The Macintosh (mainly Mac since 1998) is a family of private computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. since January 1984.
The original Macintosh is that the first successful mass-market pc to possess featured a graphical interface, built-in screen, and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II, Apple III, and Apple Lisa families of computers until the opposite models were discontinued within the 1990s.
Early Macintosh models were expensive, hindering competitiveness during a market dominated by the less expensive Commodore 64 for consumers, also because the IBM pc and its accompanying clone marketplace for businesses, although they were less costly than the Xerox Alto and other computers with graphical user interfaces that predated the Mac. Macintosh systems were successful in education and publication, making Apple the second-largest PC manufacturer for the subsequent decade. within the early 1990s, Apple introduced the Macintosh LC II and Color Classic which were price-competitive with Wintel machines at the time.
However, the introduction of Windows 3.1 and Intel’s Pentium processor, which beat the Motorola 68040 utilized in then-current Macintoshes in most benchmarks, gradually took market share from Apple, and by the highest of 1994 Apple was relegated to 3rd place as Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Even after the transition to the superior PowerPC-based Power Macintosh line within the mid-1990s, the falling prices of commodity PC components, poor inventory management with the Macintosh Performa, and therefore the release of Windows 95 contributed to the continued decline of the Macintosh user base.
Upon his return to the corporate, Steve Jobs led Apple to consolidate the complex line of nearly twenty Macintosh models in mid-1997 (including models made for specific regions) right down to four in mid-1999: the facility Macintosh G3, iMac, 14.1″ PowerBook G3, and 12″ iBook. All four products were critically and commercially successful thanks to their high performance, competitive prices, and aesthetic designs, and helped return Apple to profitability.
Around this point, Apple phased out the Macintosh name in favor of “Mac”, a nickname that had been in common use since the event of the primary model. After they transitioned to Intel processors in 2006, the entire lineup was Intel-based. This changed in 2020 when the M1 chip was introduced to the MacBook Air, entry-level MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.
Its current lineup includes four desktops (the all-in-one iMac and iMac Pro, and therefore the desktop Mac Mini and Mac Pro), and two laptops (the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro). Its Xserve server was discontinued in 2011 in favor of the Mac Mini and Mac Pro.
Apple has developed a series of Macintosh operating systems. the primary versions initially had no name but came to be referred to as the “Macintosh System Software” in 1988, “Mac OS” in 1997 with the discharge of Mac OS 7.6, and retrospectively called “Classic Mac OS”. Apple produced a Unix-based OS for the Macintosh called A/UX from 1988 to 1995, which closely resembled contemporary versions of the Macintosh system software. Apple doesn’t license macOS to be used on non-Apple computers, however, System 7 was licensed to varied companies through Apple’s Macintosh clone program from 1995 to 1997. just one company, UMAX Technologies was legally licensed to ship clones running Mac OS 8.
In 2001, Apple released Mac OS X, a contemporary Unix-based OS that was later rebranded to easily OS X in 2012, then macOS in 2016. Its latest version is macOS Catalina. Apple went on to release macOS 11 in 2020. the present version is macOS Big Sur, released on November 12, 2020. Intel-based Macs can run native third-party operating systems like Linux, FreeBSD, and Microsoft Windows with the help of camp or third-party software. Volunteer communities have customized Intel-based macOS to run illicitly on non-Apple computers.
The Macintosh family of computers has used a spread of various CPU architectures since its introduction. Originally they used the Motorola 68000 series of microprocessors. within the mid-1990s they transitioned to PowerPC processors, and again within the mid-2000s they began to use 32- and 64-bit Intel x86 processors. Apple began transitioning CPU architectures to its ARM-based processors to be used within the Macintosh beginning in 2020.