My first Mac

The Mac turns 40! And as Marcel and other people on Mastodon are sharing their first Macs, I’m going to do that too. It really was a turning point for me.

I remember lurking around the iPod at Hertie (a big shopping center in Munich). Back in 2004, it wasn’t common in Germany to find Apple products in regular stores. I was thirteen years old, and started to get interested in design and tech, and as Marcel writes, there seemed no way around Apple products.

I got an iPod, but a Mac was still too expensive. Eventually, I got the chance to buy a second-hand PowerMac G3 from a family friend. It was my first Mac! It ran MacOS 8 and had all Adobe products installed.

Old snapshot of a blue PowerMac G3

But I wasn’t interested in Mac OS 8. I wanted Mac OS X! Panther! So I bought and installed it; it was slow and not really usable, but I loved it. Just like I loved the machine—the blue translucent plastic, the handles, the hatch to access the motherboard. Despite its slowness, it was so much fun to use iPhoto and iMovie and the likes on it.

My “real” first Mac was the first white Intel MacBook. It ran MacOS X Tiger, and I had so much trouble with it. It was broken constantly, I needed to have the motherboard replaced twice, and there were still hardly any Mac sellers in my area back then. It didn’t bother me. It made school so much more fun; using Keynote and iLife and making little websites on it. I was such a weirdo running around with this alienating piece of tech.

Old snapshot of my MacBook from 2006

I also still really love the plastic cases of the mid-2000s Macs; they feel less precious and were nice to touch and use. I wish my current MacBook Air was built like that.

Anyway. Every once in a while, I get to use a Windows PC and I am still fascinated how different it is, how much wonkier it feels, and how odd the interfaces are. Mac OS Aqua really was the key reason to get a Mac for me—I was drawn to the glossy, whimsical interfaces and the product’s form factor. I still am.

As I got older and Macs just turned into a tool I needed for my work (and life, I guess), I started buying old Apple stuff on eBay, just to fulfill some teenage dreams. I don’t hoard Apple hardware excessively, but I keep some things around that I just love and cannot get rid of. One example is the 2003 Apple Cinema display with its acrylic case. The product design, inspired by a painter’s easel, just keeps delighting me. It’s not usable anymore with my M1 MacBook Air, but I loved writing my Master’s thesis on it in 2018.

Old snapshot of my acrylic Apple Cinema Display from 2003

My current setup, besides the MacBook Air, is a 2019 iMac with a huge 27″ inch retina screen. It’s great to use, but as it stands on my desk, taking up all that space, it lacks joy, at times.