A family of desktop and laptop computers from Apple, introduced in 1984 as the Macintosh, which was coined from the McIntosh apple. First to popularize the graphical user interface (GUI), the combination of Mac hardware and software has provided an ease of use that users have enjoyed over the years.
From Macintosh to Mac
Because Macintosh computers were always called "Macs," Apple officially used the shortened name on the iMac 14 years after the Macintosh's introduction. The MacBook laptop came out later and the Macintosh name began to disappear. For an overview of the line, see Mac models
. To learn about the Mac's origins, see Mac history
For decades, it has essentially been a Mac vs. Windows world for personal computers. As of 2020, the Mac's market share is about 10% compared to 80% for Windows. See Windows vs. Mac
The first Macs were powered by Motorola's 32-bit 68K family of CPUs. In 1994, Apple introduced the Power Macs, which used the higher-performance PowerPC chip designed by Apple, Motorola and IBM. Power Macs ran native PowerPC applications and emulated traditional Mac 68K applications. Over the years, PowerPC chips provided substantial increases in performance.
In 2006, Apple began to adopt the Intel x86 CPUs used in Windows PCs. iMac desktops and MacBook Pro laptops were the first to be switched (see Intel Mac
). As a result, Macs can run Windows natively or simultaneously (see Boot Camp
, Parallels Desktop
and VMware Fusion
). Before the Intel change, Windows and DOS applications could run in a Mac using an emulator (see Virtual PC for Mac
In 2020, Apple once again announced another hardware switch; this time from Intel to ARM (see ARM Mac
). See Macintosh clone
, Mac OS X
The Original Macintosh (1984)
With one floppy disk, 128KB of RAM and built-in 9" screen, the "high-rise" Macintosh was a departure from the very successful Apple II. (Image courtesy of Apple Inc.)
Always the Innovator
Apple has created many original designs. This PowerBook in 2001 was the first laptop with a wide screen and titanium body.