Overview of Preliminary Areas of Concern

Source: Jef Raskin, "Overview of Preliminary Areas of Concern" (11 September 1979)-- in "The Macintosh Project: Selected Papers from Jef Raskin (First Macintosh Designer), Circa 1979," document 2, version 9.
Location: M1007, Apple Computer Inc. Papers, Series 3, Box 10, Folder 1

1. Marketing and Audience

1.1 Markets

1.1.1 Home
1.1.2 Business
1.1.3 Scientific
1.1.4 Industrial
1.1.5 International
1.1.6 Educational
1.1.7 Hobby

1.2 Contributions this product will make

1.2.1 This may be the first (unless something else comes along) portable computer. It is a personal, not a home computer. If this point of view is adopted, then applications, such as home security, where the computer is tied to a physical location, can be eliminated.
1.2.2 This should be a completely self-teaching system.
1.2.3 Price vs. performance breakthrough.

1.3 Overall strategy

1.3.1 vis a vis competitors
1.3.2 vis a vis other Apple products
1.3.3 in view of unprecedented large numbers

1.4 Sales goals

1.4.1 Number of machines over time
1.4.2 Dollar figures

1.5 Major risks

1.7 General criteria

1.7.1 Reliability (works correctly, unbombable)
1.7.2 Serviceablitity (long MTBF)
1.7.3 Produceability (designed for the production line)
1.7.4 Price low, but performance high
1.7.5 External esthetics excellent (as is our custom)
1.7.6 Integrity (sufficient testing of all components incl. manuals)
1.7.7 Maintainability (short time to repair). Possibility of self-diagnostic programs; possibility of diagnostic through network.
1.7.8 Documentable (easy to write manuals due to good design, esp. of software)
1.7.9 Expandable (hardware should not limit range of applications unnecessarily)
1.7.10 Learnability (co-ordinated hardware/software/manual design with this constraint in mind at all times)
1.7.11 Testability (must be testable automatically at the plant)

1.8 Product life

1.9 Profit goals

2. Major Constraints

2.1 Price constraints

The initial end-user price, for the minimal machine, should be about $500. It is our intent to have a clear path to lowering the price to $300 after 18 months, while maintaining profit margins.

 2.2 Weight and size constraints

2.3 Memory size

We may wish to fix memory size (and eliminate many possible user hardware options) so that software runs on all Macintoshes. Users should not have to know about how many bytes of memory they have. This may also allow us to produce the machine for less. A user minimum of 32K bytes is suggested. This will depend on mass storage considerations as well.

3. Power Supply

3.1 AC supply from the mains

3.1.1 US
3.1.2 Foreign

3.2 Battery supply

3.2.1 Weight
3.2.2 Reliability
3.2.3 Operating time. It would be nice to obtain 6 hours without having to plug it in. What is a minimum that is still useful?
3.2.4 Potential leakage problems
3.2.5 Primary or Secondary cells?
3.2.6 Accessory pack at extra cost for battery power.

3.3 Solar cells. To keep perpetual calendar independent of other power supplies?

4. Human Interface: Display

The screen should be soft if possible. Image data compression should be considered to conserve memory.

4.1 CRTs

4.1.1 Home TV. We should have RS-170 and NTSC compatible output. It should work into any standard TV equipment, such as recorders. Both video and modulated outputs should be available. If cost constrains, the video would go.

4.1.2 Built-in display. There is the possibility of no built-in display and only a built-in printer. The hard-copy device, on the other hand, may be part of the display. Conventional CRT Flat CRT Projection CRT This option has much flexibility, especially in conjunction with a photographic hard copy scheme.

4.2 LCD display

4.3 LED display

4.4 Plasma display

4.5 Other technology (e.g. laser)

4.6 Size of screens

4.6.1 Number of characters (24 X 80 on CRT, 2 X 80 in portable display) Consider foreign language fonts.
4.6.2 Graphic resolution (suggested minimum: 256 X 256)
4.6.3 Physical size

4.7 Color (probably only on external display)

5. Mass Storage

Some form of mass stor age must be built in.

5.1 Floppies

5.1.1 Made by us
5.1.2 From outside vendors
5.1.3 Very small floppies (2 or 3 inch)
5.1.4 Compatible with any previous product?

5.2 Bubble memories

5.3 Cassettes or other tape based storage

5.4 Other technologies

6. Human Interface: Inputs

6.1 Typewriter keyboard

This is probably a necessity. Atkinson points out that the halves are separable. Keyboard should be software mapped if possible (any combination should be valid).

6.1.1 Keyboard layout
6.1.2 Keyboard electronics

6.2 Microphone

6.2.1 As add-on accessory
6.2.2 As built-in. It may be possible to use speaker as microphone although separate microphone probably preferable

6.3 Audio (this and 6.2 with built-in A/D)

6.4 Photocell (perhaps in conjunction with a light pen or wand?)

6.5 Graphic input: joystick, force stick, ball, or tablet

6.6 Other transducer input: pressure, moisture, temperature etc.

7. Communications

7.1 RS232

7.2 Phone connector (built-in modem and DAA)

7.3 Applenet

7.4 Other

7.4.1 WWV reciever
7.4.2 TV or radio receiver

7.5 RF link

7.6 To a paging system

7.7 IEEE 488

8. Software

8.1 Major design critera

8.1.1 "Zero defect" programming
8.1.2 Excellence of human interface

8.1.3 Extraordinary testing

8.2 Initial software offering. There must be a large initial offering of software. Some examples might be

8.2.1 Checkbook balancing
8.2.2 Many games (it will be seen as a toy to some purchasers) Chess Backgammon
8.2.3 Word Processor
8.2.4 BASIC
8.2.5 Elementary communications protocols
8.2.6 Instructional programs (e.g. typing, arithmetic)
8.2.7 Daytimer (can we license use of this name?)
8.2.8 Personal 'phone book
8.2.9 Bulletin board
8.2.10 Business software
8.2.11 Telephone simulator (it has a mike and speaker)
8.2.12 Terminal simulator (also: data entry device)
8.2.13 High precision scientific calculator Note that many of these packages could be applications of a more general DBM system with preset data and structure.

8.3 Cumulative software effort

8.4 User languages

8.4.1 BASIC

8.4.2 APL

8.4.3 Pascal

8.4.4 Other

8.5 System development languages

8.5.1 Pascal
8.5.2 Forth
8.5.3 Assembler
8.5.4 Other

8.6 Application development languages

8.6.1 Pascal
8.6.2 Pilot
8.6.3 Other

8.7 Software security

8.8 Operating system

9. Manuals

9.1 Self-teaching, on-line manuals

9.2 Reference manuals

10. Schedue (very preliminary)

1 Nov 79 Preliminary design spec

1 Mar 80 Final design spec

1 Jul 80 Engineering Prototype

1 Mar 81 Prototype for shows

1 Sep 81 Production in time for Xmas 81

11. Resources Required

11.1 Personnel

11.2 Capital equipment

11.3 Supplies

12. Testing

12.1 In house

12.2 On a wide range of potential users

12.3 Of completed systems/programs/manuals

13. Experimentation

13.1 With competitive machines

A. HP-41C
B. Atari 400

13.2 With technologies

A. Attach a touch-panel to an Apple II
B. Attach a few small-screen CRT's to Apples

13.3 By programming simulations

A. Small screen sizes (in terms of resolution and characters)
B. Simple editors (e.g. my "one command" editor)

13.4 With services

C. Other "bulletin board" services
D. DIALOG (Lockheed) BALLOTS (Stanford)

14. Enclosures and Cosmetics

14.1 Design and materials

14.2 Thermal considerations

14.3 Choice of colors and case styles. If this is to be truly a product for the home, shouldn't we offer it in various colors? Matched to the 5 standard home appliance colors? There is also the possibility of offering options such as a wooden case.

14.4 Self-protecting case design (lid opens to become display, for example)

14.5 A handle.

14.6 If the design is modular, the parts should snap together electrically as well as mechanically.

15. Printer and Hard Copy Pictures

15.1 Built-in

15.1.1 Film based (polaroid or other quick technology)
15.1.2 Thermal
15.1.3 Electrostatic
15.1.4 Dot-matrix impact
15.1.5 Ink jet
15.1.6 Laser
15.1.7 Other

15.2 External

15.2.1 Letter quality Is it silly to try to sell $3000 printers with this machine?
15.2.2 Portables All the possibilities under 15.1 fit here as well.

15.3 Width of paper (8.5 inch probably)

16. Other Peripherals and Features

16.1 AC switched outlets (possibly computer controlled)

16.2 Speaker (with speech and/or music synthesizers?)

16.3 Credit card reader or HP card reader or both

16.4 Real time clock (essential) Perhaps based on a watch module, always runs.

16.5 Actuators (e.g. R/C servos)

16.6 TTL outputs

16.7 Soft "off" switch.

16.8 Plotter

16.9 Check reader

16.10 Video disk (needs interface standards)

17. The Apple Timesharing Network

One of the most powerful uses of Macintosh will become viable only if a service such as TCA is available. We will have to consider setting up a nation (world?) wide set of local numbers for a number of purposes to be covered in another document. A standard protocol will have to be promulgated. Study Viewdata, Teletext, Prestel

18. Future Products in the Macintosh Family

Items rejected from consideration as built-in may be moved here, as well as new ideas.

19. Impact on Various Departments of Apple

19.1 Purchasing

19.2 Manufacturing

19.3 Marketing

19.3.1 Advertising
19.3.2 Dealers

19.4 Engineering

19.4.1 System software
19.4.2 Applications software
19.4.3 Analog electronics
19.4.4 Digital electronics
19.4.5 Mechanical engineering

19.5 Publications

19.6 New Product Review

19.7 Service

20. Analysis of Competition

20.1 Atari

20.2 Texas Instrument

20.3 Commodore

20.4 Tandy

20.5 Japan

20.6 Calculators

20.7 Mattel

20.8 Typewriters

20.9 Accounting machines

20.10 Electronic games

20.11 Video games

20.12 Other

21. CPU

It is assumed, for the time being, that memory will be byte oriented, and that the CPU or CPUs will be 8 or 16 bits or some mix of the two.

21.1 Single or multiple CPU

21.2 Off-shelf or our own

21.3 Consider 6809

Document created on 6 June 2000;