Happy birthday, Mac: How far we’ve come

Yesterday was the 27th birthday of the Mac computer, as described in the blog The Apple Core on ZDNet.com, one of my favorite resources for Web industry news.

When the Mac came out in 1983, it was revolutionary because it had a “graphic” interface. That means the screen was 9 inches square, 512 by 342 pixels, and displayed in black and white.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the iMac I’m working on right now, which I bought in February 2009, and compare statistics. Here we go:

1983 Mac 2009 iMac
Screen size 9 inches square 24 x 12.5 inches
Resolution 512 x 342 pixels 1600 x 1000 pixels
Display Black & white Color
Drive 3.5″ floppy drive;
400k memory
Hard drive
1 terabyte (1,000 GB)
RAM 128 KB 4 GB
Mouse 1 button 4 programmable buttons
List price $2,495 $2,635

My, how times have changed!

No matter what brand of personal computer you use, it is simply amazing to look back and see the developments in computer science. Things that could only be seen on “Star Trek” are now part of the daily routine: flip open your cell phone, transmit a book’s worth of data in a second, search massive databases to get results in minutes.

I still marvel at my new iPod Nano that’s less than 2 inches square, remembering how we used to get food crates to haul around our album collections. And how important it was to have giant speakers for your stereo, and plenty of speaker wire so you could strategically place them around your dorm room or apartment. I guess that really dates me!