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30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe 171

walterbyrd sends this excerpt from an article that might make you feel old: "At its annual shareholders' meeting on January 19, 1983, Apple announced two new products that would play a pivotal role in the future of the company: the Apple Lisa, Apple's original GUI-based computer and the precursor to the Macintosh; and the Apple IIe, which represented a natural evolution to the highly successful Apple II computer line. ... The Lisa introduced a completely new paradigm—the mouse-driven graphical user interface—to the world of mainstream personal computers. (Note that the release of the Xerox Star workstation in 1981 marked the commercial debut of the mouse-driven GUI.) The Lisa’s elevated retail price of $9995 at launch (about $23,103 in today’s dollars), slow processor speed (5MHz), and problematic custom disk drives hobbled the groundbreaking machine as soon as it reached the market. ... Around the time of the Apple III’s launch, Apple was so sure of the new computer's success that it had halted all future development of Apple II-related projects. But by 1982, as it became clear that the Apple II wasn’t going away (in fact, it was becoming more popular than ever), Apple scrambled to upgrade its aging Apple II line, which had last been refreshed in 1979 with the Apple II+. The result was the Apple IIe, which packed in several enhancements that regular Apple II users had been enjoying for years thanks to a combination of the Apple II’s plentiful internal expansion slots and a robust third-party hardware community to fill them."
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30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe

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  • by ChrisC1234 ( 953285 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:44PM (#42626845) Homepage
    The Lisa was ahead of its time, and many people don't know that. I grew up with a Lisa (later upgraded to Macintosh XL). For YEARS, my dad would complain how the Lisa could do more than the Macintosh operating system. Even the difference in desktop paradigms (where the Lisa was a document centric system, and the Mac is an application centric system). However, my dad's investment in the Lisas and their quick demise led him to curse Apple and Steve Jobs for a long time. We've still got 1 or 2 systems sitting in an attic somewhere. And I recall a few years ago having come across the whole set of system manuals for the original Lisa (with Twiggy drives).
  • 6502 assembly ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:01PM (#42627003)

    I know the feeling. The //e is what I cut my teeth programming on ^_^

    That was my second love, after the II+. Still miss the programming when it was direct and simple.

    I am so glad that I learned assembly language on a 6502. If I had started on an x86 I probably would have had a bad attitude towards assembly like most who did start on x86. To be fair, x86 became a whole lot better once it went 32-bit. However 68000 remains my favorite. Learned it via coprocessor boards in our Apple //e systems. PowerPC was OK, it had its moments.

  • Re:Lisa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:01PM (#42627005) Homepage Journal
    Which was the problem with Xerox machines as well. The thing about Apple is that they are selling stuff that sometimes isn't quite ready, from a commodity point of view, to be sold yet, or does not ultimately fit into the way we use computers. Here is what was wrong with the Newton. It was sold as a stand alone device. Some may disagree, but I used both models for a long time. They were very useful. They allowed my to do a lot of things. I could plug it into my network with a standard cable and work.

    Here is what they got wrong. It was not a stand alone device. It really required a bigger more powerful machine to work well. That is why I move to the much less powerful, useful, rugged Palm V. At the end of the day, a partner was more useful than a competitor.

    Apple has gotten that right now. Data can be viewed across a range of devices. Entered anywhere viewed anywhere. Which is the critical difference between the iPhone and Newton. Data Compatibility between the software. Google is also doing a very good job at this using Google Drive. MS still seems to be focused on making sure they receive a license payment for each individual box.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:09PM (#42627127)

    The manual that came with my II+ had a section on 6502 Assembly that I believe was actually written by Steve Wozniac. I learned assembly in third grade just from that manual.

    Could you imagine a kid nowadays putting down Angry Birds to figure out assembly code on his Intel i7 core-whatever? I don't know how kids today or in the future are going to learn the basics like we did.

    (And get off my lawn!)

  • 6809 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:30PM (#42627415)

    I, too, started with assembly on 6502 (well, the Commodore 64 had a 6510 to be precise). Then 68000 on the Amiga. Good times. After that I mostly developed on ARM2 and ARM3. That was the most beautiful instruction set I've ever seen. All effects on conditions codes are optional, which makes for some very efficient code. Bloody fast, too. For that time anyway, I've not kept up with current trends.

    But, for sheer fun, nothing beats the 6809 CPU. You can feel it's halfway between the 6502 and 68000. Underrated, really. I really should build a single-board computer with that delight again. Nothing against Arduino and such things, but there is something different about those older designs.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith