The Apple Effect …

Once upon a time, computers were complex, rare and expensive machines that companies – even countries – struggled to afford to build, buy or use.
Two guys in a garage made a computer that was more powerful than many dreamed possible but easy to use.
The Apple Effect is a story of five revolutions in computing history up to 2006. It is the story of how Apple Computer over the past thirty years has changed the way we work, learn and play.


In the 70’s, computers occupied a large cabinet or even room, relied on punch cards, recorded data on magnetic tape, and needed technicians in white coats to operate. Museum Victoria even has one such beast called CSIRAC.

(Image from Tim Haslett’s Blog)

Personal Computing

In 1976, there were 200 (only) computer kits for enthusiasts - Altair first and then Apple 1.
Personal Computing
In 1977 Apple ][ changed this because anyone could manage. ‘Software’ was hard wired into the computer.
In the early 1970s, computers got smaller, input was from a keyboard and they had a screen display, but they were still expensive and technically difficult to operate.


‘TV’ screens were used
for a long time, monochrome
without TV connection, green, 
then orange and finally white
They were ‘noisy’
Personal Computing
Then high-level computer languages emerged - Apple Basic

and for children, high-level computer languages such as Logo based on powerful lower-level languages (in this case LISP)

and for children, high-level computer languages that gave users understandable responses

Data storage

Then came discs (UK) … or disks (US). Software was no longer ‘hard-wired’ but portable and even Read/Write quite soon.


but even better… 
and maybe more popular
Bank Street Writer is a word processor for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, MSX, Macintosh, IBM PC, and IBM PCjr computers.
It was designed in 1981 by a team of educators at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, software developer Franklin E. Smith, and programmers at Intentional Educations in Watertown, MA.
The software was sold in two versions: one for elementary school students published by Scholastic and a general version from Broderbund.

But in many cases, what was done for children led the way …
and there was soon
Apple Works (1984) - combining a word processor, a spreadsheet and a database


Soon there were US academics connecting up computers using phones (setting up the Internet)
and there was a certain music that accompanied this:

Then came publishing …

Zardax was developed in Queensland in 1983
and Brother had a typewriter it commanded.

The Macintosh (with its brief forerunner the Lisa) in 1984 and the LaserWriter in 1985 took publishing from the printing press to the desktop.

The Macintosh was revolutionary in that a paper-like white display showed on screen exactly what would be printed (WYSIWYG or What You See is What You Get). Other computers showed green print on a black screen in a monospaced typeface with complex codes indicating formatting

and then imaging happened …

The mouse could access any point on the screen.
But trying to draw with a mouse was hard. This problem led to developments in hardware and software.
The hardware was the graphics tablet, a pressure sensitive pad with an electronic touch pencil in place of the mouse.
The software was Adobe Illustrator (1987). This drawing program used bézier curves to create smooth lines, circles and arcs.

then video …

The invention of video tape recording and lightweight video cameras soon resulted in the displacement of 8 mm film as the primary means for amateurs to capture video. But editing video tape recordings was difficult.

and audio …

In 1983 a group of musicians and music merchants agreed to standardise an interface by which new instruments could communicate control instructions with other instruments and microcomputers. This standard was dubbed MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and Apple narrowly beat Atari to become the first manufacturer to adopt it with the Apple ][.
The electronic composer could now use a relatively inexpensive instrument, such as an electronic keyboard, controlled by a personal computer.

So what has happened since?