It is not news that, for some, the world of terminology in technology is full of trifles. What is the difference between saying PC or CPU? Or what does it matter if we call it USB or Pendrive? Well, one of these dilemmas is older than we think and has to do with the eternal rivalry that Manzana has had with Windows or, rather, with any other platform that offers computers on the market. From this meeting the question arises: is it correct to say that the ‘Apple’ Macs are pc?
YOU CAN SEE: Apple M1 Ultra and Mac Studio: the new ‘beast’ of apple computers?
The origin of the term ‘Mac’
The word ‘Mac‘ as we know it today was first introduced in 1984, with the now legendary introduction of the first macintosha computer with modest features but with great portability, with which the Steve Jobs he promised that he would “save the computer industry.”
The term Mac derived from a simple abbreviation for Macintosh, and by then Jobs himself used to call his new product “The Mac”. The reason this term was always kept away from ‘PC’ started around then.
TIME’s award to the PC, and not the Mac
An anecdote that already reflects this dilemma is collected by the Cult of Mac portal. In 1982, TIME magazine launched its traditional year-end cover. In it, he names the PC as person of the year. This result caused great commotion in Steve Jobs, who already at that time considered everything that was named as “PC” a direct rival of the Mac
The Mac vs. IBM PC
The origin of this feeling is not entirely clear, but it could be explained from Jobs’s own testimonies. It is known that around 1983, when advertising for the Macintosh was at its height, the Apple genius used to claim that his product was crucial to changing the course of the personal computer and society in general.
By then, Apple was already a successful company, and it had certainly earned a lot of respect for being just a start-up that achieved overnight success thanks to its first Apple II (launched in 1977), which was one of the first personal computers designed “for all audiences”, an almost illogical concept for any technology company at the time.
One of these companies, and perhaps the strongest at the time, was IBM, which, like many, had always rejected the idea of creating computers for home use, claiming that “ordinary people could not find a use for a computer.” and that these were only intended to occupy production offices for complex tasks.
All that philosophy was obsolete when Apple and a handful of other companies debuted their personal computers in the late 1970s, and by 1981 IBM itself decided to jump on the bandwagon by presenting the IBM PCwhich achieved great success in a short time.
IBM and its PC: ‘the big brother’
This surely increased Jobs’s sense of competition, which, at times, would lead him to say that the Macintosh was the product that would save the personal computer industry, since it would prevent IBM from taking over the entire market. His analogy with George Orwell’s novel “1984” is famous, referenced in the popular advertising piece for the Macintosh (directed by Ridley Scott), where he suggests that “the big brother watching over you” is IBM.
The popularity of the IBM PC was so great that many other companies launched similar and compatible products, which were later baptized and promoted as “IBM PC Compatible”. Over the years, this term was reduced to simply being called ‘PC’.
This is the main reason why the Mac has always had a certain differentiation with the term PC. It is worth mentioning that PC, in its most general sense, simply means ‘personal computer’, and, theoretically, it can refer to any personal computer, that is, for home use, including current Macintosh or Mac computers. However, the fact that IBM named its first product “IBM PC” meant that, since then, everything called ‘PC’ is related to what Jobs wanted to differentiate himself from with his line of Macs.