The strangest thing happened today: The Mac Observer turned 20 years old today. One more year, and we can drink! On December 28th, 1998, Dave Hamilton and I relaunched “Webintosh” as The Mac Observer, and it’s been an interesting two decades since.
He and I talked about our beginnings on Friday’s Daily Observations with Kelly Guimont, so I won’t rehash that story here. Instead, I’ll talk about some of the things that changed during that time.
Firstly, Dave and I both moved away from Austin, TX, where we met and started this business. Dave went back East, and I went so far West, I made it all the way to the Far East. Japan, to be specific, where I ran TMO for three months. I then moved to Silicon Valley and watched rent prices go from stratospheric to OMG WTF HAPPENED TO ME?!?!
In the intervening years, Apple went from beleaguered to crazy to fabulously successful, while somehow managing to stay doomed the whole time. At the same time, the market TMO competes in went from “The Mac Web”—because the main stream press (there was no real “tech press” yet) ignored Apple—to every major news publication and organization having one ore more reporters dedicated to Apple.
When we started, there were no podcasts. There wasn’t an iPod yet. When the iPod came out, I whined about it having only 5GB of storage, and everyone and their brother said the name was stupid and it would fail.
The iPhone and iPad were both released, and despite all manner of prognostications to the contrary, both are also the cash machines the rest of the industry struggles to copy. We covered Apple moving to OS X, moving to Intel, and releasing Phone OS (later iOS). We covered the release of Apple Watch, The Cube, Xserve, iPhone 5c, Hi-Fi, iWork, iDVD, Logic, Keynote, iPod Socks, that weird, ugly iPhone case with a hump on the back…and a bunch of other things. Some quickly faded away, and some were huge hits, but covering all of them was fun.
We also covered the passing of Steve Jobs and the ascension of Tim Cook. We were there when the first Apple Stores opened, and our own Kyle D’Addario was hired away by Apple to be one of the first Mac Geniuses. iTunes Store, check. App Store, check. Mac App Store, check. iBooks, check. Ping, check…what, too soon?
Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun launched The Mac Geek Gab, and Dave had the big idea to take some of the things from our morning meeting and turn it into TMO’s Daily Observations. Ricky Spero has this weird idea of doing a “Weekly Roundup” audio show, too.
Today, we have a multi-continental crew that features (in no particular order) me, Dave, John Martellaro, Andrew Orr, Charlotte Henry, Kelly Guimont, Melissa Holt, Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, Adam Christianson, and sometimes John Kheit, Dave Chartier, Chuck La Tournous, and the amazing Jim Tanous.
Other shoutouts (again, in no order): the previously-mentioned Kyle D’Addario, Jeff Gamet, Mike Washleski, Jeff Butts, Brad Cook, Nancy Carroll Gravley (hi, Mom!), Vern Seward, Rodney O. Lain (we miss you so very much), Brad Gibson, Wes George, Darla Sasaki, Raena Armitage, Dan Miller, and many more who have contributed to TMO over the years. There is simply no way to give everyone the kind of mention they are due, and we love you all.
And we also love our readers and listeners, many of whom have been with us the whole 20 years! I’d love to hear about your earliest memories of TMO in the comments, and here’s to the next 20 years.