Professor Dr. Peter Zec in a radio interview with Deutschlandfunk Kultur:

40 years of the Macintosh – Apple’s design revolution

Apple entered the computer world 40 years ago with the first Macintosh. A computer that was not only technologically groundbreaking, but also heralded a design revolution. In an interview with Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot, Ramona Westhof from Deutschlandfunk Kultur recalls the beginnings and the pioneering elements of the first Mac.

You can listen to the entire interview in German here:

» to the interview

The first Macintosh was a "hulk of a computer" with just 128 kilobytes of memory. But its graphical user interface, accompanied by a keyboard in matching colours and a square mouse, set standards in terms of design and user-friendliness. Peter Zec emphasises that the Macintosh was not only conceived for home use, but also revolutionised design. At a time when IBM PCs were difficult to use for technical laymen, the Macintosh brought simplicity and intuition to everyday life.

The graphical interface of the Macintosh, reminiscent of a desktop, with folders, icons and a recycle bin, changed the way people used computers. This all-in-one design was a revolution, and Apple has maintained this simplicity to the present day.

The simplicity and emotional connection between the user and the device make all the difference. This concept also prevailed with the iPhone, which revolutionised the world of smartphones with its user interface.

The development of the Apple design has influenced many other manufacturers, and today many products are modelled on the simple elegance of Apple devices.

As founder of the Red Dot Design Award, Peter Zec takes a look into the future. He predicts that design development will increasingly focus on the inside of devices. Examples such as the new iMacs with the M1 and M2 chip show that the focus will be on how devices can be operated more easily. Here, too, he sees Apple as a pioneer.

All in all, it can be said that the first Macintosh 40 years ago not only set a milestone in computer history, but also laid the foundations for a design that continues to inspire us today and has had a lasting influence on the way we interact with technology.

The interview was broadcasted on Deutschlandfunk Kultur on 24 January 2024.