A computer that could expand with the addition of modular components
March 30, 2024 2:10 PM   Subscribe

The Apple Jonathan : A Very 1980’s Concept Computer That Never Shipped

The graphical renders are by Dana Sibera @NanoRaptor
posted by Lanark (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The venerable 'Behind the Bastards' podcast recently detailed what a dogshit human Steve Jobs was. Good background listening.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:21 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]

The Jonathan concept is quite similar to the Convergent NGEN / Burroughs B20-series modular computers, which actually shipped.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 2:36 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]

I was in the group that began discussing what this machine was going to be. The modular design popped up right away. It was believed to address the yuppie desire for modular stereo systems. Modules were to be plug and play hopefully with the ability to plug and unplug things as needed. Software came up, and we discussed having a universal document type with various tools in a universal document app to create and edit various types of things in a single document. We had maybe five meetings, it was a long time ago, and then I got moved in a job reshuffle. I was at Apple for another five or more years and the Jonathan project faded away pretty quickly. All these pictures floating around now? I never saw them at Apple as I’ve only seen them recently. Steve Perlman, of WebTV fame, was part of this group.
posted by njohnson23 at 3:03 PM on March 30 [21 favorites]

The reason you havent seen these pictures before is that they are new graphical renders, based on probably little more than descriptions of what the machine might have been. The boxy design is vaguely reminiscent of the Hewlett Packard 300 Series.
posted by Lanark at 3:13 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]

Real fans know Apple was referring to Jonathan Ames
posted by smelendez at 5:58 PM on March 30

whoooa this is cool
posted by _earwig_ at 8:01 PM on March 30

I was in the group that began discussing what this machine was going to be.
@ njohnson23 I am so curious to hear more (and I don't think I'm alone)

posted by revmitcz at 1:34 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]

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