When it was over, Jobs smiled and offered a treat. “We’ve done a lot of talking about Macintosh recently,” he said. “But today, for the first time ever, I’d like to let Macintosh speak for itself.” With that, he strolled back over to the computer, pressed the button   on the mouse, and in a vibrato but endearing electronic deep voice, Macintosh became the first computer to introduce itself. “Hello. I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag,” it began. The only thing it didn’t seem to know how to do was to wait for the wild cheering and shrieks thatRead More →

It was a sensation. That evening all three networks and fifty local stations aired news stories about the ad, giving it a viral life unprecedented in the pre–YouTube era. It would eventually be selected by both TV Guide and Advertising Age as   the greatest commercial of all time. Publicity Blast Over the years Steve Jobs would become the grand master of product launches. In the case of the Macintosh, the astonishing Ridley Scott ad was just one of the ingredients. Another part of the recipe was media coverage. Jobs found ways to ignite blasts of publicity that were so powerful the frenzy would feedRead More →

Sculley was initially skeptical when he saw the storyboards, but Jobs insisted that they needed something revolutionary. He was able to get an unprecedented budget of $750,000 just to film the ad, which they planned to premiere during the Super Bowl.     Ridley Scott made it in London using dozens of real skinheads among the enthralled masses listening to Big Brother on the screen. A female discus thrower was chosen to play the heroine. Using a cold industrial setting dominated by metallic gray hues, Scott   evoked the dystopian aura of Blade Runner. Just at the moment when Big Brother announces “We shall prevail!”Read More →

Jobs liked that. Indeed the concept for the ad had a special resonance for him. He fancied himself a rebel, and he liked to associate himself with the values of the ragtag band of hackers and pirates he recruited to the Macintosh group. Even though   he had left the apple commune in Oregon to start the Apple corporation, he still wanted to be viewed as a denizen of the counterculture rather than the corporate culture. But he also realized, deep inside, that he had increasingly abandoned the hacker spirit. Some might even accuse him of selling out. When Wozniak held true to the HomebrewRead More →

The “1984” AdIn the spring of 1983, when Jobs had begun to plan for the Macintosh launch, he asked for a commercial that was as revolutionary and astonishing as the product they had created. “I want something that will stop     people in their tracks,” he said. “I want a thunderclap.” The task fell to the Chiat/Day advertising agency, which had acquired the Apple account when it bought the advertising side of Regis McKenna’s business. The person put in charge was a lanky beach bum with a bushy beard, wild hair, goofy grin, and twinkling eyes named Lee Clow, who was the creative directorRead More →

The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?” At that moment a screen came down from the ceiling and showed a preview of an upcoming sixty-second television ad for the Macintosh. In a few months it was destined to make advertising history, but in the meantime it served its purpose of rallying Apple’s demoralized sales force. Jobs had always been able to draw energy by imagining himself as a rebel pitted against the forces of darkness. Now he was able to energize his troops with the same vision.   Jobs was at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, preparing for the press previews, soRead More →

Belleville decided it was best to partially ignore Jobs, and he asked a Sony executive to get its disk drive ready for use in the Macintosh. If and when it became clear that Alps could not deliver on time, Apple would switch to Sony. So Sony sent over the engineer   who had developed the drive, Hidetoshi Komoto, a Purdue graduate who fortunately possessed a good sense of humor about his clandestine task. Whenever Jobs would come from his corporate office to visit the Mac team’s engineers—which   was almost every afternoon—they would hurriedly find somewhere for Komoto to hide. At one point Jobs ranRead More →

But what truly devastated Jobs was that he was not, after all, chosen as the Man of the Year. As he later told me: Time decided they were going to make me Man of the Year, and I was twenty-seven, so I actually cared about stuff like that. I thought it was   pretty cool. They sent out Mike Moritz to write a story. We’re the same age, and I had been very successful, and I could tell he was jealous and there was an edge to him. He wrote this terrible hatchet job. So the editors in New   York get this story andRead More →

Accompanying the main story was a profile of Jobs, which was based on the reporting done by Moritz and written by Jay Cocks, an editor who usually handled rock music for the magazine. “With his smooth sales   pitch and a blind faith that would have been the envy of the early Christian martyrs, it is Steven Jobs, more than anyone, who kicked open the door   and let the personal computer move in,” the story proclaimed. It was a richly reported piece, but also harsh at times—so harsh that Moritz (after he wrote a book about Apple and went on to be a partnerRead More →

The “1984” adReal Artists ShipThe high point of the October 1983 Apple sales conference in Hawaii was a skit based on a TV show called The Dating Game. Jobs played emcee, and his three contestants, whom he had convinced to fly to Hawaii, were Bill Gates and There was one more hurdle: Hertzfeld and the other wizards had to finish writing the code for the Macintosh. It was due to start shipping on Monday, January 16. One week before that, the engineers concluded they could not make that deadline.   two other software executives, Mitch Kapor and Fred Gibbons. As the show’s jingly theme songRead More →