Apple's biggest flop! (Or would that be the Apple III,
or the Newton?) The Lisa filled the gap between the
original Apple line-up (I, II, IIe, IIc, III) and the
Macintosh line-up. Owner Tom Stepleton fills in the
Inspired by Xerox's new idea, the GUI, the Apple
Lisa was, in 1982-83, Apple's attempt at making a
revolution in computers. High price doomed it to the
fate of other early GUI-based machines like the Xerox
Star, and the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984
was its death knell.
This Lisa is, according to the Owner's guide, a
Lisa 2/10. Underneath the hood is one meg of RAM, a
10mb hard drive (hence the 10 in 2/10), an 800k 3.5'
floppy drive (replacing the original 400k), and a
Motorola 68000 chip. The innards are of a modular
construction: the motherboard and daughterboards come
out from the cavity in a plastic "cage",
turning a knob and pulling will take out the storage
media devices and their controller (known as the
"Lisa Widget Controller") in a metal rack,
and another knob will pull out the power supply. All
this is accomplished with little or no removal of
Currently, this Lisa runs a special version of the
Macintosh Operating System distributed by Sun
Remarketing which makes it, except for sounds and the
unorthodox keyboard, a fine (albeit slow) Mac. Plans
are underway to restore the original operating
system, the Lisa Office System 7/7. Here's a screen
shot of the Lisa as a Mac.
Not much to say here except to note the vertical
length of the trash can, demonstrating the Lisa's odd
screen aspect ratio.
Here's a close-up
of what's behind the right side of the CRT; the round
thing with the "Apple Computer" logo is the
10mb HD, below that is the 800k disk drive, and above
the HD are the controller cards that make up the Lisa
Also, here's a screen-shot
... it's not from my Lisa but from somebody's
mac.advocacy page. The "squished" look is
due to the fact that the Lisa had an odd screen
The Lisa has a program in ROM known as Service Mode. For
interested Lisa users out there, this is accessed by
hitting any key during the power-on test, then in the
Startup-From menu telling the Lisa to mount from a
non-existant volume (like a floppy that isn't there).
When you see the error-message, type Apple-S, and
there you are. From there you can access a test
pattern to adjust video, loop on any of the power-on
tests, power-cycle, even read and write directly to
RAM, then call memory addresses! The GUI and the
front panel switches of lore meet here.
A few more dignified pictures of the Lisa:
I, Curator Tom Carlson, have also lucked into a Lisa.
Here are some more pictures: