‘The Apple Jonathan: A Very 1980s Concept Computer That Never Shipped’

Stephen Hackett, writing at 512 Pixels:

The backbone of the system would need to accept modules from Apple and other companies, letting users build what they needed in terms of functionality, as D’Agostino writes:

(Fitch) designed a simple hardware “backbone” carrying basic operations and I/O on which the user could add a series of “book” modules, carrying hardware for running Apple II, Mac, UNIX and DOS software, plus other modules with disk drives or networking capabilities.

This meant that every user could have their own unique Jonathan setup, pulling together various software platforms, storage devices, and hardware capabilities into their own personalized system. Imagining what would have been required for all this to work together gives me a headache. In addition to the shared backbone interface, there would need to be software written to make an almost-endless number of configurations work smoothly for the most demanding of users. It was all very ambitions, but perhaps a little too far-fetched.

I’d go further than “never shipped” and describe this is a concept that never could have shipped. It was a pipe dream. The concepts sure did look cool though.

Monday, 22 April 2024