History of Personal Computers - Apple Lisa and Macintosh

Apple Lisa and Macintosh

In 1983 Apple Computer introduced the first mass-marketed microcomputer with a graphical user interface, the Lisa. The Lisa ran on a Motorola 68000 microprocessor and came equipped with 1 megabyte of RAM, a 12-inch (300 mm) black-and-white monitor, dual 5ΒΌ-inch floppy disk drives and a 5 megabyte Profile hard drive. The Lisa's slow operating speed and high price (US$10,000), however, led to its commercial failure.

Drawing upon its experience with the Lisa, Apple launched the Macintosh in 1984, with an advertisement during the Super Bowl. The Macintosh was the first successful mass-market mouse-driven computer with a graphical user interface or 'WIMP' (Windows, Icons, Menus, and Pointers). Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Macintosh included many of the Lisa's features at a price of US$2,495. The Macintosh was initially introduced with 128 kb of RAM and later that year a 512 kb RAM model became available. To reduce costs compared the Lisa, the year-younger Macintosh had a simplified motherboard design, no internal hard drive, and a single 3.5" floppy drive. Applications that came with the Macintosh included MacPaint, a bit-mapped graphics program, and MacWrite, which demonstrated WYSIWYG word processing.

While not an immediate success upon its release, the Macintosh was a successful personal computer for years to come. This is particularly due to the introduction of desktop publishing in 1985 through Apple's partnership with Adobe. This partnership introduced the LaserWriter printer and Aldus PageMaker (now Adobe PageMaker) to users of the personal computer. During Steve Jobs' hiatus from Apple, a number of different models of Macintosh, including the Macintosh Plus and Macintosh II, were released to a great degree of success. The entire Macintosh line of computers was IBM's major competition up until the early 1990s.

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