Steve Jobs' first public demo of the Mac

Steve Jobs' first public demo of the Mac

Summary: This vintage video from the Boston Computer Society provides a never-before-seen look at the Mac's first public demonstration.


In this video Steve Jobs presents the original Macintosh to members of The Boston Computer Society on January 24, 1984. In it, Jobs mentions he wants to create "radical ease of use" and compares the Mac to the invention of the telephone. Good stuff.

Here's a short sample:

You can watch the full one hour and 35 minute presentation at

It’s January, 1984. Steve Jobs, nattily attired in a double-breasted suit, is demonstrating Apple’s breakthrough personal computer, Macintosh, before a packed room. He speaks alarmingly of a future controlled by IBM, and shows a dystopian commercial based on that theme. He says that the Mac is “insanely great” and plucks the diminutive machine from a bag; it talks for itself. Screens of a graphical user interface — something few people had seen at the time — swoop by. The theme from Chariots of Fire swells. Jobs beams, as only he could.

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Jobs beams, and Microsoft ZDNet desperately wants to make it ugly

    "He says that the Mac is “insanely great” and plucks the diminutive machine from a bag; it talks for itself. Screens of a graphical user interface — something few people had seen at the time — swoop by. The theme from Chariots of Fire swells. Jobs beams, as only he could."

    "Jobs beams, as only he could" and Microsoft ZDNet desperately wants to sh*t on it and turn it into something ugly, as only Microsoft ZDNet can.
  • I viewed this video on another online source. It is just incredible.

    Towards the end of this video, Steve Jobs gave a rather telling indication on how he wished to guide the future growth of Apple. (It was a 1984 vision that he never wavered from, IMO)

    In explaining one of those goals, he indicated that the Macintosh was not trying to compete with IBM PCs at the time. Rather he pointed out the "humble desktop telephone" as it's true companion in the workplace.

    He went on to explain that computers are all about information and he felt that the telephone was the first information "appliance" that had been uniformly adopted by the business enterprise workers. Note that he specifically used the term "appliance" as in a communication and information based device that was extremely and intuitively easy to use.

    He wished that the Macintosh would evolve and become that second business "appliance" and be as universally used in the workplace as the telephone was.

    I confess that when I read comments from ZDNet commentators that equated the iPad to an "appliance", I interpreted those comments as derogatory in nature since they often implied (either implicitly or directly) that the iPad was not a computer at all and as such a device unfit for productivity purposes

    After seeing this video from 1984, I realize that those comments should have been interpreted as examples of the highest praise possible. It was a goal that Steve Jobs voiced first in 1984, that is, turning the most sophisticated personal computer at the time into an "appliance" or a device that was so intrinsically easy and reliable to use as the desktop telephone.

    His vision may not have been realized yet with the Mac but it most assuredly has been with the iPad.
  • Where's the BEEF?

    SADLY,, i guess you can only see the video or the link to it if you are a Time Subscriber. I have tried since the arrival of the zdnet email in my box, to access the time page as directed by your link, and there is NO video, no LINK TO a video, nothing but more talk-type. There IS one enormous blank area which clearly should have a vid viewer, but alas, no vid, no viewer nothing but emptiness. There also is no link that TELLS you you must be a time subscriber to view it, so i consider the entire exercise to be a SCAM...Glad you proud few in the USA can see it,, not so for me here in Germany today.
    LyonsAire CEO