Welcome To Macintosh: The Crave review

'Welcome To Macintosh' is a brand new DVD documentary on the inception, history and future of Apple's computers, with some of the great Mac footage ever committed to film

Nate Lanxon Special to CNET News
3 min read

"I've hated Windows for a number of years and I could never figure out why. And about three years ago it finally hit me, that the reason I hated it was because it always makes me feel stupid."

Wayne Wenzlaff has perhaps one of the finest reasons for disliking Windows in favour of the Macintosh -- back in 1977 he was a buyer for the first ever computer store that ordered and sold an Apple computer. It was the Apple II, and he still owns the fifth Apple II ever to roll off the production line.

In a new documentary from Rob Baca and Josh Rizzo, entitled Welcome To Macintosh, Wenzlaff is one of many interviewees who help document the creation, development and history of the Apple Mac, from the 70s to the present day.

Although Steves Wozniak and Jobs are absent from this highly informative film, other notable names are present and correct. Andy Hertzfeld, co-creator of the Mac, speaks in great detail about the computer's history, along with Ron Wayne, an important co-founder of Apple, and Guy Kawasaki, the ex-Apple software evangelist whose job it was, back in the day, to simply spread good news about the Mac.

And of course there's Jim Reekes, an early Apple employee who penned the now-famous Mac start-up sound (an "extended C major chord with a high E," he tells us).

As a documentary, it's much like another Mac film we recently reviewed, MacHeads, in that it lacks a narrator and hands over its story-telling to a spread of interviewees, each deeply knowledgeable about their own perspective on the Macintosh story. Some helped create the products, some helped make them sell, some simply bought them and now stash hundreds of Mac collectibles in extensive personal museums of rare and forgotten Apple products and paraphernalia. And all are explored in detail.

In a tight 80 minutes, you'll visit some of the defining moments of Mac history: the keynote at which Steve Jobs unveiled the first Mac, where its synthesised voice caused the auditorium to errupt with applause; and the moment Jobs returned to Apple as CEO to turn the company around, announcing a partnership with Microsoft to hundreds of gasps and concerned intakes of breath.

There's little time given to software or the things you've been able to do with a Mac, or any love given to the various Mac operating systems throughout the ages -- it's more a look at the computers and hardware themselves, and the industry they've driven for three decades, including the paradigm shifts caused by various Apple CEOs, competition from IBM, the threat of Microsoft, and even the world of rumour Web sites.

It's as much a film for fanboys as it is for computer historians, casual Mac lovers, and anyone interested in a company that's contributed enormously to the state of the computer market we have today. Although if you find repetitive background music annoying, be warned: Welcome To Macintosh's soundtrack is heinous enough to warrant mention here.

But no Apple fan should be without this film in their libraries, and very few fans of any tech should leave themselves without a copy either. While not the slickest documentary in terms of production, its informative content and extensive collection of unseen footage makes it essential viewing.

It's on sale now and comes loaded with hours of extras, extended interviews, and even a DRM-free version of the main film for transfer to iPods and iPhones. Highly recommended.