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The Boston Globe

Business

Mac timeline

The Mac’s user-friendly approach to computing is now a fundamental part of all consumer electronics. The Mac was the first successful computer to incorporate a graphical user interface and a mouse, rather than require people to type in commands. Here’s a look at some of the most notable Macs, starting from the beginning:

1984 — The Mac is introduced

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The first Mac (left) had a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive at a time when a 5.25-inch drive was the standard. The Mac used the smaller drive for practical reasons: The larger floppies weren’t reliable. But it paved the way for computers to get even smaller.

1989 — Apple’s first laptop

The Macintosh Portable came out in 1989. The machine itself wasn’t noteworthy, but it would lead Apple on a path of making devices for use on the go — culminating with the iPhones and iPads that represent the bulk of Apple Inc.’s business today.

1998 — The first iMac

Do computers have to look boring? Not according to Steve Jobs, the Apple cofounder who returned from exile to lead the company in 1997. PCs at the time were typically housed in uniform, beige boxes. The first iMacs looked more like TVs and came in a variety of colors over the years. At one point, Jobs even teased consumers to collect all five. Later iMacs would sport other notable designs, including ones shaped like a sunflower. The iMacs were also famous for ditching floppy drives in favor of CDs and incorporating USB ports — now standard in computers.

1999 — Wireless Internet

The iBook G3 in was among the first laptops to come with a Wi-Fi card. It was so new that Jobs used a hula-hoop on stage to show — just like a magician — that he was surfing the Web without any wires.

2000 — Artful design

The Power Mac G4 Cube in was praised for its design, even though it didn’t sell well. The entire computer fit into a cube measuring 7 inches on each side. A crystal-clear casing made the Cube slightly larger, but it also made the device memorable. It’s now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

2008 — Light computing

Apple’s MacBook Air was notable for being thin and light. In introducing the device, Jobs stuffed one into a standard-size manila office envelope. Apple pulled this off by eliminating the CD drive and the Ethernet port, figuring that people could download files from the Internet over Wi-Fi. Later Airs and MacBook Pros would stay thin and light by also ditching the traditional, spinning hard drive in favor of solid-state memory, the kind used in phones and tablets.

2013 — More power

Last month marked the debut of Apple’s newest Mac. Aimed at professionals, the Mac Pro has more computer power than most consumers would need, squeezed into a black, cylinder-shaped case that is about one-eighth the volume of the previous, boxy model. The original Mac had 128 kilobytes of memory. The Pro starts at 12 gigabytes, or more than 90,000 times as much.

Associated Press

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