Amiga vs Apple vs Microsoft

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Frisco, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    We know Apple got their idea for an icon based GUI from Xereox, but wasn't Amiga already out or about to come out?

    1) Who had the the GUI first?

    2) From my understanding the Amiga was superior to Apple in almost every way---graphics, sound, and it had direct memory access independently of the Central Processing Unit preventing the system from crashing if one process fails.

    I realize Microsoft is a copy machine, but they had direct memory access independently of the Central Processing Unit before Apple.

    Amiga went out of business because they couldn't get any financing, but who is the true innovator between Apple and Amiga?
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    ... The first model was launched in 1985 ...
    A prototype of the full computer was shown to the public for the first time at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in 1984.[6] ​
    I'll let you look up when the first Macintosh shipped to customers, and when Apple started the Macintosh development.

    DMA has nothing at all to do with preventing crashes. One can crash a system with or without DMA. One can even crash a system using only the DMA controller, if it's setup wrong or there are no safeguards against doing stupid things with it.

    DMA existed in many computers long before the IBM PC. The IBM PC is what provided DMA. Microsoft didn't "have DMA", because they didn't make the hardware.

    DMA is hardware, not software. If a DMA controller is present, the OS can use DMA or not, at its choice. If no DMA controller is present, then nothing can use DMA, even if there's software in the OS that would use it if the DMA controller were present.

    Both are, in different ways. There is no monopoly on innovation (or invention) by either company.
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    DMA is direct memory access, it allowed programs to access (copy blocks of) memory directly without going through the CPU. The PCjr didn't have it so you couldn't type and run the floppy disk at the same time.

    The Amiga was interesting, I had one. It had a pretty neat graphical OS but was bog slow to load off of floppy disk every time you booted it. It was a pretty good gaming machine.

    The IBM PC didn't have the fancy graphics till EGA came out, it also had almost no sound options and a mouse was rarely needed for a DOS computer. It was great for spreadsheets and WordStar was very good.

    The MAC had the serious graphical workstation market (and price). Plus the 68000 (also in the Amiga although I recall it was an enhanced 68000 in the Amiga) was a pretty good chip compared to the 8088, 80286 or the crippled 386SX used in the PCXT/AT.

    Don't forget the NEXT Cube (68000). I recall it was the basis for OSX.

    As for Microsoft, here's the rub. They have to either include a zillion different drivers for a zillion combinations of computers they run on. Apple doesn't.
    Also Apple's OSX is UNIX, Windows is Microsofts own proprietary OS and it probably still has 8088 code in it somewhere, 32/64bit nonsense, plus it has the truly awful quagmire called the registry.
  4. alephnull12, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013

    alephnull12 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2012
    Apple, with the release of the Lisa, in January 1983. Development on the GUI dates back to as early as 1979, when Jobs toured Parc and had the Lisa team introduced to many of its concepts, also in 1979.

    P.S. it did have protected memory already.

    In contrast, Amiga development began in 1982 as a game console, and work to redesign it as a general purpose computer began only in 1983 -- I would suppose after the release of the Lisa. First model was out in 1985, two years after release of the Lisa and one year after the release of the Mac.
  5. HobeSoundDarryl, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Amiga definitely borrowed OS concepts from Mac/Lisa. I don't think it would be possible to make the case that Mac was derived from Amiga.

    I owned many Amigas and they were great- especially relative to the competition at the time (DOS then Windows, and Mac included). They leveraged a number of new ideas to pack a lot of punch into relatively cheap packages... a scenario of very high value for not very high prices which- in computers of the day- was not that common.

    Many of the things we take for granted in our computers today could be credited back to ideas that were first (or better) implemented in Amigas. Big color palettes, relatively good multitasking, offloading tasks to coprocessors for things like graphics & sound, running other OSs in a Window (virtual PC-type stuff) etc were relatively impressive at that time.

    I recall going to one of those computer stores that carried PCs, Apples and the new Amiga when the latter first came out. The PCs & Apple were grayscale (or green or amber mono color), mono sound and relatively high-priced. Even the first Amigas demoed the famous bouncing ball in 32 colors with stereo sound. Not so long after, the Amiga demo switched to the "juggler" which was early ray-traced 4096-color animation which could run on a new version of the Amiga that could be had for just a few hundred dollars. At that time, PCs and Apple machines were still playing catch-up on some of the most tangible benefits of Amiga. Where the bouncing ball demo might have made them squirm, they had nothing to touch "juggler" for several years at anything close to the price of Amiga.

    As objectively as I could look at things for several years back then, nothing touched Amiga out of the box. It's owners made a number of mis-steps in caretaking for that amazing baby which gave others time to take many steps to catch up. For example, DOS gained Windows during that time and Macs went from grayscale to color. In hindsight, I think if a company very serious about the future of computing that was also well financed had owned the Amiga, it might have become the dominant platform of the present day. There was one last flurry of huge hope when Gateway purchased it in the 90's and had a leader in charge of it that appeared very committed to finally making a serious run with it (behind the scenes though, it appeared Gateway then pulled the plug). A German company purchased it but then did little with it too.

    Anyone who genuinely got to know one at the time should not be able to argue with typical biases for the other 2 platforms. As is often the case though, a better mousetrap doesn't necessarily make the world beat a path to your door.

    When the Amiga "died" for me (for which rumors of a complete death are greatly exaggerated even today for that platform), the choices at the time were either Apple with something new called OS X or a 1000 variations of Windows-based machines running Windows 98. At that point in time, neither could do some things that my last generation Amiga had been doing for 4-5 years but both came with other benefits (particular mainstream software support) that couldn't be had by continuing to stick with Amiga. OS X looked like it had more potential to me than Windows, so I (at the time) gambled on Apple (which was still not so far from being on the brink of failing as a company itself). Since, I've observed OS X advances still seemingly taking some cues for how things worked on Amigas in the 1990's (whether that's true or just coincidence, I don't know of course).

    Even today- 2013- there's still some things that Amigas could do that neither Windows or Macs seem to be able to do but much of what made Amigas great in their day has been surpassed in both platforms. For example, hardware 4-channel sound of Amigas seems pretty quaint now. 32, then 256 & 4096 colors vs. todays 16bit and 32bit graphics cards are similarly far surpassed.

    Nevertheless, while I couldn't credit Amiga OS as leading to Mac OS in any way (I'm sure it was much more the other way), I could credit Amiga overall as continuing to have influences on both modern platforms even today. Tangible elements of Amiga superiority probably motivated both IBM and Apple to switch to color and step up all of the parts of computers that support multimedia development. Amiga's could talk with a voice not much inferior to Siri even way back then. If you were arcade game-minded, PCs or Macs couldn't touch Amiga in terms of bringing arcade experiences into the home for several years (playing something in amber or green or grayscale could not compete with much richer color palettes, hardware sprites, multi-channel sound and on and on). In short (at the time): Amiga felt like someone time-traveled into the future and bought a bunch of computing advances back, packaged them pretty cheaply and rolled them out as an alternative. The big 2 at the time seemed several years behind. When I watch that movie "Tucker" (about the car entrepreneur), it always makes me think of Amiga.

    And there are still times when I really wish it would have made it as a platform as I'd love to see what a 2013 Amiga would have been like. (and yes, I know that there is still an Amiga that can be run on 2013 hardware but I'm talking about the idea of what a 2013 Amiga would be like had it got a similar level of hardware & software investment afforded to PCs and Macs for all these years, not just running the OS on generic Windows hardware)
  6. Frisco thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate it.
  7. alephnull12 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2012
    Also, don't forget that the mac around the time of its release had a lot of other innovative things backing it that were instrumental to its popularity, that are more or less taken for granted today, including:

    (1) Plug-and-play.

    (2) Fantastically easy to implement networking (appletalk) and file sharing over AppleTalk.

    (3) A variety of Apple branded peripheral components, including printers and laser printers, that could be used as plug-and-play with a minimal / no configuration. Getting devices to play together back in those days was not easy, and even completely impossible in some circumstances.

    These were essential components to making the Mac a success not just as a home computer, but in small businesses and in academia. Home computers were not as large a market back then as they are now. Amiga might have made a decent, or even great, home computer back in the day, but as a business computer, its impact was minimal. And in those days, you couldn't really be successful without at least some business market penetration.

    It's interesting to see Apple's success even today, with its wide variety of "ecosystem" devices including iPod, iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, etc... and getting them to work together in a fluid manner. This is no accident. It held Steve Jobs' attention since the 80's. He always understood the synergies that can be created in an ecosystem of smoothly interoprating devices.
  8. Tech198, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    now, this is a post for me :)

    Point 2 is totally correct.....

    I never used Apple Mac till i was in school, but even in 1993, all we had was the Mac classics SE, good machines, but primitive with the black and white displays.

    The Amiga had sound back then,, and it was stereo, not mono, and easily ran rings around regarding graphics on any other machine at the time.

    I actually think it was rather the other way around with the GUI.. Apple borrows,,, sounds better :)

    There's no point in Commodore borrowing anything ? They had ideas on their own. Unlike today.

    The only thing they borrowed was money.

Share This Page