From the vault: Lisa demo

From the vault: Lisa demo

Summary: From my forthcoming book, Corporations that Changed the World: Apple Inc.After a tour of the Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) laboratories in December 1979 and a demonstration of their Alto computer, Steve Jobs decided that the Graphical User Interface (GUI) was the future of computing.

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From my forthcoming book, Corporations that Changed the World: Apple Inc.

After a tour of the Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) laboratories in December 1979 and a demonstration of their Alto computer, Steve Jobs decided that the Graphical User Interface (GUI) was the future of computing. Apple traded $1 million dollars in pre-IPO Apple stock for three days at PARC to study its machines. Apple engineers came away from the experience with the foundation of their first computer based on a GUI, called Lisa. According to legend the project was named Lisa after Jobs’ first daughter, but Apple claims that the name is an acronym for Locally Integrated Software Architecture. Lisa was launched in 1983 at the sky-high price of $9,995, which is what most likely doomed it to failure. Success notwithstanding, Lisa was a forbearer to a much more successful Apple project – Macintosh.

I used the original Lisa in 1983 and had a blast from the past when a colleague emailed me this demo of Lisa from YouTube. (Let it buffer and jump to around the 6 minute mark).

"I can run the clock at the same time as the other applications" "I can have 16 programs running at once" "This is a pull down menu" "This is a font change... That's Amazing"

Good stuff.

The Lisa demo is also available on iTunes as a podcast (iTunes link) without the lengthy intro.

(Tip: Stuart Pomerantz)

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Browser, CXO, Hardware

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  • Lisa @ Phoenix show 1983

    The Lisa was the Apple feature in the Phoenix Civic Center February 1983.
    Awesome .. until PRICE !! So, bought a 128 Mac (about $4,000), loved it 'til
    IBM 286 introduced in August with 6 Mhtz speed. Lotus 'Symphony', Okidata
    Printer, and Viewsonic Monitor almost $5,000. AND WE THINK THINGS ARE
    HIGH NOW????
    Sold Mac to dentist for $2,000 ;-) and upgraded the 286 to 8 (wow!) for a few
    bucks. Jumped on Windows 1.0 and struggled every since 'til Mac arrived with
    OS X 10.4 (now 10.5) What a trip!!!.
    781lc
  • Impressive!

    Wow, that's impressive, to see the beginnings of what we think of as the modern GUI environment, explained to people who've never seen it before. And to see how slowly these very basic applications pulled up on a $10,000 machine back in the early-mid 1980s.

    But one thing puzzles me...what's the Liser? I've never heard of that model before.
    LeonBA