folklore.org
The Original Macintosh
Anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh, and the people who made it (121 stories)
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -- Leonardo DaVinci

@Phoebus66: > In short the IBM hardware and that MS-Dos software were a > perfect match that would set te mark on everything that followed > in its path: Unvisionary Compartmentalized Brute Force design > methodology. The PC is the exact opposite of compartmentalized. The Project Chess team was deliberately organized to be completely open internally, but completely separated from the usual IBM vertical integration. And that's why they designed an open-architecture computer with off-the-shelf parts. And that's why it succeeded. For the rest, sure; as Don Estridge himself put it, "Many… said that there was nothing technologically new in this machine. That was the best news we could have had; we actually had done what we had set out to do." IBM's own marketing acknowledged that it was less powerful than or more expensive than most of its established competitors, but it was "The IBM of personal computers", with all that entails. @David Charlap: > … the IBM PC was developed in a year's time as a proof of > concept (IBM typically took 5 years to bring a product from > concept to market.) It was released as a stopgap to get a > toehold in the market while the "real" personal computer was > developed for later release. The PC was not intended as a stopgap to get a toehold in the market. IBM had decided that it was too late to get into the PC market, and it probably wasn't worth it anyway, until Bill Lowe convinced John Opel to give him a chance. It wasn't a proof of concept; Lowe claimed that they really could get to market in a year—and they actually did so. There was no "real" PC planned to be released later; it was Project Chess or nothing. And the PC ended up being pretty much what Lowe envisioned from the start (well, from the point where they rejected his idea of buying Atari and selling a slightly spiffed-up Atari 800 as an IBM). > And finally, MS-DOS was an act of desperation by Microsoft. > They promised IBM an OS when they had none. They bought > QD-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, changed just enough > to make it run on the IBM machine and shipped the results. Buying 86-DOS (not QD-DOS; that's an entirely different thing—you may be thinking QDOS, the original name for 86-DOS?) wasn't an act of desperation, it was the plan from the start. Bill Gates told IBM about 86-DOS in their contract meeting, suggesting that he could license and port it as a stripped-down CP/M clone that IBM could sell for a lot less than CP/M. And that's exactly what he did. And it wasn't a stopgap for a "real" OS that Microsoft had planned but couldn't get done in time. The real OS already existed—CP/M-86—and it was an option from the day the PC was released, and it had nothing to do with Microsoft.

I was curious about the inspiration for the marching ants, and after some searching online found this, which seems to be either the sign Atkinson saw, or one very much like it: https://plus.google.com/+OleOlson/posts/2Yqhiw92gaH?pid=5872756875002791666&oid=111051039748078110427 Thanks for the story!

Beautiful article, you should write a book with this stories...

78@120

"Mac in a book by 1986." What does this mean?

I have the only print of Mr. Mac as he appears on the buttons that I've ever seen. My father was on the Apple account at Chiat Day and as he recalls the story Steve asked him to take it back to Chiat to share with Lee Clow in February of '83, but Lee didn't want anything to do with it so they made the buttons and my dad hung on to the print. Here is an image (my dad misspelled Folon's name on the back) https://t.co/SW0dE16CoA

Could somebody provide a source that backs up Eric Will's claim? Because this is the first time I've heard of such a thing. Every source I've read claimed that Lisa had no GUI until the Xerox visit, and then did a 180% and scrapped nearly everything it had done until then.

I love reading all about business and innovation. Glad Susan and Andy inspired the world, bravely got jobs at Apple ànd started a revolution! Overbrook is a section of West Philly, I am from 66th Street. I attended Lamberton High School, then to St. Joe's University. Merion, Rosemont, and Ardmore are WORLD CLASS cities! Storytelling is one of life's most fascinating educations! As I read, I fondly remember my times at work typing on the the Wang, working in Bala Cynwyd at Software Design International, commuting to Valley Forge to work for Users, Inc. The early 80's were exciting times! Thanks for this website!

Great Read !!!!!, i was born in 1983 and love reading how apple and the first personal computer came to be ! so much of what u guys did can still be seen to a point in software. you did some great things with very little to work with!! Awesome story ANDY HERTZFELD !!!

Good thing you didn't ask him to: Press any key.

Back in the early 80's I was working for a computer dealer and was a hobbyist programmer on my Apple II. A friend of mine Mike McLaren was working for Legend Industries. They sold a card similar to the Apple Language Card, except with 64K of bank-switched memory. The one program power users needed more memory for back then was Visicalc. In any case one day I realized just how slow it was loading large binary files using DOS 3.3. It suddenly hit me that once I told DOS to bload, the first thing it did was read the file's Track/Sector List into a buffer. That TSL was really all I needed to know to load the file myself. So I patched DOS to jump to my own code after reading the TSL. My code took over reading through the TSL in memory and calling RWTS to load the file sectors several times faster than DOS would have. I thought it was kind of neat though limited, since it only sped up reading but not writing. I showed it to Mike and told him he could have the idea if it seemed useful. I believe it was a day later he not only had rewritten it to work on loads and bloads, but he also fit it into several small unused areas completely within DOS so it was loaded automatically. I don't know if they ever actually did anything with it, but it wasn't very long after though that a competitor of theirs came out with Quick DOS, which sped up both DOS reading and writing and obsoleted my idea.

I worked as an in-house service tech for a large computer dealer back then which sold and serviced Osborne, as well as Apple, Commodore, Altos, Alpha Micro, etc. I had the unfortunate luck to get to work on said Osborne computers. We called them OsDeads or StillBornes!

"Bo Jobs" ..... Ha Ha!!

Floyd, I think Andy probably meant the 68000 they were using in 1981 during the development of the Mac. The project didn't start in 1984 (as you might be able to tell by reading the articles on this site), it took years to develop.

Does anyone have a disk image of MacBasic? I had the book and floppy at my parents' house and was going to image it for posterity, but found to my dismay that they had given away both to a local used bookstore. Hopefully someone made some use of it, but I'm becoming worried that it'll be lost to the ages if someone doesn't put up an image somewhere.

I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think he did some good things in features also. Keep working, great job! Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else can I get that kind of information written in such a perfect approach? I have a company that I"m simply now operating on, and I"ve been on the look out for such information.

"The 8088 was a decent processor compared to the 6502, but it paled next to the 68000 we were using in the Mac." PC came out in 1981, first Mac came out in 1984.

FYI, Raskin's "Design Considerations for an Anthropophilic Computer" URL has changed. the new URL: http://web.stanford.edu/dept/SUL/sites/mac/primary/docs/bom/anthrophilic.html -- it's still a great read. his description is even closer to apple's ipad than it was to the mac: "- This is an outline for a computer designed for the Person In The Street (or, to abbreviate: the PITS); one that will be truly pleasant to use, that will require the user to do nothing that will threaten his or her perverse delight in being able to say: "I don't know the first thing about computers" - The computer must be in one lump. - There must not be additional ROMS, RAMS, boards or accessories except those that can be understood by the PITS as a separate appliance - Seeing the guts is taboo. Things in sockets is taboo - There must not be a plethora of configurations. It is better to offer a variety of case colors than to have variable amounts of memory. - And you get ten points if you can eliminate the power cord. - It would be best if it were to have a battery that could keep it running for at least two hours when fully charged. - The system must not have modes or levels. The user always knows where he or she is because there is only one place to be." ...Raskin even got the ipad's price right: "- The end-user cost for this machine should be $500 or less"

@Fred - your choice of words arent making sense. MS can be accused of "stealing" Windows from Mac OS, because they covertly cloned it, w/o permission, while brought in as application partner to build for it. Xerox, OTOH, had invested $1MM in Apple and shared their work in the hopes that Apple could commercialize it in a way the PARC researchers could not. quite clearly a discernible difference. for more info see here: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/08/10/xerox-parc-the-apple-inc-macintosh-innovator-duplicator-litigator

I agree about lock-in, it's frustrating that I can't directly shoot a photo over Bluetooth from my iPhone to Nokia winphone or Google Nexus tablet. On the other hand, too much freedom & flexibility IMHO makes using Android generally a rather sub-par experience, with vendors cluttering up the products with cheap games and special offers, and of course endless takes on what an app launcher should be, each with their own themes and icon sets, etc. Giving users so many options doesn't mean they'll make optimal choices. If Steve Jobs wasn't the way he was, would someone else have spearheaded an iPhone, or iPod, or NeXTstep (to become OS-X), or iMac, or Macintosh. I'm inclined to say _maybe_ - but many years later. These were things that when introduced, looked very little like anything else yet suddenly everyone was stealing ideas. That must be some Reality Distortion Field - or maybe they were good ideas. An alternative theory, though - and one I think is more plausible - is that it wasn't that Jobs was so brilliant, it was that other companies were mostly producing junk.