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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

October 10-16: NeXT Cube, Sculley Out, Rhapsody Seeds
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:

October 10-16

1982: Three months prior to its public unveiling, Apple shows the Lisa computer at its annual sales meeting in Acapulco. According to long time Apple employee Chris Espinosa, "The story is that…there was instability in the Mexican government at that time. We had a plan that if a coup occurred and martial law was imposed, we would rent a boat and take all the preproduction Lisas out into the ocean and dump them, so they wouldn't be seized by the military. Come to think of it, that wouldn't have been a bad thing to do anyway."

1988: Steve Jobs unveils the NeXT Computer to an eager crowd of 4,500 assembled at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. The US$6,500 "Cube," as it is immediately nicknamed, features a 25MHz Motorola 68030 processor, 8MB of memory expandable to 16MB, a 250MB Canon optical disc drive, a Motorola 68882 math coprocessor, and a Motorola 56001 digital signal processor to drive real-time sound, array processing, modem, fax, and encryption functions. The NeXT Computer runs a UNIX 4.3-based Mach operating system and features a powerful object-oriented development environment. At the time, Apple's top-of-the-line computer is the Mac IIx, with a 16MHz 68030 and a suggested retail price of US$7,769 for a stripped-down model.

1990: In attempt to finally address the criticism that its products are overpriced, Apple releases a trio of "low cost" Macintosh models: the Mac Classic, Mac IIsi, and Mac LC. Even though it features only 1MB of RAM and an 8MHz 68000, the Mac Classic goes on to become a best-seller because it is the first model ever to break the US$1,000 price barrier. The US$3,800 Mac IIsi is designed to be an affordable alternative to the Mac IIci, and is one of the first Macs with audio input, along with the US$2,400 Mac LC (which stands for low-cost color). The Mac LC is noted for its low-slung "pizza box" case design and sells particularly well in the education market.

1993: The day after Apple posts a 97 percent drop in earnings for its fourth quarter, John Sculley resigns as chairman, four months after stepping down as CEO. Sculley's golden parachute includes US$1 million in severance pay, a one-year consulting fee of US$750,000, a commitment from Apple to buy his US$4 million Woodside mansion and US$2 million Lear 55 jet, and US$2.4 million of unearned stock options. Total take: just over US$10 million.

1997: Apple seeds outside programmers with Rhapsody Developer Release for Power Macintosh. It is the first time third-party developers get their hands on a piece of Apple's next-generation operating system based upon NeXT technology acquired the previous year. Apple intends to target Rhapsody at the server and enterprise market, with the just-released Mac OS 8 aimed at the consumer market.

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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