Summary of “This 1983 Demo Says So Much About Apple’s Past, Present, And Future”

On the evening of January 26, 1983, as a technology-smitten Boston University freshman, I attended the monthly meeting of the Boston Computer Society, which included a demo of Apple’s brand-new Lisa system.
“I remember the enthusiasm and the intelligence of the crowd,” says David Larson, who presided over the Apple IIe section of the January 1983 meeting as director of marketing for the Apple II line, a job he held until 1985.
Today, Larson describes the Apple IIe as “Just a better version of the old thing that costs about the same money.” As its marketing honcho, he had to convince prospective buyers that the device was a signficant upgrade despite its familiar looks-much as the company must do to this day when people grumble that new iPhones look much like last year’s iPhones.
Much of what was new about the Apple IIe involved solving nagging problems and giving people more stuff as standard equipment.
Even in 1991, eight years after the Apple IIe’s release, the aging machine was such a standard in schools that Apple released an add-in card to allow Macs to run Apple IIe programs.
After Larson wrapped up his half-hour Apple IIe demo, the BCS meeting segued directly into the Lisa demo by Couch and a colleague, which lasted more than twice as long.
Though the news was big, the affair lacked the glitz of later Apple events such as Jobs’ Mac demo at BCS just a year later, which introduced the new computer to the strains of the Chariots of Fire theme.
Apple IIe marketing chief Larson says he marveled at the Lisa all over again when he watched the BCS meeting on YouTube: “How many of those user interface standards were set at that time, and are still in use today?” Rotenberg adds that the demo “Doesn’t feel as earth-shaking as the Macintosh was a year later. But then you go back and remember that none of this existed yet. This was the first glimpse of the future of personal computers. And then it starts to come back how amazing it was to see that in person.”

The orginal article.