The Team That Built Apple's First Macintosh Computer: Then And Now

Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) personal computer lineup originally launched in January 1984.

The Mac accounted for roughly 11.3 percent of Apple's revenues in the fiscal year ended September 2016. The company shipped 18.48 million units of Macs in 2016. As with any other product, the Macintosh had a humble beginning.

History Of The Mac

The Macintosh project was started by Jef Raskin in the late 1970s, striving for a low-cost, easy-to-use machine for an average consumer. At that time, the project was supposed to use a text-based interface and not a GUI, allowing several programs to be run at the same time. The Macintosh project was a parallel development to Apple Lisa project, which was using GUI.

As Raskin went about mobilizing a team to help with developing the Macintosh, he recruited his long-time colleague Brian Howard. Subsequently, Joanna Hoffman, Burrell Smith and Bud Tribble joined them.

The rest of the original Mac team, headed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, included Bill Atkinson, Bob Belleville, Steve Capps, George Crow, Donn Denman, Chris Espinosa, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, Susan Kare, Larry Kenyon, and Caroline Rose.

Benzinga looked at where some of the original Mac team are currently. Here are our findings.

Then And Now

  • Jef Raskin is credited with starting the Macintosh project. He left Apple to found Information Appliance Inc, through which he implemented the concepts of his original Macintosh. Later, Raskin began developing a new computer interface based on his 30 years of work and research, called The Humane Environment, which was later renamed as Archy. Raskin passed away in 2005.

  • Brian Howard, the 32nd employee of Apple and one of the four original Macintosh team members, supposedly acted as a go-between Raskin and Jobs, as they could not stand each other. He passed away in February 2010.

  • Burrell Smith joined Apple in 1979 and was drafted into the Macintosh project later on. Smith is a hardware wizard who could conjure up ways to squeeze out performance from a computer with a fewer chips. He developed the logic board for the Macintosh, which used Motorola 6809 chip and had a 64L RAM. After leaving Apple, he co-founded Radius Inc. He retired subsequently and is currently living in Palo Alto.

  • Bud Tribble was the manager of the software development team, helping to design the classic Mac OS and its user interface. He was considered as one of the industry's top experts in software design and object-oriented programming. Tribble cofounded NeXT Computer, a manufacturer of computer workstations for higher education and business markets, in 1985. Tribble currently serves as a Member of the Science Advisory Board of EmSense Corporation.

  • Joanna Hoffman, a marketing executive, was drafted into the Macintosh team by Raskin. She also wrote the first draft of the Macintosh User Interface Guidelines. After running Apple's international marketing team, Hoffman moved out of Apple along with Jobs to co-found NeXT. Following a stint at General Magic in early 1990s, Hoffman retired in 1995 to spend more time with her family.

  • Bill Atkinson, the developer of the GUI for Apple Lisa and was later drafted into the Macintosh team, is credited with the creation of the MacPaint application and the design of QuickDraw. After leaving Apple, Atkinson co-founded General Magic around 1990. Later in 2007, he began working as an outside developer with Numenta, a startup working on computer intelligence. Currently, Atkinson is working on combining his passion for programming along with his love of nature photography.

Image: Dnllo, Flickr

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