Cult of Errors: What Is Wrong with These Pictures?

If you’ve been on Facebook this weekend, chances are you’ve seen a link to a Cult of Mac article entitled See How Mac Magically Decluttered Our Desks Over Past 35 Years. And if you saw it, you probably clicked on it and saw the animation showing how that took place.

Cult of Mac articleProblem is, there was no Mac 35 years ago. There wasn’t even an IBM PC 35 years ago. If you had a personal computer in 1979, it was probably an Apple II, Atari, Commodore, or TRS-80. On the business side, it would most likely have been a CP/M machine.

This video, originally published by Best Reviews, covers 1980 through 2014, and over time each item on the desktop – except for the sunglasses – is replaced by an app on the computer.

Cult of Mac has changed its headline from 35 years to 30 years, fixing one problem with their article.

As I said, there are some real problems with the photographs. Take a look at the first one, which they label 1980. See how many mistakes you can find before reading the next paragraph.

1980 image shows Mac Classic

Desktop from 1980 shows Mac Classic.

Have you spotted the biggest mistake? Yes, it’s one I already mentioned. There was no Macintosh in 1980. The people at Best Reviews botched that. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Macintosh 128KThe original Mac arrived in 1984, and it didn’t look like the one in the photo. The Mac 128K was beige, not platinum, a color Apple adopted in 1987. It had a thicker keyboard with no numeric keypad that attached to the front of the computer. It had a colorful Apple logo on the front but no product name there.

The Mac in the photo is either a Mac Classic or a Classic II, which look identical. I’ll assume it’s the Classic, which is the older of the two. That model was introduced in October 1990, a full decade after the date assigned to this photo.

And one more thing: The mouse is the original Macintosh mouse, which can’t even connect to any port on the Mac Classic.

Pretty sad that the staff at Cult of Mac missed the fact that there was no Mac 35 years ago, let alone the fact that the Mac shown was not even the first (or second or third or fourth…) Mac.

According to Cult of Mac, this article is about how Macs have changed the desktop, but that’s not what Best Reviews was saying. They were looking at how PCs in general have done that. Here’s their image supposedly from 1984. How many errors do you see?

1984 image

1984 desktop shows a laptop replacing the desktop Mac.

Cult of Mac apparently didn’t look to closely or they would have immediately seen that the notebook computer here is not a PowerBook. That red button on the keyboard is a dead giveaway that this is an IBM ThinkPad. No Mac laptop has ever had an isopoint device. Also, there were no Mac notebooks in 1984 – there were just barely desktop Macs then.

To add insult to injury, Best Reviews didn’t notice the chronological error of including an IBM ThinkPad in a photo representing 1984. The first ThinkPad didn’t arrive until 1992. The Grid Compass came out in 1982, so there was a laptop they could have chosen rather than the anachronistic ThinkPad.

How did they do with their 2006 image?

2006 desktop shows a MacBook Pro

2006 desktop shows a 15″ MacBook Pro.

15" MacBook ProAt least they showed a MacBook Pro this time, and the first MacBook Pro did ship in 2006. Problem is, it didn’t have a black keyboard, and it had an aluminum surround holding the display in place, as you can see in the photo on the left.

That black keyboard was introduced with the consumer MacBook in May 2006, but it didn’t come to the 15″ MacBook Pro until October 2008 – two years to late for this photo.

With all the attention Best Reviews appears to have taken to show when various desktop items were replaced by software, you’d think they would have gotten at least one of the three computers right. You’d expect all three to be right, but not even one?

I doesn’t take a computer historian to get it right. All the information is readily available online with a simple Google search – and much of it on Low End Mac.

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One thought on “Cult of Errors: What Is Wrong with These Pictures?

  1. One hilarious thing is the crazy way their perception has bent history. A notebook wasn’t a viable machine for most people until the 21st Century, and until 2005 or so, most folks had desktops.

    I still do! 😀