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The Apple Computer Story - Imaging 1987-1994



Source: Museum Victoria

Several stages have been identified in the history of the Apple Computer Company from 1976 to 2002. These stages are not necessarily chronological and, in fact, some overlap in time.

This narrative deals with one of those stages.

Each stage is described in a separate narrative.

The complete list of stages is:

Apple I Launched 1976
Corporate Rise 1977-1983
The Graphic User Interface 1983-1984
Desktop Publishing 1985-1991 
Imaging 1987-1994
Cable Networking 1984-1991
Portability 1977 onwards
Digital Video 1991
Apple loses its way 1991-1996
Return to Roots 1996-1999
MegaHertz War Myth 1994-2005
UNIX operating system adopted 1999 and 2001
Wireless connectivity introduced 1999
Music for the Millions 2001onwards

Imaging 1987 - 1994

The mouse made it possible to access any point on the screen, opening up possibilities for scalable image manipulation. However trying to draw with a mouse was like trying to draw with a brick shaped pencil. This problem was solved by developments in both hardware and software. The hardware was the graphics tablet, a pressure sensitive pad with an electronic touch pencil in place of the mouse. The software was Adobe Illustrator (1987). This drawing program used bézier curves to create smooth lines, circles and arcs.

In 1988 Apple introduced a scanner, which enabled hand-drawn art to be quickly input to the screen, where it could be digitally manipulated using graphics software.

Adobe, realising the need to manipulate scanned images, introduced Adobe Photoshop in 1990. This revolutionised photo retouching and processing by allowing changes to be made in digital form instead of manually. Digital manipulation was faster, non-destructive of original material and therefore, easily reversible.

Desktop colour printing made imaging affordable for amateurs. The colour inkjet printer made colour almost as cheap as black and white, whilst the Apple Color LaserWriter and other colour printing technologies satisfied the need for professional high quality colour output.

At a time when green-on-black display was considered normal, Apple led the industry with the technology needed to support colour monitors, printers and scanners. Meanwhile Adobe again led the software industry in 1993 with the portable document format (PDF) enabling documents, including images, to be sent to a printery for reproduction without plate manufacture.

In January 1994, Apple again led the industry with the introduction of the QuickTake 100 digital camera and software that made it easy to capture and transfer digital images directly from camera to the computer for manipulation and printing.

'Imaging 1987-1994' is represented in the collection as follows: Image manipulation; Image capture; Apple Scanner; QuickTake digital camera.

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