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Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I reckon that this is a badly thought out hatchet job. The Lisa was, in it's time, a very good machine to use but it was too expensive. But it was expensive because that's what the hardware cost at the time.

Build up an IBM PC to the same specs and software, and the price wasn't very different. And the PC was still pure command line interface.

As for all the guff about planned obsolescence, the Lisa was actually very well designed and thought out. It was very modular, there was a motherboard (and it was large), plus a separate I/O board (serial & parallel) and a separate memory board. Back then, 1 MB of RAM took up a lot of real estate. These cards were in a special card cage framework, with (get this in the early 80's), zero insertion force slots. Turn a little handle to unlock the slot to add or remove a board. The 5.25": floppies were specially designed with two heads on opposite sides (so the disk cover had two cut-outs) to prevent a known problem with two sided floppies where the heads would knock together when the drive slot was empty.

The interface was a little slowish but not that bad. Lisa also came with a full 6 part software suite built in, LisaCalc, LisaWrite, LisaDraw, LisaGraph, LisaProject, and LisaList. Plus there was a LisaTerminal application. The Write/Calc etc were good full graphical programs when there was nothing comparable in the PC world. They had this neat "Stationary Pad" icon that sat on the desktop and when double clicked you got a copy - and one could set defaults into a new document/spreadsheet and save that as a Pad to get pre-set defaults. Calc was the equal of Lotus with the major exception of no macros, but it was very similar to the early Excel but better presented and laid out - and more powerful until several versions of Excel passed. And Project, a PC level project tool with Gantt charts and resources, unmatched. Draw was a good diagramming and illustration tool - it had lines, boxes, snap to grid, that sort of thing, not a sketch program but a structured diagram one. Don't recall much about List, but a simple tabular database I think - not very powerful. Write was a full graphical word processor with WYSIWG and real font selections. Printing intially though was DMP or the letter quality Apple device - can't be sure if it was a golf-ball or a wheel type character unit.

The Lisa really worked exceptionally well given the hardware limitations. The whole interface was significantly more sophisticated and advanced than what the Mac came out with, and the software was exceptionally good for its time.

Overall it was a brilliant idea of what a desktop could look like, but too far ahead of what the hardware could do at a price that the market would pay.

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