Watershed products in the computer industry

The watershed milestone products in the computer industry are few. You may argue with this list, but I think it’s pretty reasonable.*

  • 1975 - MITS Altair – the first “personal computer”
  • 1977 - Apple II – the first modern personal computer
  • 1981 - IBM PC – the first PC from the MS/Intel/IBM powerhouse, and the basis of the computers most of us use today
  • 1984 - Mac 128 – the first Macintosh and first commercial product with a real GUI
  • 2010 – iPad

Three of those 5 were ushered in by Steve Jobs. Our industry owes a lot to his leadership. Don’t get me wrong—he’s no saint. He’s a megalomaniac, a near Machiavellian presence in the industry who’s been ruthless and unapologetic about stealing great ideas and spinning/misrepresenting/lying to customers for decades… but the computer industry would be a very different place without him. Thank you for your contributions to computing Mr. Jobs.

* I love my Commodore as much as the next guy, but it does not belong on this list. The Altair wasn’t really a computer, it was a kit—more analogous to a HAM radio than a modern PC. I thought about including the Palm Pilot on this list. Also, you could conceivably include Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and Windows XP on this list, but I kept it to hardware.

Photo Credit: acaben