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Before there was the Mac, there was the Lisa. ZDNet writer Andrew Brust recalled, "Apple came and showed it at my school, on a Saturday, before they released it. Having only worked with Apple II computers and other 6502 machines, we were pretty mesmerized."
Everyone who used one was fascinated by them. Although they were over-priced and under-powered, ithe Lisa was like nothing anyone outside of Xerox's PARC labs had ever seen before.
The first Mac: 1984
I was in Washington DC at a retail store when I first got to play with a Mac. I wasn't shocked though, which was the case with ZDNet contributing editor Jason O'Grady's mom. He recalled, "I ambled into a computer store-within-a-store inside The Bay department store in suburban Toronto while my Mom shopped. There I excitedly played with MacWrite and MacPaint on an original Mac128k. Imagine my Mom's horror when the salesman told her it cost $4,400." In 2014, that's $10,122 in 2014 dollars.
Not everyone was so excited. David Needle, now an editor at TabTimes, covered the original Mac announcement with a bunch of international reporters, remembered that Jobs did his thing, pulling the Mac out dramatically from a back pack and ran it through its paces. Then asked the group brashly: 'Well, what do you guys think?' A British journalist answered first: 'This is all very well and good Steve, but why on earth did you name it after a raincoat?'
The "Fat" Mac: 1984
The fat Mac, aka the Mac 512K, was a vast improvement. With its "enormous" 512Kilobytes of RAM it had enough memory to get real work done. Long-time computer journalist, Keith Dawson, remembered, "My first was a Fat Mac, 512K, in 1985, about a year after the introduction. Inside of another year and a half I had cracked the case and installed an accelerator -- don't remember the company's name name, but it had a faster CPU -- and added a Hyperdrive, 20 MB. $800? A bargain."
And so it was! For 1984. Today you have more computing power and storage in your smartphone... even if you're smartphone is five years old!