You probably remember the iconic 1984 Superbowl ad with the young woman throwing the hammer at the giant TV screen representative of the large faceless corporations of the time *cough*IBM*cough*. Who would have thought that Apple itself would someday turn into the very dragon it had attempted to slay during the Reagan years?
It’s interesting, though, to watch Apple’s rebirth leading all the way to today that, although the company itself has undergone a massive facelift with its product line, the Apple website has remained virtually untouched during the entire post-1990’s evolution of Apple products.
Here is the Apple website in 1998. It is ultra clean (get used to it) and it certainly resembles the Apple website that we know today. We can see that Apple has always been great at producing clever marketing slogans (“Blows minds not budgets”). Apple isn’t resorting to flashy gimmicks or a bold, elaborate interface to knock your socks off. They’ve always been about letting the product do it for you. It’s nothing special, but it works. As you’ll see throughout our trip through time, this 1998 website still holds up well even today.
Don’t adjust your set folks! Although we’ve eclipsed 4 years you’ll notice from here on out that there won’t be any drastic visual changes to the Apple website for the next decade. We’re not quite at the ‘i’ age yet with iPods, iPads and iTunes, but the website gives us our first glimpses at the glassy-glossy ‘web 2.0’ style that has been widely adopted by web designers everywhere. This is the major change to the website in 4 years – adding a menu to the top of the page. They’ve kept the page clean as a showcase area for their products and main content.
In part 2 of this article, we’ll look at what kind of effect the world-wide boom of the iPod has had on the Apple website.