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Mac SE/30: 1990
Technically speaking, this popular model would have been better for me. Alan Zeichick, long-time technology journalist, editor, and publisher, said, "My first Mac was an SE/30. Loved loved loved that machine, especially after I put in an expansion card and used it to drive a big color monitor." In 1990, with Windows 95 still years away, that was no small matter.
NeXT Cube: 1990
Of course, not all "Macs" came from Apple. After Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple, he founded NeXT and started building Unix-based workstations. These would become the blueprint for today's Macs. Today's Mac OS X is a direct descendant of NeXT's NeXTStep operating system.
ZDNet's senior technology editor Jason Perlow agrees with me. "My first 'Mac' actually was the NeXT. I ran the computer lab at American University and had a lot of facetime with it. I practically monopolized them because it didn't run any software anyone wanted to use and they were so weird."
NeXTStation Turbo Color: 1993
The top of the NeXT line were the lovely, and outrageous expensive workstations. I, Unix guy that I was, had one. I loved this machine.
I eventually ended up trading mine to an ISP senior engineer for a T1 installation and three free months of, for the time, a blazing fast 1.54 Mbps Internet connection. I should have kept the NeXTStation.