Apple made a “dent in the universe” with its 1984 Super Bowl ad for the upcoming Macintosh. At least that was Steve Jobs’ intention, according to the opening scene of The Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Whether all this universe denting was just Jobs’ reality distortion field or an actual change in human culture depends on your corporate loyalties, or lack thereof.
Any debate over the cultural impact of the Macintosh really boils down to how much of the graphical user interface revolution was determined or influenced by Apple, and how much of it would have happened regardless.
Because there’s no question that the shift from command-line computing to WIMP computing (windows, icons, menus and pointing-devices) radically changed the world, leading, for example, to the web, which is the dominant WIMP interface to the formerly command-line Internet.
WIMP computing also enabled powerful new tools for software programming, design (of everything), animation and a bazillion other things.
WIMP computing, and to some extent the Macintosh itself, really did make a dent in the universe, but not for the reason you might imagine.
Here's my column on how the Macintosh really made it's huge impact, and how Apple will do it again -- if they still can: