The Story of Sosumi and the Mac Startup Sounds


Listen to the Sosumi beep

I was interviewed for a documentary about the history of the Macintosh in San Francisco. They gave me free beer too!

Sadly, my favorite scene was deleted in the final edit of the movie. Fortunately, I found this clip on the cutting room floor. Here I am, telling the real story behind the urban legend of the infamous Sosumi beep.

This clip is from the movie: Welcome to Macintosh. In the next video below I tell a more complete version of the story.


Mac Startup Sound

Listen to the Mac startup sound

In an interesting twist of irony (and I do love irony) the Sosumi sound came about due to a trademark dispute. My most famous sound is now an officially an Apple trademark (what took them so long?). A sound trademark is rare. Some of the few examples are the 20th Century Fox orchestral fanfare, the NBC chimes (which also happens to be based on a C-Major chord), or the THX “deep note.”

The final chord of the Beatle’s “A Day In The Life” is an amazing moment, and was a key inspiration for my Mac startup sound.

Here’s another interview at a coffee shop near my home. If you jump to the 13:15 mark, I tell the story of how I created the Mac startup sound.

At 24:35 I tell the more complete story about the Sosumi beep, and the context of the new sounds I added to Mac System 7.


Mac and iPhone Camera Sound

Listen to the camera sound

One of the other sounds I created for the Mac is the one you hear when you take a screen shot (press Cmd-Shift-3). This is also more well-known as the sound you hear when taking a photo on the iPhone and iPad.

It is a recording of my trusty old Canon AE-1 from the late ’70s.

Articles About The Sounds From Jim Reekes