Apple’s Lisa was the predecessor of the Macintosh that introduced the mouse, the graphical user interface, and the integrated all-in-one design that would characterize the earliest Macs – and later on the iMac.
Through its brief lifespan (May 1983 to April 1985), Apple sold about 80,000 Lisas before the Macintosh completely eclipsed it. (Larry Tesler, one of Lisa’s designers, says only 30,000 were ever sold.)
Only two models were ever produced: The original Lisa (right) with its 5.25″ floppy drives and the Lisa 2 with its 3.5″ floppy drives, which was later renamed the Macintosh XL. Until the Macintosh grew to 512 KB of system memory, a Lisa was the only development environment available for Mac programmers.
- Got a Lisa? Join LisaList.
Other Lisa resources
- Lisa’s DNA is all over modern computing, Ray Arachelian, Apple Seeds, 2007.06.06. Those who label Apple’s Lisa a failure are ignoring the computer’s legacy that shows up in every personal computer sold today.
- Using Apple’s Lisa for real work, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2007.04.02. The Lisa Office System has some advantages of modern computers for word processing and other production work.
- Bringing my Apple Lisa back to life, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2007.03.26. The floppy drive wasn’t working the keyboard was rough. Some homebrew fixes got everything working again.
- Lisa emulator released, allows OS X and Windows users to experience Apple’s Lisa, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2007.02.27. Nearly a decade in the making, the Lisa Emulator Project now has a working Lisa emulator for Windows PCs and OS X Macs.
- Interview with Ray Arachelian, creator of the Lisa emulator, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2007.03.13. Ray Arachelian spent most of a decade creating the world’s first working Lisa emulator. Why he did it and some of the obstacles he had to overcome.
- Retro computing: First impressions of a newly acquired Apple Lisa, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.02.14. Saved from the trash and given a new home, this old Lisa is a slow, friendly computer.
- A history of Apple’s Lisa, 1979-1986, Tom Hormby, Orchard, 2005.10.05. Originally envisioned as a business computer to replace the Apple II, the Lisa brought the mouse and GUI to the computer market – only to be felled by the less costly Macintosh.
- The Lisa legacy, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2003.01.20. On the Lisa’s 20th anniversary, we should remember how Apple’s innovation paved the way for all future computers.
- Lisa2.com, a site about the Lisa served on a Lisa.
- The innovative Lisa, Dan Knight, Online Tech Journal, 2001.05.31. Perhaps the most innovative computer before the Macintosh, Lisa paved the way for a GUI future.
- The History of Human Computer Interaction, Gerhard Erich Mischitz, 2001.01.23. Human computer interaction from the first computers through Windows 1.
- Tales from Tessler: History of the Lisa Computer, Larry Tesler, 2000.11.28
- What ever happened to Lisa?, John C. Dvorak, Computer Shopper (republished by Jags House)
- Apple’s Twiggy Disks, Eric, Retro Computing, 1996-99
- 20 Spectacular Failures, Byte, 1995.11. One paragraph on the Lisa – and one on the ill-fated Apple ///.
- Heart of the Apple Lisa, Jordin Kare, 1995
- The Legacy of the Lisa, David T. Craig, 1993.02.16
- Lisa Emulator Project. A work in progress.
- Apple Lisa, Obsolete Computer Museum
- Apple Lisa Tribute, Simon White
- Apple Lisa 1 and 2 XL, DigiBarn Computer Museum
- Apple Lisa: The First Affordable GUI, Apple Museum
- The Lisa Computer System, Gregg Williams, reprinted from Byte, 1983.02
- An Interview with Wayne Rosing, Bruce Daniels, and Larry Tesler, Chris Morgan, Gregg Williams, and Phil Lenunons, reprinted from Byte 1983.02
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