The Original Macintosh
Anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh, and the people who made it (121 stories)
“Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.” -- Thomas Edison

The argument is moot as the mouse and windows didn't come from Xerox PARC, either. They originated from Stanford University research (some sponsored by the government) and first shown in 1968 at the "mother of all demos" led by Doug Engelbart. Alan Kay was one of the attendees. Xerox hired a bunch of the researchers after that. <blockquote> "It was December 9, 1968, and as Kay watched from audience, Douglas Engelbart and his fellow computer scientists from Silicon Valley’s Stanford Research Institute unveiled NLS, an online system that included the world’s first computer mouse and presaged so much of today’s online software, including everything from window-like interfaces to what we now call hyperlinks." </blockquote> Here is the link to the 90 minute demo. It's fascinating to watch the future being revealed. <a href=""></a>

@Andy Hertzfeld No surprise there. I mean, if people could get 4 channels out of a 1-bit Apple II speaker, 8 voices out of a stock Mac should be easy. LOL! @yuhong They may have called it PWM but PWM certainly isn't technology Apple created. :-) It's been around since the dawn of electronics.

The video of said demo. Pretty amazing.

Yes its on Youtube. Andy posted one link. Here is another.

Thanks for this wonderful story! As someone with a severe mental illness, Burrell Smith is such an inspiration. I've written one song about him already and I just wrote the lyrics for a second one!

Thanks for this wonderful story! As someone with a severe mental illness, Burrell Smith is such an inspiration. I've written one song about him already and I just wrote the lyrics for a second one!

It's as an alternative very priceless post for the readers and i feel it used to be reasonably tougher for candidates to with nevertheless candidates had been after development and this what made the experience valuable.

It's stories like this that remind me why I never go to concerts. Sometimes musicians (and fans) forget these people are performers. Not Gods among men.

I sometimes wonder what kind of 8-bit computer Burrell Smith could have designed if he had the desire to do so like Woz (at roughly the same time frame). He and Woz are two engineers that I really wished I could meet one day.

@Zane Kaminski You may want to ask that question over at new Stack Exchange site for Retro Computing. Comment activity is kind of dead around here. :-)

After I read this, I started looking for RoundRects everywhere. Sure enough, I see them all the time. :-)

How does the Macintosh II interface with the IWM? The 68020+ don't have the predictable instruction timing that the original 68000 has, so how can the Mac II feed the IWM data at the exact right moment?

@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: Thanks for the story!

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


"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)

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!