The line of computers manufactured by Apple Inc. "Mac" is not primarily a nickname or an abbreviation, but a brand name and trademark in its own right. Apple currently (2009) refer to the brand as any of "Mac", "iMac" or "Macintosh" (all registered trademarks).
The Mac was Apple's successor to the Lisa
. The project was proposed by Jef Raskin
some time before Steve Jobs
's famous visit to Xerox PARC
. Jobs tried to scuttle the Macintosh project and only joined it later because he wasn't trusted to manage the Lisa
The Macintosh user interface
was notable for popularising the graphical user interface
, with its easy to learn and easy to use desktop
The first Macintosh, introduced in January 1984, had a Motorola 68000 CPU
, 128K of RAM
, a small monochrome
screen, and one built-in floppy disk
drive with an external slot for one more, two serial ports and a four-voice sound generator. This was all housed in one small plastic case, including the screen. When more memory was available later in the year, a 512K Macintosh was nicknamed the "Fat Mac."
The Mac Plus (January 1986) added expandability by providing an external SCSI
port for connecting hard disks
, magnetic tape
, and other high-speed devices.
The Mac SE (March 1987) had up to four megabytes of RAM
, an optional built-in 20 megabyte hard disk and one internal expansion slot for connecting a third-party device.
The Mac II (March 1987) used the faster Motorola 68020 CPU
with a 32-bit bus
In 1994 the Power Mac
was launched, and in 1999 the iMac
was introduced. The SuperDrive
appeared in the iMac in 2002.
The Macintosh Operating System
is now officially called "Mac OS". Mac OS X is the successor to Mac OS 9, although its technological parent is the NEXTSTEP
OS from Next, Inc.
, founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple the first time. OS X is based largely on the BSD
UNIX system. The core of the OS X operating system is released as free source code
under the project name Darwin
The standard Macintosh screen resolution
is 72 dpi
(making one point
= one pixel
), exactly half the 144 dpi resolution of the ancient Apple Imagewriter dot matrix
If "Macintosh" were an acronym, some say it would stand for "Many Applications Crash, If Not, The Operating System Hangs". While this was true for pre Mac OS 9 systems, it is less true for Mac OS 9, and totally incorrect for Mac OS X, which has protected memory, so even if one application crashes, the system and other applications are unaffected.
See also Macintosh file system
, Macintosh user interface
Apple Home (http://apple.com/mac).