Apple Designs a New Kind of Machine

No, this isn’t another apple-fan boy post waiting for the big announcement on June 9th.

It’s about the Apple Lisa.

I saw this article on Hacker News this morning. It was one of the first reviews of the Apple Lisa from February 1983. This machine at the time cost $9,995 and had 1 meg of RAM and the 68k processor ran at a whopping 5MHZ. There was so much excitement and so much unknown about the future.

Developers and community support was built into the notion of personal computing:

Apple is very conscious of the fact that the success of the Lisa will be heavily influenced by the availability of good 3rd party software. To encourage such software, the company will make available a “programmer’s toolkit"  package of software and documentation sometime this year.

The idea of the desktop metaphor was a breakthrough in those days as a way to make computers less threatening and more familiar to end users.

The “desktop” metaphor: When you turn on the Lisa system, the screen is empty except for the presence of several icons. The Lisa computer depends on the metaphor that the video display is a desktop, while the icons are objects on the desktop.

It’s incredible that we still have that very same metaphor for the OS in our computers today. It’s obvious that it’s time to move on and the next generation browser will take over that function.

And I loved this quote the best:

You’ve got to be able to talk to other computers- other computers like your and some big corporate cmputer that’s halfway across the country. Sure that’s its a lot of stuff, but when you get all that together, then  you’ll see computers really take off

Fantastic article about an important machine at a special moment in time.