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Welcome to the Mac: Revisiting OS X's welcome movies

Christopher Phin | March 11, 2015
After an eBay purchase and a long dance to install Tiger, Christopher Phin was rewarded with the charming "welcome" movies he'd forgotten all about.

I know that a lot of people found these unstoppable movies irritating--techs especially, setting up fleets of Macs--but I look back at them fondly. It's not just that that pulsing Aqua blob was so very new and unexpected after the flat Platinum of OS 9, promising an experience that was even a little unsettlingly unlike what you'd been using before, or that they made the process of setting up your new Mac just a little bit more of an event.

No, the thing that I especially love about these movies is that they say "welcome," and that they say it in many different languages and scripts. Where I live in the UK, you can go days without ever seeing anything other than English or Roman text, but back then world languages seemed even more exotic, and I'd get a little thrill as I started identifying them--before quickly getting out of my depth.

Seeing different languages and different writing systems underlined not just that the Mac could take this polyglot approach in its stride but that everyone was welcome. This wasn't just a computer for "the rest of us," it was a computer for all of us. Under Tim Cook's stewardship, Apple has begun to make its commitment to equality even more overt, but it's been a part of Apple for a long time--as these movies, whose very existence I'd forgotten, have reminded me.


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