A Macintosh 128K with hardware
Clockwise from top: MacBook Air (2015), iMac G5 20" (2004), Macintosh II (1987), Power Mac G4 Cube (2000), iBook G3 Blueberry (1999) and original Macintosh 128K (1984)
Screenshot of Mac OS 9
Pre-release XC68000 chip made in 1979
Back case of an unaltered original Macintosh (sold January–November 1984). The majority of 128k machines made after November 1984 have the label "Macintosh 128K" on the back of the case.
A prototype of the Macintosh from 1981 (at the Computer History Museum)
Screenshot of Mac OS 9
Die of Motorola 68000
Macintosh motherboard
The Apple Macintosh Plus at the Design Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden
Original 1984 Macintosh desktop
Motorola MC68000 (leadless chip carrier (CLCC) package)
Back case label of a Macintosh made after November 1984
The Macintosh II, the first Macintosh model with color graphics
Mac OS 8.1 desktop
Motorola MC68000 (plastic leaded chip carrier (PLCC) package)
Signatures inside the Macintosh 128K case
The Macintosh SE, updated Compact Macintosh design using Snow White design language
The logos of Mac OS X/OS X/macOS, from Cheetah 10.0 through to Big Sur 11
Hitachi HD68000
The Macintosh Portable, Apple's first battery-powered Macintosh
Thomson TS68000
The Macintosh LC II with a Macintosh 12" RGB Display.
Motorola MC68HC000LC8
The PowerBook 100
Two Hitachi 68HC000 CPUs being used on an arcade-game PCB
The iMac G3, introduced in 1998. Though it led Apple's return to profitability, its associated mouse was one of consumers' least favorite products.
Motorola 68EC000 controller
2006 MacBook Pro
27-inch Slim Unibody iMac
The 15-inch late 2016 MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar
2020 MacBook Pro
An iMac G5 with its back panel removed
The original Macintosh introduced a radically new graphical user interface for personal computers. Users interact with the computer using a metaphorical desktop with icons of real life items, instead of abstract textual commands.

The Macintosh 128K, originally released as the Apple Macintosh, is the original Apple Macintosh personal computer.

- Macintosh 128K

The Classic Mac OS (System Software) is the series of operating systems developed for the Macintosh family of personal computers by Apple Inc. from 1984 to 2001, starting with System 1 and ending with Mac OS 9.

- Classic Mac OS

The original Macintosh is the first successful mass-market all-in-one desktop personal computer to have featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen, and mouse.

- Macintosh

Apple released the original Macintosh on January 24, 1984.

- Classic Mac OS

It was widely used in a new generation of personal computers with graphical user interfaces, including the Macintosh, Amiga, Atari ST, and X68000.

- Motorola 68000

The heart of the computer was a Motorola 68000 microprocessor running at 7.8336 MHz, connected to 128 KB RAM shared by the processor and the display controller.

- Macintosh 128K

The first versions initially had no name but came to be known as the "Macintosh System Software" in 1988, "Mac OS" in 1997 with the release of Mac OS 7.6, and retrospectively called "Classic Mac OS".

- Macintosh

Originally they used the Motorola 68000 series of microprocessors.

- Macintosh

The 68000 also is used for mass-market computers such as the Apple Lisa, Macintosh, Amiga, and Atari ST.

- Motorola 68000

(Ejecting the root filesystem remained an unusual feature of the classic Mac OS until System 7.) One floppy disk was sufficient to store the System Software, an application and the data files created with the application.

- Macintosh 128K

Early versions of Mac OS are compatible only with Motorola 68000-family Macintoshes.

- Classic Mac OS

For example, early (pre-7.0) versions of Apple's Mac OS used the high byte of memory-block master pointers to hold flags such as locked and purgeable.

- Motorola 68000

500 related topics


Classic Mac OS memory management

"About This Computer" Mac OS 9.1 window showing the memory consumption of each open application and the system software itself.

Historically, the classic Mac OS used a form of memory management that has fallen out of favor in modern systems.

The original problem for the engineers of the Macintosh was how to make optimum use of the 128 KB of RAM with which the machine was equipped, on Motorola 68000-based computer hardware that did not support virtual memory.

Originally the Macintosh had 128 KB of RAM, with a true limit of 4 MB, despite being soldered.

Apple Lisa

Desktop computer developed by Apple, released on January 19, 1983.

Lisa, with an Apple ProFile external hard disk atop it, and dual 5.25-inch floppy drives
Lisa IO board with a Macintosh XL UV-EPROM installed
Lisa 2
Macintosh XL
A screenshot of Lisa Office System 3.1
A screenshot of the Apple Lisa Workshop
An original Apple Lisa at work, Apple Convention, Boston, Spring 1983

Lisa was affected by its high price, insufficient software, unreliable Apple FileWare floppy disks, and the immediate release of the cheaper and faster Macintosh.

In 1982, after Steve Jobs was forced out of the Lisa project by Apple's Board of Directors, he then appropriated the Macintosh project from Jef Raskin, who had originally conceived of a sub-$1,000 text-based appliance computer in 1979.

It uses a Motorola 68000 CPU clocked at 5 MHz and has 1 MB of RAM.

Macintosh 512K

Personal computer that was designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer, inc. from September 1984 to April 1986.

Mac 512K back panel
Mac 512K with accessories
Mac 512K side-view showing interrupt and reset interface

It is the first update to the original Macintosh 128K.

It was virtually identical to the previous Macintosh, differing primarily in the amount of built-in random-access memory.

The Mac 512K originally shipped with Macintosh System 1.1 but was able to run all versions of Mac OS up to System 4.1.

Like the Macintosh 128K before it, the 512K contained a Motorola 68000 connected to a 512 KB DRAM by a 16-bit data bus.


Laser printer with built-in PostScript interpreter sold by Apple, Inc. from 1985 to 1988.

Apple LaserWriter

In combination with WYSIWYG publishing software like PageMaker, that operated on top of the graphical user interface of Macintosh computers, the LaserWriter was a key component at the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution.

To support this, the LaserWriter featured a Motorola 68000 CPU running at 12 MHz, 512 KB of workspace RAM, and a 1 MB frame buffer.

IBM Personal Computer

First microcomputer released in the IBM PC model line and the basis for the IBM PC compatible de facto standard.

IBM Personal Computer with keyboard and monitor
IBM Personal Computer with keyboard and monitor
Internal view of a PC compatible computer, showing components and layout.
Original IBM Personal Computer motherboard
IBM PC with MDA monitor
IBM Model F keyboard
IBM Personal Computer with IBM CGA monitor (model 5153), IBM PC keyboard, IBM 5152 printer and paper stand. (1988)
The back of a PC, showing the five expansion slots
PC DOS 3.30 running on an IBM PC
Digital Research CP/M-86 Version 1.0 for the IBM PC

The only significant competition it faced from a non-compatible platform throughout the 1980s was from the Apple Macintosh product line.

Several CPUs were considered, including the Texas Instruments TMS9900, Motorola 68000 and Intel 8088.


American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, United States.

Local branch in Glostrup, Denmark
Motorola vacuum tube carton
Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first private handheld mobile phone call on a larger prototype model in 1973. This is a reenactment in 2007.

In 1980, Motorola's next generation 32-bit microprocessor, the MC68000, led the wave of technologies that spurred the computing revolution in 1984, powering devices from companies such as Apple, Commodore, Atari, Sun, and Hewlett Packard.

In particular, it is known for the 6800 family and 68000 family of microprocessors and related peripheral ICs; the processors were used in Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Color Computer, and Apple Macintosh personal computers and in the early HP laser printers, and some 6800-family peripheral devices were used in the IBM PC series of personal computers.


Computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits.

Texas Instruments TMS1000
Intel 4004
Motorola 68000 (MC68000)
A modern 64 bit x86-64 processor (AMD Ryzen 5 2600, Based on Zen+, 2017)
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X (2016, based on Zen) processor in a AM4 socket on a motherboard
A block diagram of the architecture of the Z80 microprocessor, showing the arithmetic and logic section, register file, control logic section, and buffers to external address and data lines
Intel Core i9-9900K (2018, based on Coffee Lake)
The PICO1/GI250 chip introduced in 1971: It was designed by Pico Electronics (Glenrothes, Scotland) and manufactured by General Instrument of Hicksville NY.
The 4004 with cover removed (left) and as actually used (right)
First microprocessor by Intel, the 4004
Upper interconnect layers on an Intel 80486DX2 die
ABIT BP6 motherboard supported two Intel Celeron 366Mhz processors picture shows Zalman heatsinks.
Abit BP6 dual-socket Motherboard shown with Zalman Flower heatsinks.

The most significant of the 32-bit designs is the Motorola MC68000, introduced in 1979.

The Apple Lisa and Macintosh designs made use of the 68000, as did a host of other designs in the mid-1980s, including the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.


Family of personal computers introduced by Commodore in 1985.

The 1987 Amiga 500 was the best-selling model.
The 1987 Amiga 500 was the best-selling model.
The Boing Ball
Amiga 1000
Amiga 600
Amiga 1200
Amiga CD32
4096 color HAM picture created with Photon Paint in 1989
An image in PAL 640x512 16 color mode displayed by an Amiga 2000 on a Commodore 1084 monitor
Amiga mouse
8-bit sound sampling hardware for the Amiga
The Amiga 1000 (1985) was the first model released.
The Amiga 4000 (1992) was the last desktop computer made by Commodore.
AmigaOne X1000 running AmigaOS 4.1
Logo used in the US on some product packaging for the Amiga 500
Amiga Technologies logo incorporating the "Boing Ball" (1996)

This includes the Atari ST—released earlier the same year—as well as the Macintosh and Acorn Archimedes.

Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Amiga differs from its contemporaries through the inclusion of custom hardware to accelerate graphics and sound, including sprites and a blitter, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.

As with Apple's Mac OS prior to Mac OS 8, menu options are selected by releasing the button over that option, not by left clicking.

Motorola 68020

32-bit microprocessor from Motorola, released in 1984.

XC68020, a prototype of the 68020
Motorola 68020
Motorola 68020 die shot
bottom view of a Motorola XC68020
Motorola MC68EC020
MC68EC020 in 20mm × 14mm QFP package

A number of digital oscilloscopes from the mid-80s to the late-90s used the 68020, including the LeCroy 9300 Series (higher end models including "C" suffix models used the more powerful 68EC030; the 9300 models with a 68020 processor can be upgraded to the 68EC030 with a change of the CPU board ) and the earlier LeCroy 9400 series (all models excluding the 9400/9400A which used the 68000 ), along with certain Tektronix TDS Series models.

Steve Jobs

American entrepreneur, inventor, business magnate, media proprietor, and investor.

Childhood family home of Steve Jobs on Crist Drive in Los Altos, California, that served as the original site of Apple Computer. The home was added to a list of historic Los Altos sites in 2013.
Jobs's 1972 Homestead High School yearbook photo
Jobs (left) with software developer Wendell Brown in 1984
Jobs onstage at Macworld Conference & Expo, San Francisco, January 11, 2005
Jobs and Bill Gates at the fifth D: All Things Digital conference (D5) in May 2007
Jobs demonstrating the iPhone 4 to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on June 23, 2010
Flags flying at half-staff outside Apple HQ in Cupertino, on the evening of Jobs's death
An Apple II with an external modem, designed primarily by Wozniak
Jobs holding up a MacBook Air at the MacWorld Conference & Expo in 2008
The original iMac, introduced in 1998, was the first consumer-facing Apple product to debut under Jobs's return.
Jobs unveiling the iPhone at MacWorld Conference & Expo on January 9, 2007
Jobs introducing the iPad in San Francisco on January 27, 2010
Jobs's house in Palo Alto
Jobs's house, as viewed from an adjacent sidewalk. Abundant fruit trees are visible next to the house.
Statue of Jobs at Graphisoft Park, Budapest

This led to the development of the unsuccessful Apple Lisa in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Macintosh in 1984, the first mass-produced computer with a GUI.

In 2001, the original Mac OS was replaced with the completely new Mac OS X (now known as macOS), based on NeXT's NeXTSTEP platform, giving the operating system a modern Unix-based foundation for the first time.

Jobs began directing the development of the Macintosh in 1981, when he took over the project from early Apple employee Jef Raskin, who conceived the computer (Wozniak, who with Raskin had heavy influence over the program early on in its development, was on leave during this time due to an airplane crash earlier that year ).