Let’s go on with our exploration of the company Apple from where we left off in Part 3: the History of Steve Jobs and his company Apple.
Apple, Xerox and the one-button mouse
Apple has always been innovative, except when it comes to the name of the product. We have looked at Apple I and Apple II in the company’s history and now we are getting close to the 80’s where we expect to meet with III.
The two Steve’s founded the company and set a trend in which they targeted the biggest names in the industry. That left may [people wondering what would be its next destination.
As it turned out, the answer was Palo Alto.
Xerox had established a research centre there – Xerox PARC, now simply called ‘parc’ – where it was free to explore new technologies a long way from the corporate base on the opposite side of the country. The work that it did pushed forward the present day technology like optical media, laser printers and Ethernet. What interests the Mac users is the work it did in revolutionizing interface design.
The Apple series computers were based on text, similar to earliest IBM PCs. But Jobs was after a more intuitive thing. He managed to convince PARC to allow him and some Apple employees access it for 3 days. In exchange for this, Xerox got the right of purchasing 10,000 Apple shares at price of $10 each.
Jobs made a good tour of the park and gave keen attention to the Xerox Alto, a machine that was widely used and had a portrait display as well as graphical interface. It was the first computer that majored on usage of mouse having a 3-button gadget that was used for pointing at and clicking objects.
Jobs made it formal that proceeding Apple computers be made using that approach.
The Lisa VS the Macintosh
A competition started within Apple between the teams developing the Macintosh and the Lisa.
The official line at that time was that Lisa meant Local Integral System Architecture and the fact that it was the name of Jobs first daughter was coincidental. It was a top value business machine selling at around $10,000.
Jeff Raskin at that time was the head of Macintosh development which targeted the smaller businesses and home users. Each team was after being the first importers of a graphical interface-based Apple computer.
Whichever team achieved that, Apple – as a company – wanted them to do so but at a cost-friendly prize. For instance, the Alto mouse with three buttons went for $300. Steve was after a simple thing with a prize of $15. That resulted into the one-button clicker that we still use to this day.
The potential of the mouse and graphical interface excited Jobs to the extent that he found himself getting involved in the development process of Lisa.
Stay tuned in to tomorrow’s feature as we will finalize on the history of Apple before the 80’s.