Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy 25th Anniversary MacIntosh! Computer Magazines

Future magazine historians will likely view the magazines that document the early development of computers as the most important periodicals of the last quarter of the twentieth century.

I asked my friend and fellow collector, David Leishman of Los Gatos, California to provide me with a brief history of these publications. Aside from his long association with the most important contemporary music magazine, Rolling Stone, David is a freelance writer and my "go to" expert on magazines of the twentieth century. The following is a product (mostly David's work) of our association.

The first non-trade magazine in the computing field, BYTE, launched in 1975 and became "information central" for the first wave of periodicals for early computer hobbyists.

Kilobaud, started in 1979, was another widely-read magazine targeted for early computer geeks.

The most successful of the early PCs was Apple Computer's Apple II (Apple I was little more than a circuit board thrown into a wooden box), introduced in 1977, which won its own magazines, including Apple, which was litttle more than an advertisement and catalog for the computer itself.

During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple ran what TV Guide later called the greatest commercial of all time

Two days later, a computer sat on a stage and introduced itself by announcing, "Hello, I am Macintosh," after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs prompted it with a floppy disk. The Mac employed a host of concepts labs metaphor, wherein text appeared as black characters on a white background, i.e., a page. This was the exact opposite of the standard PC interface, and like the 1984 ad, revolutionary. What Mac users saw on their screens looked just as it would when they printed it out! St. Mac was issued at the launch of the Mac, a mere quarter century ago

Over the next couple years, the new box spawned a publishing mini-universe of its own, with titles such as Macworld, Macazine, MacUser and Macintouch. During that time, Apple licensed AdobeSystems' PostScript system, which when coupled with Aldus Corporation's PageMaker software, enabled users to produce professional quality documents, including magazines!

This sparked the advent of desktop publishing, and gave rise in 1987 to the "go-to" magazine for "DTP," MacWEEK. Steve Jobs, who had been forced out of Apple in 1985, launched NeXT Computerin '88, which in 1991 gained its own magazine, NeXTWorld, just as the company stopped making computers. The early '90s, in general, weren't kind to either Apple or Jobs. But Jobs' 1986 investment in the Pixar animation studio paid off in 1995 when the company produced Toy Story, the first in a string of award-winning, cash-vacuuming box office hits. Apple acquired NeXT in 1996, with the intent to build a new Mac operating system on its software, and Jobs rejoined Apple management. A year later, Jobs re-established himself as the head of Apple, and incredible feats in American business history system and his extraordinary marketing vision to turn the moribund company into an electronics product powerhouse, one of the most respected brands in the world. The birth of iPhone Life is testament to the fact that Apple's technological mojo remains vital and almost prescient.

In the early 1980's IBM swaggered into the market, and computers became common in offices and, increasingly, in homes. PC Magazine (1982) and PC World (1983) were launched by the same editorial team for competing publishers, and became the dominant titles in technology publishing.

As the importance and universe of the personal computer and the internet continue their meteoric rise, so does the volume of related magazines (once again, magazines echo popular culture!), an interesting and inexpensive collecting area, and one with ever-expanding variety.


Anonymous said...

Hi Steven,

I love you passion for collecting magazines.. very cool.

Reason for my message... I've been searching for "Breezy Stories, October 1938" and am wondering if you have it. My Great Grandmother, Belle Bruck, wrote one of the stories in this magazine. I am anxious to purchase this magazine or acquire copies for my family.

Please let me know if you have any information, guidance, etc.

Thank you for your time.

Regards, Danna Hudson

e: sour_doll@yahoo.com
c: 415.279.2510

Anonymous said...

Hi Steven

Found your most interesting site by chance. I've a number of magazines titled "Hoover Worldwide" that I can't find any info about. They were obviously put out by the Hoover co. Any ideas? Places I could look for info, etc.