Who Invented the Macintosh?

Illustration for article titled Who Invented the Macintosh?

As invention has shifted from the singular genius to the corporate R&D lab, the notion of the true creator has become more slippery. For instance, who invented the Macintosh?


Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Macintosh team members essentially asks that same question in his first-hand account of the origin of the Mac. Was it Jef Raskin, who came up with the basic idea, the soul of the project? (But as Andy notes, "Jef did not want to incorporate what became the two most definitive aspects of Macintosh technology - the Motorola 68000 microprocessor and the mouse pointing device.") Steve Jobs, who took over and led the project? Burrell Smith, whose brilliant digital board design made it possible? Bill Atkinson, who designed the original interface?


It's a complicated issue, as we have a tendency to want to ascribe genius or credit to a single person. Alexander Graham Bell didn't invent the telephone in a solitary vacuum—Thomas Watson was crucial to the process, beyond receiving the first phone call. You might be surprised who Andy thinks deserves the most credit for the Mac, though. [Folklore]

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Les Mikesell

Whoever it was that made it too expensive, too slow, too limited and too closed almost killed Apple in the process. Fortunately things have changed a little now. They aren't that slow any more - and they have an OS that is almost as usable as unix.