These Computer Launches Changed The World

The new Steve Jobs movie isn't your ordinary biopic. It doesn't follow the entire lifespan of the titular character as you would expect. Instead, it focuses on three considerable chunks of Jobs' life and gives a condensed glimpse into the world of the late tech icon. Written by The Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, the movie follows the Apple CEO from 1984 to 1998, a major time in his life. During this period, he launched three major products: the first Macintosh, the NeXT Cube and then the iMac. Sorkin takes us backstage, moments before Jobs (Michael Fassbender) went in front of thousands of people to talk about each product. Yet surprisingly, the movie does not show Jobs on stage officially "launching" the products. The decision does make sense, though, as the story is more of a character study than a movie about computers. However, it would have been interesting to see Jobs in action. Lucky for you, I've dug up some of the real-life videos of the launches featured in Steve Jobs, so you can see what it was like for yourself.

Considering Sorkin's knack for rapid-fire, walk-and-talk dialogue (just watch West Wing for reference on this), the movie's approach of showing the before and after of the launches, rather than the launches themselves, is a great choice. The moments before a big on-stage performance or speech are probably some of the most anxiety-driven seconds a person could have. So much can go wrong, and so much adrenaline rushes through the body. What better way to illustrate that than with quick-witted dialogue that creates tension and character? Steve Jobs shows us all the backstage action, but leaves the on-stage events to our imagination. But if you want to see the real thing, watch some vintage video of Jobs launching the products discussed in the film.

1984: The Macintosh

This was the model that changed the game when it came to personal computers. Launched on January 24, 1984, it was unlike anything anyone has ever seen and, although the sales were a little rocky, it cemented Jobs as one of the most creative minds of our time.

1988: The NeXT Cube

When Jobs forced to step down as CEO of Apple, he and some of the original members of the Apple team formed NeXT. On October 12, 1988, they launched the NeXT Cube that combined powerful hardware and software targeted to the higher education market. There isn't video online of this launch, but the clip above shows him at a similar launch two years later.

1998: The iMac

NeXT struggled, but Apple struggled even more. Even though it wasn't exactly a crazy success, NeXT had what Apple so desperately needed: an new operating system. Apple ended up buying NeXT and Jobs returned to the company to help rebuild it. On January 8, 1998, things came full circle when Jobs introduced the revolutionary iMac to the public in the same place he introduced the first Macintosh 14 years before.

To think, that little device in your pocket can do everything these computers can do — and more.

Images: François Duhamel/Universal Pictures (2)