Part of Apple’s culture, instilled by Steve Jobs, is this ethic to always look forward, not look back.
But Apple is obsessed with one year in history: 1984. The year the company introduced the Mac and the company was saved.
Every Apple press release since mid-2015 includes this boilerplate (emphasis ours):
“Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, the Mac and Apple Watch. Apple’s three software platforms – iOS, OS X and watchOS – provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
While Apple’s press releases have always honored the Mac, they didn’t honor the year.
They used to humbly say: “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world … ” and then went on to mention things like “Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”
But maybe this idea that Jobs always looked forward, never back is a bit of a myth.
Because we found this old video from 1984 for Apple’s worldwide sales staff meeting in Hawaii, to get them riled up about selling the new Mac.
It’s World War II movie named “1944” that features Steve Jobs as Franklin D. Roosevelt. (It’s a play off the very famous Mac commercial called 1984, that introduced the Mac to the public.)
1944 is filled with geeky Apple jokes.
Like at 3:09, “General Patton” refers to the dominance of Microsoft PCs back in the day and says: “The enemy is big, but we are smart. They are the elephant. We are the mouse.”
Or at 3:21, when he says, “Let us never forget the glorious victories of the past. WWI, WWII, II+, IIe, and IIc.” In the crowd, a man whispers, “What about III?” And a woman answers, “We don’t talk about III.”
The Apple III was a notorious failure, and badly hurt the company and its reputation. The new PC, the Mac largely saved Apple.
But the best part is at 05:33, where Steve Jobs shows up as President Roosevelt. This was before Jobs was famously voted out of the company in 1985. He, of course, returned in 1997, and the rest is, as they say, history.