CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Pop music, flashy computer graphics and a big-screen airing of an Orwellian TV commercial brought 2,600 Apple Computer Co. believers to their feet in uproarious appreciation Tuesday.
The event had been billed as Apple's annual shareholders' meeting, during which the company was to show off its latest line of desk-top technology. But its unabashed nose-thumbing at arch-competitor IBM turned the gathering into a foot-stomping revival meeting of Apple faithful.
Curiosity about the new computers filled the rented De Anza College auditorium to near-violation of local fire laws, leaving an angry knot of some 400 shareholders outside. Apologetic executives promised to videotape the show and present it to them later.
The star of the show was the Macintosh -- an easy-to-use desk-top computer that Apple hopes will recapture the personal computer market from front-running IBM.
Although the official unveiling came Tuesday, the Macintosh was introduced to the country last week in a television ad that stopped just short of equating IBM with George Orwell's Big Brother in his novel '1984.'
The controversial TV 'teaser' showed expressionless people marching in rows into an auditorium, mesmerized by the image of Big Brother on the screen.
The image, which intones the audience with 'We are one people with one will, one resolve, one cause,' is shattered by a young Olympics-clad woman who hurls a sledgehammer through the screen.
Viewers of the ad were promised that 1984 would not be like the book, thanks to Macintosh.
IBM was never mentioned in the ad, but the link was clear to those cheering it when it was was shown on a large screen during Tuesday's meeting.
Apple President John Sculley and Chairman Steven P. Jobs introduced the Macintosh as an 'insanely great' computer destined to capture 'the 25 million knowledge workers in this country alone.'
The already spirited crowd, having watched a patriotic Apple film with a soundtrack borrowed from the movie 'Flashdance,' jumped to its feet in a standing ovation.
Macintosh, which was being placed on store shelves across the country as Jobs and Sculley spoke, is for people put off by computers so complicated that 'to write a novel, you have to read a novel,' Jobs said.
The point was illustrated by the showing of a series of Macintosh TV commercials to be aired during the Olympics.
In one commercial, reams of instruction manuals are dropped next to an IBM PC. In counterpoint, the Macintosh is shown with no manuals - just a hand moving an electronic 'mouse' around a desktop. The movement of the mouse moves a cursor on the screen, which tells the computer what to do without the need of a lot of typed-in codes.
The Macintosh, two years in planning, will sell for $2,495. It is based on technology developed for Apple's Lisa, a business computer introduced at the company's 1983 stockholders' meeting. The Lisa carried a price tag of $10,000, and proved to be a poor seller.
Three improved Lisas were also announced at the meeting Tuesday, with the top one listing for $5,495.