Tim Cook celebrates 35 years of Macintosh with a tweet

In 1984, Apple rewrote the playbook for how to launch a tech product.

Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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  • Coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015)
Justin Jaffe
2 min read

Today is the 35th birthday of the first Macintosh computer, and Apple CEO Tim Cook took to twitter to mark the occasion. 

On this day in 1984, Steve Jobs, dressed a suit and bowtie, introduced the Macintosh at Apple's shareholders meeting at the Flint Center in Cupertino. From the stage, he promised the audience that "all of the images you are about to see on the large screen will be generated by what's in that bag." 

He uncovered the Mac, pulled out a disk, inserted it into the 3.5-inch drive and started up the machine. Though his on-stage attire then lacked the gravity of the black turtleneck and jeans combo that would become his trademark, Jobs was already a master showman. You can watch the first five minutes of his presentation in the video embedded below. 

The Macintosh was launched a year after Apple's previous attempt to bring a graphical user interface to the market -- the $10,000 LISA, which flopped. Though the $2,495 Mac wasn't cheap, it proved to be affordable enough for a host of early adopters eager to give the mouse-driven UI a try. 

The specs look primitive today: A Motorola 68000 CPU running at 8HMz with just 128K of RAM. The 9-inch black-and-white monitor featured a 512×342-pixel resolution, and the built-in 3.5-inch floppy drive supported disks that topped out at 400K of storage -- or roughly the size of one tweet.

Read: The story of how the Apple Macintosh came to be

Two days before the Mac's unveiling, Apple had primed the pump with its astonishing Super Bowl commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, that captured the attention of the media and the public. On Jan. 30, 1984, Jobs again took the stage at the Boston Computer Society's General Meeting, for an encore introduction plus a panel discussion among Apple's top executives. You can check out that video, too.

Read next: Tim Cook celebrated the iMac's 20th anniversary last year.

Read more: The story of how the Apple Macintosh came to be.