The Computer Revolution: From Room-Sized to Pocket-Sized

May 16, 2024

Apple launched Macintosh during the Superbowl XVIII in 1984 With a Groundbreaking Commercial

Computers are an integral part of life. People use them to communicate with people who are important to them at work and home. Many people look up information that they want to learn on a computer. Others watch movies, play games or entertain themselves using computers. From early morning to late night, people rely on computer systems to help them stay organized.

While it is hard for most people to imagine life without computers, it hasn't always been that way. Here's a look at how people developed computers and their operating programs. Along the way, meet some people who influenced their development. You'll discover how computers went from filling entire rooms to being small enough to fit in your pocket.



Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas, and Lee Clow conceived the idea to introduce the world to Macintosh through a television ad based on George Orwell's book "Nineteen Eighty-Four." The ad, directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) featuring Anya Major as an unnamed heroine and David Graham as Big Brother, was first shown on 10 local channels during the last break before midnight on December 31. Still, most people saw the ad during Super Bowl XVIII on CBS.

In a keynote address, Steve Jobs described the ad as "It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived as the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom."

The World's First Dynamic Random Access Memory Computer, the Intel 1103, Transforms the Industry

Getty Images

In 1969, William Regitz of Honeywell started contacting companies looking for someone to share in developing a dynamic memory circuit containing a three-transistor cell that workers had developed. After being turned down by several companies, Intel became excited about the project and assigned Joel Karp to work with Regitz.

After developing the 1X, 2Y cell and creating the Intel 1102, Intel officials decided that a 2X, 2Y cell would work better, leading to the release of the 1103 in October 1970. This allowed manufacturers to move away from bulky magnetic-core random access memory and to refine previous transistor-based memory cell designs. R.H. Dennard, who designed the one-cell transmitter, said the development of this cell "allowed RAM to become very dense and inexpensive. As a result, mainframe computers could be equipped with relatively fast RAM to act as a buffer for the increasing amount of data stored on disk drives. This vastly sped up the process of accessing and using stored information."