In the early- to mid-1990s, Apple included a Registration Card in the box that came with every Macintosh (in the brown box labeled “Macintosh Essentials”). In my experience setting up these early Macintosh computers, Apple allowed users who filled out these “official” registration cards to choose from a subscription to MacWorld magazine or a free mousepad. In our school computer labs, we usually opted for the free mousepads.
This is an example of the free mousepad Apple sent. It is 8.75×7 inches, light gray (to match the platinum color of Apple computers of the time). The mousepad is in two layers, light gray plastic on top and black textured foamy rubber on the bottom, approximately 0.125 inches thick. The design is the word Apple® in black type nearly 3 inches tall in the font Apple Garamond, Apple’s corporate identity font of the time.
This thin plastic mousepad made from materials by the company Microthin features the blueberry Apple logo printed in a manner to simulate the translucent plastic Apple used in the iMac line of computers at the time. This mousepad is blue to match the blueberry iMac. Other versions of this design were available in the other five iMac colors: tangerine, lime, strawberry, grape, and graphite.
The bottom of the mousepad is covered in printed dots that provide traction to prevent slippage. The stickiness (tackiness) of the material is still viable after about 20 years and can be reactivated by rinsing any accumulated dust with water. However, the entire mousepad is beginning to show signs of yellowing.
Source: No official sources found, additional colors confirmed on eBay
This rectangular Think Different mousepad measures 7.5×8.5 inches with a solid black background. The design features the original multicolor Apple logo and the words Think Different (in white).
The bottom of the mousepad is covered in printed dots that provide traction to prevent slippage. The stickiness (tackiness) of the material is still viable after about 20 years and can be reactivated by rinsing any accumulated dust with water. However, the tacky substance on the bottom is beginning to show signs of yellowing.
The Think Different logo is a part of Apple’s now iconic ad campaign that played a major role in restoring Apple’s reputation and put the company on track to become the trillion-dollar company it became by 2018. The Think Different campaign was created by TBWA\Chiat\Day and officially ran from 1997–2002, however, Apple has occasionally hinted at the concept several times over the years on occasions such as when Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize (2007); when Steve Jobs died (2011); when the Macintosh turned 30 on January 24, 2014; and as recently as 2016 to commemorate the death of Muhammad Ali.