Making the Mac: 20 Vintage Apple Ads

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From the curious introductory price of $666.66 to spreads featuring David Carson, old Apple and Mac ads are fascinating. On the practical side they also chart the swift evolution and perception of personal computers in America, as the conversation shifts from convincing potential users about the worth, utility and operation of the machines to the bolder tone Apple adopts as PCs become ubiquitous.

Mac Mothership, which maintains a fascinating archive of all things Apple, allowed us to dig through their collection of print ads. For more—and for larger versions, which are linked below—drop by the site.

Here we follow the trail of Apple ads that laid the foundation for the company prior to the bold palette dancing silhouettes and Feist videos that dominated in the early 2000s.

 

One of the first Apple ads. 1976. 4K RAM.

One of the first Apple ads. 1976. 4K RAM.

 

 

1977IntroAppleII1

1976 Apple II Introduction Ad (1/2). “Now you’re ready for an evening of discovery in the new world of personal computers.”

1977IntroAppleII2

1976 Apple II Introduction Ad (2/2).

 

 

1977 Apple II "Simplicity" Brochure.

1977 Apple II “Simplicity” Brochure.

 

 

Apple II 1979 "How to Buy" Ad. "Suddenly everyone is talking about personal computers."

Apple II 1979 “How to Buy” Ad. “Suddenly everyone is talking about personal computers.”

 

 

1979 Apple II "Adam" Ad. "What in the name of Adam do people do with Apple computers?"

1979 Apple II “Adam” Ad. “What in the name of Adam do people do with Apple computers?”

 

 

1979 Apple Pascal "Iron-On" Ad. "When you've got it, flaunt it."

1979 Apple Pascal “Iron-On” Ad. “When you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

 

 

1980 Apple II Ben Franklin Ad. "It's a wise man who owns an Apple."

1980 Apple II Ben Franklin Ad. “It’s a wise man who owns an Apple.”

 

 

someoneplease1

1981 Apple III “Will Someone Please?” Ad. (1/4)

someoneplease2

1981 Apple III “Will Someone Please?” Ad. (2/4)

SomeonePlease

1981 Apple III “Will Someone Please?” Ad. (3/4)

someoneplease3

1981 Apple III “Will Someone Please?” Ad. (4/4)

 

 

1981 "Baked Apple" Ad (1/2).

1981 “Baked Apple” Ad (1/2).

1981 "Baked Apple" Ad (2/2).

1981 “Baked Apple” Ad (2/2).

 

 

1981 Chait/Day "Seriously" Ad.

1981 Chait/Day “Seriously” Ad.

 

 

1981 IBM "Seriously" Ad.

1981 IBM “Seriously” Ad.

 

 

1984 Apple IIc Introduction Ad.

1984 Apple IIc Introduction Ad.

 

 

1992 PowerBook Ad Featuring Steve Wozniak (1/1).

1992 PowerBook Ad, featuring Steve Wozniak (1/1).

1992 PowerBook Ad Featuring Steve Wozniak (2/2).

1992 PowerBook Ad, featuring Steve Wozniak (2/2).

 

 

"What's on your PowerBook?" Ad, featuring Gene Shalit.

“What’s on your PowerBook?” Ad, featuring Gene Shalit.

 

 

1996 Power Macintosh Ad, featuring David Carson (1/2).

1996 Power Macintosh Ad, featuring David Carson (1/2).

1996 Power Macintosh Ad, featuring David Carson (2/2).

1996 Power Macintosh Ad, featuring David Carson (2/2).

 

 

1997 Apple "Create" Ad.

1997 Apple “Create” Ad.

 

 

1997 Mac OS 8 Introduction Ad #1.

1997 Mac OS 8 Introduction Ad #1.

 

 

1997 Apple Macintosh "Leave Your Mark" Ad.

1997 Apple Macintosh “Leave Your Mark” Ad.

 

 

1998 iMac "Chic. Not Geek." Ad.

1998 iMac “Chic. Not Geek.” Ad.

 

 

1998 Think Different Ad Featuring Muhammad Ali.

1998 Think Different Ad, featuring Muhammad Ali.

 —Zachary Petit is the senior managing editor of Print.
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