Towers and power: A complete history of Apple’s pro Macs (and Mac Pros)
While we wait to see Apple’s new Mac desktop for hardcore computing professionals, let’s remember the days when pro Macs were towering beasts using more metal than the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and more plastic than a nursery full of Lego bricks.
Today some pro Mac users are happy with a flimsy bit of aluminum like the Mac mini. Wimps. We demand something that looks like it contains a nuclear reactor. It needs to be bigger than a suitcase with warning stickers all over it, hotter than a barbeque, and noisier than a drag car. Yes, something like the old Power Mac G5. Here’s a look at Apple’s beefy, bodacious, and behemoth pro Macs over the years.
Apple I (1976-1977)
Apple’s first computer wasn’t technically a “Mac,” of course. The Apple I’s users didn’t work in Final Cut, Aperture or Adobe Creative Suite. Indeed they would have fainted at the very thought of MacPaint. And it’s hard to call them “professional”. Some of them looked like they’d lived wild in a forest for the previous half of their lives—and that was just the guys from Apple.
The Apple I was no slouch, but it wasn’t pro by today’s definition. It was invented by Homebrew Computer Club members Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs—and we all know that “homebrew” is by definition not professional. These computer hobbyists weren’t pioneering pro machines, they were turning pro machines into personal computers for the home.
So we’re including it here as an homage—and plus, the Apple I was certainly big enough to qualify for tower status. Plus it was so open to user tinkering you had to build the case yourself from bits of wood.
Apple III (1980-1983)
While the Apple I looked like a Victorian dressing table, the Apple II actually looked like a smart electric typewriter. While used professionally, it doesn’t quite pass the grade at looking powerful enough for true Pro status. The Apple III, on the other hand, looked much more impressive and cost at least $4,000. Rather than allow users to install upgrades within its case you could buy extras that stacked on top of the computer increasing its height to the extent that you had to put extra…
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