Steve Jobs: The 1984 ad and Launch of Macintosh

Steve Jobs was gearing up for launch of Macintosh when the winds changed there directions a bit. Apple II was feeding Apple. But in the battle of personal computers many organisations in 1983, said that battle for personal computers was over.

IBM had a around 26% market share during those days, and has over a million PCs sold. They were expected to add another 25% by 1985. The pressure was all on Macintosh specially due to the fact that Lisa and Apple III were dead. And Steve Jobs had lot of things to get corrected. They were eyeing for launch in 1984, but they wanted there product to be 100% correct when they shipped it.

Steve Jobs at sales conference around that time, gave a speech, asking public if they want IBM to rule the industry, he talked about what all had IBM done wrong with there products and what was there vision for that matter. This energized the audience. As soon as it happened, a screen dropped to play a 60 second preview of there upcoming TV advertisement. This was done to counter negative reports in media against apple. And create a hype, in a manner similar to what JohnSculleydid for PepsiCoand make it a nation wide discussion topic

This silenced the media and the negativity. Now he had to get ready for the launch early in January because the war had just begun. Jobs being really pumped. But another hurdle came by. How could #Macintosh ship with incomplete code. Hertzfeld and the engineers at Apple were not fully ready with the code to ship Macintosh. Steve was in Manhattan. They called him with there hearts beating fast. They calmly explained them the matter, and were ready to hear him shouting. He paused for a while, and as always his pauses made people uncomfortable.

They proposed that they could show existing software with Demo label, at events, and replace it with actual code when it is ready at the end of month. But Steve in humblest manner talked and told they couldn’t slip from deadline. He told that there team was great. So great that they are fully capable of getting it done. They can’t look back, because public pressure was mounting up. They were perfectionists and whatever they had made was already perfect. The extending of deadline was not worth it. He declared that the code would be shipped week from the next Monday.

It was a classic example of his Reality Distortion Field, that made team, gear up. They decided and were determined to get the code done. They were ready for all-nighters. When Jobs arrived in office on Monday, the code was complete, thanks to day and night work of coders. hertzfeld managed to drive himself home to bed. In a short while the first pieced of #Macintosh started to come out of production line.

smoke. When Jobs previewed the ad for the Apple sales force at the meeting in Hawaii, they were thrilled. But that was not the case with board, and some people considered it to be the worst commercial. Sculley got a cold foot. He recommended selling up some commercial Ad spots. Jobs showed the ad later to Wozniak and he also loved it. Wozniak volunteered to pay half the cost of the ad spots. But that was never required. Apple was unable to sell the longer 60 second ad spot.

The ad ran during the Super Bowl, and a theatric and unrealistic manner, showed many drone marching an announcer calmly intoned, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’” And that was rightly said because it was just start of 1984, and Apple wanted to set Agenda for the same.

Jobs also mixed this advertisement with media coverage, and knew the recipe of how to excite people, and make them eager, probably a part of his Reality Distortion Field. He used his secret recipe of great media coverage for every launch, from Macinstosh to iPad.

On  the day when they completed the code, excitement could be seen everywhere. Even though they were excitemed there was this exhaustion for the relentless work they had done. Hertzfeld went home to get sleep, but then came back after 6 hours of sleep to see if everything was going right.

The launch event at 24th January 1984 was still 8 days away, and things seemed sorted. When Steve threw the idea of a demo for intro that could show the world what they had done. Engineers thought it would be fun.

The launch event was supposed to include the tv advertisment, the press previews for product and the massive unvieling of Macintosh, such that gave feeling to people that they were witnessing something unique, and it was a moment in the history, and it truly was such a moment

Hertzfeld to compliment it, wrote the code for music player within a quick period of 2 days. But Jobs concluded that it was a bit to incomplete so decided not to ship it. But we was thrilled with the speech generator that could convert text to speech. And Jobs considered it interesting. He wanted Macintosh should be first computerto introduceitself.

During rehersals he kept experimenting with proper lightings and things, he wanted many small tweaks, such as improvement in scroll animation and many others.

He was insane in that manner, and he noticed and was bothered about things that JohnSculleydidn’t even notice.

In the morning that changed history, the whole auditorium was jam packed, Jobs appeared in Blue Blazer. And told that it was the biggest moment in his life. Everyone wished him Good Luck. He started with relevant discussions and talks for shareholders’ meeting. And later began with the most important part. Sculley reported earnings call. And then Jobs reappeared on stage.

“It is 1958,” he began. “IBM passes up a chance to buy a young fledgling company that has invented a new technology called xerography. Two years later, Xerox was born, and IBM has been kicking themselves ever since.” The crowd laughed. The agenda was set. He told the important position of Apple, and the responsibility of bringing down dominance of IBMthat they had in there head. Soon after the innitial welcome of IBM by retailers they were recieved by the fear of there dominance and full control of industry. IBM wanted it all. As a result the only alternative visible was Apple.

And Apple understood it well. People had got desparate to see the launch. The screen dropped and the advertisment was seen over it. Audience was thrilled. Jobs now showed back his presentation skills, when he showed the public, the Macintosh in person. He took off the cloth from the Macintosh, huge round of claps and cheers welcomed it and the word Macintosh blazed horizontally on screen, fortunately this time it worked perfectly.

“Hello. I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag,” it began. The only thing it didn’t seem to know how to do was to wait for the wild cheering and shrieks that erupted. Instead of basking for a moment, it barreled ahead. “Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: Never trust a computer you can’t lift.” Once again the roar almost drowned out its final lines. “Obviously, I can talk. But right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs.”

This introduction made people excited for product. With some further on general discussions and information the event ended. Audience was thrilled and everyone loved it. It was well received by audience.

That day they returned back to office to see a truck full of newly produced Macintoshs. Each of which was presented to each of the member in ceremonial manner. A reported later from Popular Science magazine inquired about the market research Apple had done for there newly released Macintosh. Steve Jobs replied “Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?” And that was a greta gouth shut.

 Thanks for Reading



Aditya Agarwal

Aditya Agarwal

Indefinite Thinker Infinite Player 5th October, 2019

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