The Day the Tech World Stood Still


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Over the past three months, people of all walks of life have asked me about the Apple tablet. Some work in the tech industry, but many were people I know from my outside life, who have become caught up in the excitement surrounding Apple's announcement.

In the months leading up to the Apple iPad launch, rumors were flying. Many tech blogs even went so far as to run contests, awarding prizes to the reader who could best predict the device's specs. And just about every major news outlet, tech or otherwise, was working overtime to get a scoop on the mythical device.

Interest in technology used to be far less mainstream. That changed in 1984, when Apple took the incredible risk of running its now famous “1984" ad during the Super Bowl. Until that time, most tech advertising was relegated to tech-centric print media. In fact, the idea of doing a TV commercial was considered ridiculous in the industry at the time. However, that ad was incredibly mysterious and compelling, with its Orwellian theme, suggesting that IBM (or Big Blue, if you will) was Big Brother, and Apple was set to “smash" its hold on the world of information, bringing technology to the masses.

The most amazing thing about the ad is the fact that it only ran once. Still, it has left an indelible impression on the worlds of advertising and technology. The ad also helped launch what I call the “mystique of Apple." Before it aired, Apple was considered a computer company for hobbyists. It managed to garner some attention in small business, but the Apple II was largely considered too underpowered to be a serious business computer. IBM ruled the business world with its PC platform. After that ad, however, Apple became a mysterious and potentially powerful computer company.

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This story appears courtesy of PC Magazine.
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