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last updated 30 Aug 2020
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Apple's Classic Mac introduction Ad on Super Bowl XVIII in 1984 referred to George Orwell's 1948 Book "1984" showing a dark, dystopian future where not even a person’s thoughts were kept private.

Apple did provide a viable alternative to the PC and Microsoft's DOS operating system, with the Mac graphical user interface (GUI), bought and sometimes stollen from Xerox who pioneered the GUI.

The 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad

We see grey, drabbly dressed, shaven headed and androgynous figures marching – or being marched thru a tube lined by television monitors broadcasting political propaganda,- towards a large hall dominated by an enormous telescreen on which we see a Big Brother-like figure continuing the speech heard in the tube. Many of the workers wear breathing apparatus suggesting pollution – or possibly a fear of biological contamination.
The speech praises unity and conformity of thought; his delivery and language deliberately evoke the speeches of Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Mussolini.

It was more about control of technology by a few rather than government. IBM released a PC in 1981 and businesses were moving to it. The impression was that existing PCs like the Apple II and Atari were game machines.
Some assumed the ad it was aimed at IBM, but Steve Hayden who created the ad said it was not.
See PC History.

The narrative with the add included,
"Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

Aside: The woman who won the audition for the ad was an actress and discus thrower. Apparently it was a real hammer.

The irony is that we got with the introduction of the iPhone 24 years later and the android phones that followed was a dystopian present with unification of thoughts enabled by a group of Big Brothers Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter ... allowing kids, Gen Xers and Millennials, to set a standard of social interaction that belittles anyone who doesn't let these technologies dominate their lives.

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