Apple Lisa 2 The Apple Lisa was one of the first commercially available systems to use a graphical user interface and a mouse for interaction. It also sported such things as true multitasking and fully modular construction, which allowed it to be quickly and easily disassembled and serviced. Historically, it is quite an important machine even though it's price, nearly $10,000 when it was introduced, made it too expensive. Even when Apple cut the price by nearly half it didn't help sales, though they did pick up once the machine was sold as the Macintosh XL. Overall, the Lisa was Apple's second big failure, following closely behind the Apple ///, both of which were geared towards the business market. In the end, Apple buried an unknown number of Lisa in a landfill in Utah, though Sun Remarketing continued to support the Lisa by selling both parts and complete machines for quite a few years afterwards. It is thought that roughly 11,000 Lisa 1's and 70,000 Lisa 2's (including Macintosh XL) were produced. Apple at one time offered a free upgrade for Lisa 1 owners to Lisa 2 specifications, making the Lisa 1 that much rarer.

One particularly interesting aspect of the Lisa is that it's 'on/off' switch is controlled by the operating system, so it is actually powered on anytime it is plugged in, which is why the Lisa 2/10 and Macintosh XL don't lose the date/time data when they are turned off since they don't have the battery backed clock that the earlier machines do. When the user depresses the power switch, the Lisa OS takes a snapshot of the current memory state and saves it to disk and then puts the machine in 'sleep mode'. Then, when the on/off switch is depressed again, the system is restored to the point it was at when it was depressed before. Another interesting item about the Lisa is that it was the original developement system for Macintosh software

The original Lisa had dual 'Twiggy' 5-1/4" floppy drives, which were quite unreliable, and which was soon replaced by the Lisa 2. The Lisa 2 and Lisa 2/5 were essentially the same machine as the original Lisa with the exception that the dual 'Twiggy' floppy drives were replaced with a single 400k 3-1/2" floppy drive made by Sony to Apple's specifications. An additional board handled the job of interacting with the 400k drive, and a new faceplate was added to the machine to match the change in drive styles. The Lisa 2/5 was the Lisa 2 shipped with an external 5meg Profile hard disk which was run off of the external parallel port. Base Lisa 2's shipped with 512k of RAM and were easily upgraded to 1meg of RAM with the addition of an expansion card in one of it's two memory slots. Maximum usable memory in a Lisa is 2meg, limited by the hardware design and not the 68000 CPU. The Lisa could have up to two memory cards installed and 3rd party vendors created cards which held 1meg or more of RAM.

The Lisa 2/10 and Macintosh XL were esentially the same machine and differed considerably from the 3 previous models. They had different I/O boards which did away with the additional circuit card that the Lisa 2 needed to control the 400k floppy. They also did away with the external parallel port, moving it inside the case and allowing a 10meg 'Widget' hard disk to be mounted in the card cage above the floppy drive. To make matters even more confusing they also had an upgraded 1.8A power supply, vice the original 1.2A unit, to handle the added strain from the internal hard disk, and they are also found with other modifications such as 800k floppy disks and screen modifications to give it's display the same aspect ratio as the standard Macintosh screen. This latter was meant to be used when running MacWorks, which allowed the Lisa to run Macintosh software under emulation, which essentially turned it into a Macintosh Plus.

This particular Lisa is an early Lisa 2, or possibly a Lisa 1 that was converted to a Lisa 2, with the additional circuit card to control the 400k floppy drive and a nicad battery pack for the battery backed clock. It has been upgraded to an 800k floppy and a Kalok KL-320 21meg hard disk mounted above the floppy disk. The hard disk is run off of the external parallel port, by way of a controller above the drive, with the cable entering the rear of the case and fed around the edge of the card cage. When purchased, this machine also had a SCSI card from Sun Remarketing installed with a 42meg hard disk mounted directly to the card itself. This has since been removed as it proved too much of a strain on the original 1.2A power supply. It currently uses a Macintosh Plus mouse, as it lacks it's original mouse, though it does have a Lisa keyboard, complete with pull-out 'Quick Reference' cards, also called LisaNotes, on how to use the system. It's video ROMs have also been upgraded to those of a Macintosh XL in order to 'fix' the aspect ratio differences between it's screen and that of the Macintosh. I hope to eventually replace the original ROM's so that I can run the original Lisa System. This machine originally came with just 512k and the second 512k RAM board still has two price stickers on the backside of the board: an original price of $1495.00 and then a price of $995 which it was marked down to in 1985. This machine is model# A6S0300 with a date code of 3248. I've seen references made to other Lisa 2's having model#'s of A6SB100 and A68B100 but have been unable to find any documentation which explains which models were which.

The programmers of the Macintosh Finder for System 7.X paid homage to the Lisa in thier code. If you're running Mac System 7.X, hold down the 'Option' key and pull down the 'File' menu. Where it would normally display 'About this Macintosh' it should now show 'About the Finder'. Click on this and you should see a window pop up showing a mountain scene. Along the bottom of this scene will be shown the names of programmers for various era's of the Finder, including programmers for the Lisa. This also works with Mac OS9, though you pull down the Apple menu while holding down the Option key and this brings up an image of the Apple campus. The names of the programmers and the Finder version they worked on scroll up the screen and at the bottom is a list of the programmers for the Lisa Desktop Manager. This has been verfied under Mac OS 9.0.4.

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