In 1983 I bought an Apple IIe for the equivalent of $3,000. Given that I was already knee-deep in debt it was a fairly reckless investment. I actually sold my car — a stylish but temperamental Citroen — to buy it. Though its beige shell was less fetching, the Apple was more reliable and I crashed it far less frequently. I even managed some early computer-aided design, albeit with a handful of pixels.
Despite being a fantastically complicated machine there was almost no learning curve. I never even opened the instruction manual. I learnt how to use it simply by using it. Today, computers are almost second nature to most of us. Back then it was pretty astounding to have something feel so instinctive.
Ironically, I was completely frustrated by the electronic appliance industry at the time. I had this brilliant new technology (the dual cyclone) that was ready to transform the vacuum cleaner. But every company I approached couldn’t fathom the changes that I was proposing. I took solace that there was at least one company trying to create something new.
Apple saw the long game in a way most couldn’t (and still can’t). Started from scratch in 1976, its technology won on its own merit. I did eventually upgrade my Apple IIe but it certainly left a strong impression. I continue to use their machines because they continue to be fundamentally well designed.
Some are keen to copy the look and feel of Apple’s product. The sleek curves and slim clean design are certainly easy on the eye. That misses the point though. The real pleasure is in the ease of use and the stunning functionality. It promises you something different and it actually delivers it.