Apple’s Lisa personal computer turns 40

Forty years ago today, on January 19, 1983, a new type of personal computer was announced that would change the world forever: The Apple Lisa.

Steve Jobs posing with the Lisa in 1983. (Photo: Ted Thai)
Steve Jobs posing with the Lisa in 1983. (Photo: Ted Thai)

Jeremy Reimer for Ars Technica:

Lisa was named after Steve Jobs’ daughter, even though Jobs denied the connection and (in initially) his parentage. But the more interesting thing about the Lisa computer was how it evolved into something unique: It was the first personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI).

Jef Raskin, an early Apple employee who wrote the manual for the Apple ][, had visited PARC in 1973. He believed that GUIs were the future. Raskin managed to persuade the Lisa project leader to change the computer into a GUI machine. However, he couldn’t convince Jobs, who thought Raskin and Xerox were incompetent.

Raskin altered his approach and got graphics programmer Bill Atkinson to propose an official tour of PARC in November 1979. Because Jobs thought Atkinson was great, he agreed to come along. Jobs’ visit to PARC became the stuff of legend, a tale of a brilliant visionary seeing the future of computing for the first time. But in reality, Atkinson was already working on LisaGraf—the low-level code that would power the Lisa’s GUI—months before Jobs saw the PARC demo…

In January 1981, senior leadership at Apple got tired of Jobs’ constant interference and micromanagement of the Lisa project and officially removed him from the team. Jobs seethed, then took over a smaller skunkworks project being run by Raskin. This would become important later.

MacDailyNews Take: Happy birthday, Lisa!

There’s tons of goodness in the full article – highly recommended – here.

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