The Genesis and History of the Macintosh Project
February 14, 2011 4:19 PM   Subscribe

This is a short history and background of the Macintosh research project on the eve of its becoming a product.
posted by Joe Beese (12 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

> I was originally requested to design a machine that would sell for under $500. Even the hasty estimation of the cost of any practical (non-toy) system showed that goal to be unrealistic, and a new goal of $1000 was settled on. [...] Initial mockups showed that a complete system in a single package could be made small enough to fit under an airline seat... Power consumption estimates showed that battery power was a possibility, although at a 2.5 kilo weight penalty."

Fascinating to see some of the design prospectus and compare it to what resulted. Thanks!
posted by ardgedee at 4:39 PM on February 14, 2011

This is good stuff. Nice post.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:40 PM on February 14, 2011

Speaking of which, does anyone remember seeing a hypercard presentation of the history of Apple featuring a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song (possibly, Teach your children)? I saw it sometime in 88-89 running on an SE. I sure would like to see that again.
posted by unliteral at 4:44 PM on February 14, 2011

If you like this sort of thing, you'll probably really like
posted by ovvl at 4:50 PM on February 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yeah, it's neat to see dot-matrix graphics but I'm surprised this isn't on

Also, cathode tubes!
posted by GuyZero at 4:54 PM on February 14, 2011

Neat post. Thanks!
posted by brundlefly at 4:58 PM on February 14, 2011

I recieved the first shipment of Macs east of the Mississippi while at Cornell U. Or so I am told.

I'm planning a book and speaking tour.
posted by sfts2 at 6:25 PM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also of interest (has this been mentioned on here? Seems like it should have been): is a project by Andy Hertzfeld and Susan Klare documenting their (and other team members') memories of working on the Macintosh project.
posted by mwhybark at 9:18 PM on February 14, 2011

ovvl: "If you like this sort of thing, you'll probably really like"

D'oh! I scanned the thread but missed this, ovvl. sorry!
posted by mwhybark at 9:19 PM on February 14, 2011

Wow, thanks for a great post!

This really helped me to understand Apple's current line of products:

There were to be no peripheral slots so that the customers never had to see the inside of the machine (although external ports would be provided) ; there was a fixed memory size so that all applications would run on all Macintoshes ; the screen, keyboard, and mass storage device (and, we hoped, a printer) were to be built in so that the customer got a truly complete system, and so that we could control the appearance of characters and graphics.
Therefore, a predictable, documentable system must be entirely under Apple's control.

posted by baejoseph at 5:13 AM on February 15, 2011

low-end product line!
posted by nickrussell at 9:21 AM on February 15, 2011

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