Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- On January 27, 2010, Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc. announced the release of their first-generation iPad – a touch screen tablet computer. Over 300,000 were sold the first day pre-orders were accepted. Before the release of the iPad 2 in March 2011, total sales reached 15 million.
- The iPad was selected by Time magazine as one of the 50 Best Inventions of the Year 2010 while Popular Science chose it as a top gadget in their “Best of What’s New 2010” list. It was designed for browsing the web, reading and sending e-mail, viewing photographs, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books, and more. Critics noted the absence of a camera, the inability to multi-task, and the lack of support for Adobe Flash.
- The first iPads measured 7.47”w x 9.56”h x 0.5”d and weighed 1.5 pounds (1.6 pounds for the 3G model). They were released with Apple’s iPhone operating system, OS 3.2, a mobile version of its Mac OS X, but by November of 2010 iOS 4.2 was available and it included application multi-tasking. Included with each iPad were WiFi, Bluetooth interface, microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, audio ports molded into the case, and a proprietary 30-pin dock connector (used for recharging). It had a rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery which could provide 10 hours of video, 140 hours of music, or one month of standby time. Options for the iPad included 3G cellular capabilities and storage options of 16, 32, or 64 GB of solid-state (flash) memory.
- Almost all input was made through the 9.7” diagonal liquid-crystal touch screen. A 3-axis accelerometer sensed its orientation and could automatically switch between four orientations (portrait, landscape-left, landscape-right and upside-down).
- The three physical switches on the sides operated the wake/sleep mode, speaker volume, and screen orientation lock. On the front of the display was the “home” button, used to return the user to the home screen. The home screen included the Apple applications Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Maps, Notes, Calendar, and Contacts. Multiple screens were available for applications and each could hold up to twenty applications. Users could install and delete third-party applications at any time.
- This model, an A1377 WiFi + 3G with 16 GB, sold for $629 in 2010. In 2011 the donor received this iPad as a gift and used it while attending college. While working as an intern at the National Museum of American History, she learned that the museum was looking to collect a 1st generation iPad. Following her graduation in 2013, she donated this iPad.
- References: [Last accessed 7/25/2018]
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- Apple Computer, Inc.
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- National Museum of American History