1984: The first Apple Macintosh computer goes on sale.
The Macintosh 128K hit the market two days after it was announced to the world in the now-legendary commercial aired during Super Bowl XVIII.
If the spot, directed by Ridley Scott, was a minor masterpiece of commercial zeitgeist, the computer itself was a product of its time -- underpowered and not very easy to use. But it did represent a sea change, a paradigm shift, whichever late-20th century business cliché you care to use.
It was the first to feature a graphical user interface that could be called user-friendly and was the first, with the advent of the LaserWriter printer and Aldus PageMaker, to make desktop publishing a reality.
The Macintosh 128K (that was your RAM) screamed along at 8 MHz, featured two serial ports and could accommodate one 3.5-inch floppy disc. It ran the Mac OS 1.0, came with a 9-inch black-and-white monitor and sold for a cool $2,500 (the equivalent of $5,000 in today's dollars).
In a little under three months, Apple sold 50,000 of these babies, not exactly an avalanche.
Specs aside, what was really interesting was the palace intrigue swirling behind the scenes at the corporate mother ship in Cupertino, California. It would play a role in the development of the Macintosh.
Steve Jobs may be celebrated as a minor demigod now, but in the early '80s he was merely a callow co-founder of Apple. Knowing that a grown-up was needed to run the place, Jobs wooed and eventually won the services of John Sculley, then the president of Pepsi-Cola.
Sculley duly arrived but the honeymoon didn't last long. As Apple sales failed to match expectations, Jobs and Sculley fell out, and, as is the wont when two big egos lock antlers, the feuding began. Jobs, who was working on Apple's Lisa project, got dumped from that shortly after Sculley clocked in, so he moved over to the Macintosh. This turned out to be a good thing when Jobs brought Lisa's GUI with him.
He also began plotting to stick it to Sculley and regain the tiller at Apple.
But Sculley had the board of directors' confidence, and when he got wind of Jobs' intrigue he forced a vote on the issue. Jobs lost, then quit, and didn't return until 1996. By then, Sculley was road kill, an unpleasant memory for what had become a struggling company.
Jobs' return to the throne, of course, heralded Apple's resurrection and he's been up on top of Mt. Sinai pretty much ever since, handing down the tablets.