Jan 26, 2009 David Lang

The Mac Turns 25

This past Saturday marked the Macintosh computer's 25th birthday. Heralded as the most influential computer ever developed, the Mac popularized the graphical user interface, the mouse, WYSIWYG displays, and a long list of other innovations. Steve Jobs introduced the Mac at the Flint center near Cupertino on January 24th, 1984. This was a few days after the airing of the famous 1984 Super-Bowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott. You can find both Jobs' introduction and the Super-Bowl ad here.

Compared to other people at OakTree, I'm a relative latecomer to the Mac. I bought my first Mac, a Performa 600, in January of 1992. I had casually informed a friend in my seminary Hebrew class that I was thinking about buying a computer. Little did I realize that he was a Mac user, and that I was about to be "evangelized"!

After preaching the Mac gospel to me a couple of times, this student invited me to see a local software developer demonstrate a new Bible program for the Mac. Little did I realize that this was an early prototype of Accordance, and that I would soon be working for this developer.

I watched in amazement as he demonstrated Greek grammatical searches and English Bibles displayed in parallel. I remember thinking, "Man, this is what I want to be able to do with a computer!" I soon began shopping for Macs and waiting eagerly for Accordance to be released.

Macs were a lot more expensive back then, and I was a cash-strapped student, so I ended up calling an uncle in Bradenton who worked for Circuit City. He purchased my Performa 600 with his employee discount, and I bought it from him after driving two hours to Bradenton. Today, Circuit City is closing and the cost of gas would quickly erase any employee discount, but the Mac is still alive and well.

Although I was a relative newcomer to the Mac fold, my future employer was not. Accordance was OakTree Software's second Bible program for the Mac. They had previously developed a program called PerfectWord all the way back in 1988. This program was eventually purchased by Zondervan Corp. and renamed MacBible. Zondervan no longer sells MacBible and now teams up with OakTree to produce Accordance-compatible CD-ROMs and modules.

In 1996 and 1997, Apple was in serious trouble. The Mac OS was getting long in the tooth, Windows 95 was widely perceived as being "good enough," and Mac clones were cannibalizing the Mac base. I myself had a dirt-cheap Power Computing PowerBase 180, so I suppose I was partially contributing to Apple's decline. At that time, many Mac Bible Software developers were quickly abandoning the Mac platform. When the dust settled, we looked around and found ourselves alone in the Mac market, save for a couple of shareware programs.

The second coming of Jobs to Apple revitalized the computer-maker, and the iMac and OS X revitalized the Mac market. Accordance was the first Bible program released for OS X, and our user-base began to grow steadily.

Getting by with a little help from its friends, the iPod and iPhone, the Mac has now become incredibly popular. It's amazing to me to visit a seminary and see 30-40% of the students with Mac laptops, and most of the rest of them green with envy. Our user-base is now growing dramatically, with many new users telling us they wish they had switched to Mac, and Accordance, much sooner.

After twenty-five years, the Mac is still going strong . . . and so are we.

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