Macintosh, often known by its nickname Mac, is a brand name used for the line of personal computers developed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was released in January 1984. The beginning of Macintosh projects dates back to the late '70s. It was Jef Raskin, a human computer interface expert from America and Apple's employee, who came up with the idea of an easy-to-use computer for common consumer use. The name Macintosh is derived from McIntosh, an apple cultivar popular in New England, United States. And it is Jef Raskin's favorite apple variety!
In late 1979, Raskin began hiring engineers for his project of building an easy-to-use and low-cost computer. Bill Atkinson, an American computer engineer and employee of Apple, introduced Raskin to Burrell Smith, a service technician working with Apple Computers, who would later design the digital board for Macintosh. Raskin soon got together a team of engineers and technicians to develop the software and hardware for Macintosh. By the end of 1980, Burrell Smith came up with a board that used the 68000 processor, operated at a speed of 8 MHz and supported a 384x256 pixel display. The board required less number of RAM chips, making it cost-effective. The final design of Mac used the QuickDraw picture language and interpreter and came with an expandable RAM. It featured a 512x342 pixel monochrome display.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, found this design promising and hence decided to focus on this project. Unfortunately, the views of Raskin conflicted with those of Jobs and Raskin left the project in 1981. The final Mac design is believed to have evolved from Job's ideas more than from Raskin's. Ironically, the man who conceptualized Macintosh was not a part of the project at the time of its successful completion.
In October 1983, the Macintosh 128k was announced. By January 1984, the first Macintosh was in the markets. It came packaged with MacWrite, a word processor application and MacPaint, a painting software program. The development continued through 1985 up to 1998. This period witnessed both the popularity of Macintosh and also a decline in its growth. Microsoft and Intel dominated the computer market in the 1990s, causing a fall in the popularity of Apple. However, the return of Jobs, who had resigned from Apple in 1985, and the introduction of iMac, a series of desktop computers, which was a huge success, revived the popularity of Apple. This revival promised Macintosh a bright future.