014 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.