Dean Hovey on Macintosh Prototype, Mouse Buttons, and Corporate Politics

Source: Interview with Dean Hovey, 22 June 2000.

Macintosh Prototype

Hovey: One other data-point: Jerry Manock did most of the product design for the Mac, and it got down to close to knowing what it was going to look like, and there was a board meeting coming up. Steve wanted a 3D visualization showing what this was going to like it. It was, like, 3 or 4 days before the board meeting, and he said, "I need it." Jerry came to us-- and there might even have been a weekend involved-- so we said, "Okay, we'll build one." Myself and Jim Yurchenco went down to my house-- I had some table saws and other things-- and we built in a few days the exterior skin of a Mac prototype, with the handle and stuff. It was one of those 20 hour-a-day things to get it done.

Jim Yurchenco tells a slightly different version of this story.

I can remember stopping at one point, because it was the day of the first space shuttle landing. We knew it was coming up, so we set up a TV outside, and Jim and I sat down and watched it landing. I don't know exactly when it was, but you could go back and figure it out. It was just a day away from the design being finalized such that Steve could take it into the Board to get the okay for whatever next commitment he needed.

According to a NASA Web page, the first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, landed at Kennedy Space Center on 28 April 1981.

It was whatever he needed to sell the Board on something. I have the feeling it was, "Okay, you've screwing around with this idea long enough Steve, let's see something," and he needed something to show and say, "Here, this is what we're talking about."

Mouse Buttons

Pang: The person who had started the Mac project in 1979 was Jef Raskin. I know he was involved within Apple over debates over how many buttons the mouse should have. Did you guys have any contact with him?

See also interviews with David Kelley, Jef Raskin, Jim Sachs, and Jim Yurchenco and Rickson Sun for more on mouse button issues.

Hovey: Very little. I had some contact with him later on, on a whole different project. I visited him in Pacifica, to see a prototype of the Cat. The main contact I remember around the mouse was Larry Tesler. I believe he was the strong proponent for the one-button mouse.

Pang: Do you remember anybody who supported a two-button mouse?

Hovey: No, I really don't. I think I sided on one button for simplicity, and because there was less to learn.

Pang: I can't find anyone now who was a two-button advocate.

Lisa and Macintosh Politics

Another thing that was going on within Apple was a conflict between the Lisa and Macintosh group. Did this create issues that you had to manage in your dealings with Manock and Dresselhaus?

Hovey: I don't remember having to manage it too much. There were a couple people-- Dave Evans and Rick Tompane-- and we had quite a bit of contact with the Lisa project, because we were involved in the design of the case. We worked closely with Bill Dresselhaus. He worked as a consultant for Hovey-Kelley before he went to work for Apple. I don't remember it tugging on us very much. We started to have inquires from the Mac folks as well as the Lisa, and I remember delivering some of the clear models to the Mac group as well as the Lisa: they needed several because they needed to get their machines running, though the Lisa group was the one paying the bills.

See also Jim Yurchenco and Rickson Sun on working with both groups at once.


Document created on 10 July 2000;