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30 years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe

Benj Edwards | Jan. 21, 2013
In 1983, two products played a pivotal role in the future of the company. Benj Edwards takes a look at the history behind the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe.

Most importantly for Apple, the Apple IIe drastically lowered the chip count on the system's motherboard from over 100 chips to 31, allowing Apple to manufacture the computer at a lower cost while extracting a higher profit from each unit.

Upon its release in 1983, the Apple IIe proved immediately popular, and it soon became the standard Apple II model against which all others would be compared. The Apple IIe's reliability and backward compatibility with a rich library of Apple II software made it a fixture at schools, where a generation of American schoolchildren grew up playing Apple II-based educational games such as The Oregon Trail, and eventually, Number Munchers.

Thanks to the IIe, the Apple II series remained a steady source of income for Apple during an uncertain period in the mid-1980s when the Macintosh wasn't selling in the volume that the company had anticipated. Even after the introduction of the vastly upgraded Apple IIgs in 1986, demand for the Apple IIe remained steady, and Apple marketed a version of the IIe all the way up until 1993, when the company finally pulled the plug on the stand-alone Apple II line (the Apple IIe Card for Macintosh computers was spared for two more years).

By 1993, when Apple discontinued the II series, the Macintosh was firmly positioned as the future of the company. But those who used the Apple IIe and the Lisa in their prime would not soon forget the fruitful impact both systems had on the course of Apple's history.


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