Apple III

The IIgs

in
Comment from E-mail

My favorite computer is the Apple IIgs. To me it was a nice blend of the future (Macintosh), and the past (Apple II). How involved were you in the development of the IIgs?

Woz

Apple dropped the Apple ][ from it's own concerns between 1980 and 1983, years in which it was the largest selling computer in the world. Every ad from Apple in those years is of an Apple ///. Every employee had an Apple ///. Very few Apple ][ projects were approved. When John Sculley joined Apple he reduced the Apple /// attention. I came back to Apple at the same time and worked on a new machine, the Apple ][x. It saved a lot of jobs, my being associated with a new computer project. Finally, this advanced Apple ][ was cancelled. But shortly thereafter the same engineers came up with the Apple ][gs with a much improved graphics and sound system. I was primarily inspiration. Perhaps I helped these engineers be willing to risk new and better development than otherwise.

The Apple ][gs was a very good step for the Apple ][.

About the IIGS

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Question from E-mail

My question to you is: Do you regret the demise of the II line in the same way that many of its enthusiasts did (and do)? Was the IIGS a promise of more great things to come, with built in command line interface, backwards compatibility, ease of use and a great OS, or simply a compromise "bridge" that was made in a half hearted attempt to appease the large number of II users? I still remember the bitter disappointment when the IIGSx (10mhz, 640x480 video - yohoo!) never came out.

Woz

Your question has more than a single answer. I don't regret the fact that the Apple ][ was demised. Even I switched for good reasons. I do regret the fact that because there was superior technology, Apple gave up on the Apple ][ support too fast and drastically. It's strong sales should have been supported and gradually switched to products like the Apple ///, the LISA, and the Macintosh. For the last 3 years that the Apple ][ was the best selling personal computer in the world, Apple had almost totally withdrawn from it.

I think that this might have been personally motivated. Everyone wants to claim credit for this marvelous invention and the most notable company formation of recent times. The best way is to invent another marvelous computer that overshadows the first. None of the people running Apple had really conceived or invented or designed the Apple ][. Naturally, they needed another good one to demonstrate their own prowess. In the case of the Apple /// and the Macintosh, those in charge didn't want to support the Apple ][ much because it was strong competition with their own products. The LISA team really didn't bring much conflict to bear, at least not that I perceived directly.

A lot of the problem in Apple bringing such satisfying products to market is that the personal computer market exploded, and products have to be rushed to market without the psychological research and product corrections to make them really nice and easy, the way it was supposed to be. I still believe in the LISA dreams of the software being so obvious to use that it was hard to make a mistake and that mistakes were clearly explained. These dreams, of a computer being so helpful to people, were carried over to the Macintosh. But time has proven that we didn't do a very good job of appeasing the users. In my opinion, Windows did much worse, but to be fair it might be because there are so many more companies and companies making products for PC's, with correspondingly more conflicts and artifacts that are impossible to handle properly. The Macintosh has the advantage of fewer options and therefore fewer conflicts. In these terms, you can see why the Apple ][ was so satisfying, it had very little that could mess you up.

I don't find the hardware as reliable as it used to be

in
Question from E-mail

My first computer was an Apple III although I learned to program basic on my best friends TRS-80. I was just a little curious on your thought on this old machine. It still works and has never required maintenance. Actually I have a IIe, a IIgs and a 128 mac that still work and have never required maintenance. I work in an Apple Authorized service center and own more current machines. I just don't find the hardware as reliable as it used to be. Is it just my imagination? PS. I have enjoyed reading through your website.

Woz

Hey, thanks for contributing to the website too. I always have a problem getting bio materials to people. Now I can refer them to the website.

I hope that we meet some day. I admire people that had much the same computers as you did, that these little machines meant that much to them.

I'm sorry if this note is too egotistical. I'm trying to be polite and complete and have something meaningful to say.