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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

September 12-18: NEXTSTEP, NeXT Slab, Steve Jobs iCEO
Published October 31st, 2004

You can find more information on many of the entries below in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0. The other entries can be found in TMO's archives, and we link to articles whenever we can.1981:

September 12-18

1968: Steve Wozniak begins attending the University of Colorado in Boulder. The 18-year-old Wozniak studies electrical engineering for several semesters before returning to the Bay Area to attend a local community college.

1983: In an attempt to boost flagging Lisa sales, Apple unbundles its software suite and drops the computer's price to US$6,995. When it was introduced at the beginning of the year, the US$9,995 Lisa was originally bundled with seven applications: a spreadsheet, drawing program, graphing program, file manager, project manager, terminal emulator, and word processor.

1985: Chairman Steve Jobs resigns from Apple, the company he co-founded almost a decade prior. Jobs had been stripped of all operational duties after losing a boardroom battle to CEO John Sculley in the summer. When Jobs told Apple's board of directors of his plans to build a computer for the higher education market, they initially expressed an interest in investing. But when he revealed the key employees he was taking with him, the board contemplated removing Jobs as chairman; his resignation rendered that point moot.

1989: Steve Jobs' NeXT Computer, Inc. releases NEXTSTEP 1.0, the completed operating system for the US$9,995 NeXT Computer (the "cube") that had been introduced the previous September.

1990: NeXT introduces four new workstations based on the brand-new, 25MHz Motorola 68040 processor. The US$4,995 NeXTstation, or "slab," is shaped like a pizza box and contains a 2.88MB, 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, a 105MB hard disk, 8MB of memory expandable to 32MB, and a monochrome monitor. The US$7,995 NeXTstation Color comes with a 16-inch MegaPixel Trinitron monitor capable of displaying 4,096 colors, a sound box, and memory expandable from 12MB to 32MB. The US$7,995 NeXTcube, housed in a case similar to the original NeXT Computer, comes standard with the same display, memory, and disk configuration as the NeXTstation, but since it is designed to be a network server, it offers more expansion possibilities in those areas. For an additional US$3,995, users are told that they can add the 32-bit NeXTdimension video board, giving the NeXTcube 16.7 million colors in Display PostScript. In comparison, the best Apple has to offer at the time is the US$8,969 Mac IIfx with a 40MHz 68030.

1992: Apple introduces the US$2,950 Performa 600, the first Mac available with a built-in CD-ROM drive. The Performa 600 was also called the Mac IIvx, and carried the code name Brazil.

1995: Apple recalls the US$6,500 PowerBook 5300 in response to two preproduction units catching fire due to faulty lithium-ion batteries manufactured by Sony. Over 1,000 units had been shipped to dealers since the PowerBook 5300's introduction in late August, but only 100 had made it into the hands of customers, according to Apple.

1997: Less than a year after Apple's acquisition of NeXT, Steve Jobs is officially named Apple's interim CEO. Jobs claims he was only acting as an advisor since the acquisition, but it's widely believed he helped oust CEO Gil Amelio, the man who decided to buy NeXT in the first place.

2000: Apple releases the Mac OS X Public Beta and promises version 1.0 would ship in "early 2001." Remarkably, 100,000 hungry Mac users pony up $29.95 for the privilege of hunting bugs in this beta release, getting a jump start on those users who decide to wait for the March release of the final US$129 Mac OS X 10.0.

2002: General Magic announces it is ceasing operations, just two months after unveiling a deal to provide voice recognition services to General Motors' OnStar dashboard computing service. Spun-off the Newton project in 1990, General Magic had been led by Macintosh superstars Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld.

is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, published by No Starch Press earlier this year (US$13.97 - Amazon).

is the editor of The Mac Observer, and was egged on, in-part, in his obsession with the Mac by Owen's first book, The Mac Bathroom Reader.

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