30 years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe

By Benj Edwards, Macworld |  Hardware, Apple

After the launch of the Macintosh in 1984, the Lisa fell far behind in sales, and it became clear that the Mac represented the future of Apple. So began the Lisa's absorption into the Macintosh ecosystem. First, the Lisa adopted Mac-like features such as the 3.5-inch floppy disk drive and a new exterior design that appeared in a much-needed 1984 revision commonly dubbed the Lisa 2. Then the Lisa gained the ability to run Macintosh software with the MacWorks software-emulation environment.

The Apple Lisa 2

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In 1985, the Lisa hardware saw its last hurrah: Apple rebadged its remaining supply of Lisa 2 computers as the Macintosh XL, and the Lisa was laid to rest.

To this day, the Lisa remains one of Apple's most fascinating dead platforms-- especially since its early demise entombed pioneering interface concepts that have yet to be fully replicated by any Apple platform.

Remembering the Apple IIe

The story of the Apple IIe began with Apple's first high-profile failure, the Apple III. Launched in 1980, the Apple III targeted the business market with an over-engineered, high-priced machine whose Apple II compatibility Apple purposely crippled in the name of market differentiation.

The Apple IIe

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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. Among those features were 80-column text-mode support, support for lowercase letters (yep, the original Apple II and II+ supported only uppercase letters), and 64KB of RAM standard (expandable to 128KB).

Most importantly for Apple, the Apple IIe drastically lowered the chip count on the system's motherboard from over 100 chips to 31, allowing Apple to manufacture the computer at a lower cost while extracting a higher profit from each unit.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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