Apple

My first Macintosh computer

I must have been one of the first Mac users in the UK

7 Jul 2017

7 Jul 2017

1984 Mac

The 1984 Macintosh 128K

Alongside is a promotional picture of a Macintosh 128K, the original Apple Mac computer from 1984. I never actually owned one of these, but I did borrow one, soon after its launch in the UK. There was a sales promotion called Test drive a Macintosh and you could have one for a couple of weeks with no obligation.

At that time Apple’s UK sales network were mainly IBM PC dealers, and I still remember the salesman’s patronising disdain when I collected it. IBM’s PC dominated the business market then, and he clearly thought that the Mac would never succeed.

I couldn’t have guessed that this was the start of a more than 30-year relationship, and a long-term fascination, with everything Apple

It was love at first sight for me. But this first Macintosh wasn’t a practical machine — it didn’t even have a hard disk, just a single 800 Kb disk drive, which you had to feed laboriously with multiple ‘floppy’ disks. The Mac clicked and pinged, as it sucked these in, and spat them back out again, copying their contents to and from its minuscule 128 Kb memory.

This soon became really tedious, and I returned the Mac 128K at the end of its trial. But I bought its successor, the Macintosh 512K, the Fat Mac, with quadrupled memory, in 1985.

This model, like all Macs until the 1987 Macintosh SE (the first Mac with an internal hard drive), was a friendly tan and brown colour, and it came complete with a purpose-designed padded nylon carrying case. This case made it surprisingly portable, and I carried it daily, back and forward, between home and office.

I couldn’t have guessed that this was the start of a more than 30-year relationship, and a long-term fascination, with everything Apple.

As our business grew, I bought more and more Macs, until we had over 30, almost one per employee, unusual for a small business in the early 1990s.