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Throwback Thursday: Apple Lisa Computer Is Released 40 Years Ago

Apple Lisa computer was released on January 19, 1983, five years after the company began developing it in 1978. The device was the first personal computer to feature a graphical user interface (GUI).


At the time, the computer was sold for $9,995 (which is equal to $28,000 in 2022) and it contained a 5MB hard drive. However, Apple sold only 10,000 units of the Lisa computer in two years because of its high pricing.


To make things worse, the company released the Macintosh the following year and it was much faster and cheaper. Also, the software was not enough to perform some basic tasks and it contained the Apple FileWare floppy disks, which were typically not reliable.


The Apple Lisa failure is widely well known in the computer world. However, it is easy to forget that it introduced several computer features that will appear in its successor, Macintosh and IBM computers.


36 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Unveiled the First Macintosh
Apple Macintosh. Image Source: MacRumors.


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The computer came with hard disk drive support, and up to 2 megabytes (MB) RAM, expansion slots, and a larger, higher-resolution display. Its operating system was regarded as complex and the computer could not pull off operations, being sluggish most of the time, because the company was trying to cut costs.


Another reason why the Lisa computer is so important to Apple’s history, and tech history at large, was because of what it meant to Steve Jobs rise at the company.


Initially, he was in charge of building the computer until the board forced him off the project. He then began working on the Macintosh project, which was originally the idea of Jef Raskin.


Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs


After the failure of Apple Lisa and the success of Macintosh, Jobs was able to convince several of the employees working on Lisa to join him and his influence grew stronger. He also used many of the formerly rejected ideas on Lisa to build the company’s future innovations.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.