Mac OS X turns ten this week. That's ten years since the first public release of the jewel in the crown that signifies Apple's rise from the brink of death with a modern and "revolutionary" clean slate. But it wasn't the first time a piece of Apple software saved the company -- that honour goes to the original Macintosh operating system: System 1.0. Read on to learn how Apple changed its fortunes and revolutionised computing back when the terms GUI and mouse were foreign concepts.
The core of the Macintosh experience was never the attractive industrial design, the sense of superiority, or the use of a strange one-button mouse -- although those elements were vitally important. From the very beginning, even before the first Mac hit the market in 1984, right through to the latest iMac or Macbook models, the Macintosh was about providing the most accessible and intuitive interaction possible between humans and computers.
Computers should be easy to use, with user interfaces that Jack and Jill Smith who just walked in off the street can use comfortably with almost no instruction. Gestures, not typed commands; desktops, buttons, and icons, not command lines, carriage returns, and terminals, have clear analogies to things from everyday life that people without a degree in computer science can understand. This is at the heart of the Apple philosophy, as it has existed since that fateful trip to the Xerox labs in December 1979.