Clockwise from top: MacBook Air (2015), iMac G5 20" (2004), Macintosh II (1987), Power Mac G4 Cube (2000), iBook G3 Blueberry (1999), Original Macintosh 128K (1984)
The Macintosh (/ˈmækɪnˌtɒʃ/ MAK-in-tosh; branded as Mac since 1998) is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. since January 1984. The original Macintosh was the company's first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II family of computers for almost ten years before the latter was cancelled in 1993.
Early Macintosh models were expensive, hindering its competitiveness in a market already dominated by the Commodore 64 for consumers, as well as the IBM Personal Computer and its accompanying clone market for businesses. Macintosh systems still found success in education and desktop publishing and kept Apple as the second-largest PC manufacturer for the next decade. In the early 1990s, Apple introduced models such as the Macintosh LC II and Color Classic which were price-competitive with Wintel machines at the time. However, the introduction of Windows 3.1 and Intel's Pentium processor (which beat the Motorola 68040 in most benchmarks) gradually took market share from Apple, and by the end of 1994 Apple was relegated to third place as Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Even after the transition to the superior PowerPC-based Power Macintosh line in the mid-1990s, the falling prices of commodity PC components, poor inventory management with the Macintosh Performa, and the release of Windows 95 saw the Macintosh user base decline.
Prompted by the returning Steve Jobs' belief that the Macintosh line had become too complex, Apple consolidated nearly twenty models in mid-1997 (including models made for specific regions) down to four in mid-1999: The Power Macintosh G3, iMac, 14.1" PowerBook G3, and 12" iBook. All four products were critically and commercially successful due to their high performance, competitive prices and aesthetic designs, and helped return Apple to profitability. Around this time, Apple phased out the Macintosh name in favor of "Mac", a nickname that had been in common use since the development of the first model. Since their transition to Intel processors in 2006, the complete lineup is entirely based on said processors and associated systems. Its current lineup includes four desktops (the all-in-one iMac and iMac Pro, and the desktop Mac Mini and Mac Pro), and three laptops (the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro). Its Xserve server was discontinued in 2011 in favor of the Mac Mini and Mac Pro.
Apple has also developed a series of Macintosh operating systems; initially this operating system had no name, but came to be known as the Macintosh System Software in 1988, Mac OS in 1997, Mac OS X in 2001, OS X in 2012, and macOS in 2016. The current version is macOS High Sierra. Intel-based Macs are capable of running non-Apple operating systems such as Linux, OpenBSD, and Microsoft Windows with the aid of Boot Camp or third-party software. Apple also produced a Unix-based operating system for the Macintosh called A/UX from 1988 to 1995, which closely resembled contemporary versions of the Macintosh system software. Apple does not license macOS for use on non-Apple computers, though it did license previous versions of the classic Mac OS through their Macintosh clone program from 1995 to 1997.
2.1 1979–84: Development and introduction
2.2 1984: Debut
2.3 1984–90: Desktop publishing
2.4 1990–98: Decline and transition to PowerPC
2.5 1998–2005: Revival
2.6 2005–present: Switch to Intel x86
3 Timeline of Macintosh models
4 Product line
7 Market share and user demographics
7.1 1984–97: Success and decline
7.2 1997–2007: Comeback
7.3 2007–present: "Post-PC" era
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links