Fall 1989 Catalog for Steve Jobs' NeXT Company Uploaded to Archive.org

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An interesting piece of technology history was highlighted by The Verge over the weekend that may be of interest to Apple users both young and old.

Amateur computer historian Kevin Savetz recently scanned the Fall 1989 issue of the NeXT catalog and uploaded the files to Archive.org. That makes the entire 138-page book available for perusal online, offering an intriguing glimpse into NeXT's software, user interface, peripherals, and more.


For those unfamiliar with the history, NeXT was the company that Steve Jobs founded in 1985 shortly after he was fired by Apple, along with a handful of co-workers. The company specialized in designing high-powered computer workstations for the higher education and business markets.

NeXT lasted until 1997, when Jobs was rehired at Apple. Apple purchased the company for $429 million (equivalent to $670 million in 2018) and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock.


I scanned the fall 1989 NeXT Software and Peripherals catalog in glorious 600 DPI and uploaded to @internetarchive. 138 pages! https://t.co/a1xpteHERt pic.twitter.com/UbV6zKcZEm - Kevin Savetz (@KevinSavetz) July 4, 2019

Estimates suggest NeXT shipped about 50,000 computers in total, so sales were limited. However, the legacy of the NeXTSTEP OS and development environment proved to be highly influential, and eventually became the basis for macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.


Savetz told The Verge that the catalog was "part of a large lot of old computers that I bought from a local computer refurb/recycling organization. I had never seen a catalog like it, and couldn't find much reference to it online, so it was an easy choice to scan it."

Article Link: Fall 1989 Catalog for Steve Jobs' NeXT Company Uploaded to Archive.org
 

JosephAW

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I was interested in NeXT way back because I was heavily into DTP and they had a laser printer that was 400 dpi.
Eventually the industry caught up and I purchased a LaserWriter.

I wonder if this original document was made in FrameMaker? Maybe it could be converted to EPS and then PDF?
Possible it was an original nroff/troff file because of the layout simplicity.
 
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Silencio

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I wonder if this original document was made in FrameMaker? Maybe it could be converted to EPS and then PDF?
Possible it was an original nroff/troff file because of the layout simplicity.
Certainly possible. PageMaker and QuarkXPress did exist at the time.
 
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ChromeAce

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Credit for Jobs rejoining  goes to Gil Amelio, whose decision to rehire proved to be the single most effective move in the history of business.

Now let’s see if Cook has the balls to bring back Wozniak.
 

robinp

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The graphic design is striking in that it seems so modern even now. Exceptional given its age. It must have seemed incredibly alien 30 years ago. It is stunning.

Also, as an aside, why does this post appear on my phone but not on my Mac? Seems like a weird bug on MacRumors @arn
 

trusso

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For those unfamiliar with the history, NeXT was the company that Steve Jobs founded in 1985 shortly after he was fired by Apple, along with a handful of co-workers. The company specialized in designing high-powered computer workstations for the higher education and business markets.

NeXT lasted until 1997, when Jobs was rehired at Apple. Apple purchased the company for $429 million (equivalent to $670 million in 2018) and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock.
Estimates suggest NeXT shipped about 50,000 computers in total, so sales were limited. However, the legacy of the NeXTSTEP OS and development environment proved to be highly influential, and eventually became the basis for macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
This is the salient point.
 

timber

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When I was a kid I loved getting these paper catalogues of all sorts of things I would never buy.

Hundreds of pages usually with so much care.

You can see bits and pieces of OS X in the screenshots, and elements of that design still exist today. Pretty incredible.
Not only OSX, just at the beginning when the "MegaPixel Display" is introduced you get the idea that thing is the grandpa of the "Retina Display" concept.
 
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Saturn007

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Likely a fascinating document, but a clear violation of copyright law to make a copy and post it.

Or, did he get permission from Apple to reproduce this? Doubtful, but you never know!
 

Detnator

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Credit for Jobs rejoining  goes to Gil Amelio, whose decision to rehire proved to be the single most effective move in the history of business.

Now let’s see if Cook has the balls to bring back Wozniak.
Agreed that Gil Amelio gets credit for that move. Insanely great decision. A few problems with the latter comment though...

1. Woz doesn’t have any desire to come back to Apple. Nor is he the right talent for Apple now. Not to say he wouldn’t have anything to contribute but his particular expertise and magic isn’t something Apple specifically needs anytime soon.

2. Big difference between where Apple was at then (90 days away from bankruptcy) and now (one of the most - if not the most - wealthy and successful companies in the world, ever). From a business perspective Apple hardly needs saving anytime soon.

3. If Apple needs anything right now it’s product vision. For that, if anyone needs to come back - if “Cook [needs] the balls to bring back” anyone - its Forstall. If he’ll come.
 
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ChromeAce

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A few problems with this comment.

1. Wozniak doesn’t have the slightest desire to come back. Nor is he the right talent for Apple now. Not to say he wouldn’t have anything to contribute but his particular expertise and magic isn’t something Apple specifically needs anytime soon.

2. Big difference between where Apple was at then (90 days away from bankruptcy) and now (one of the most - if not the most - wealthy and successful companies in the world). From a business perspective Apple hardly needs rescuing anytime soon.

3. If Apple needs anything right now it’s product vision. For that, if anyone needs to come back - if “Cook [needs] the balls to bring back” anyone - its Forstall. If he’ll come.
I'd rather have an  4 Computer than an Address Book with digital leather lining.
 
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lunarworks

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Credit for Jobs rejoining  goes to Gil Amelio, whose decision to rehire proved to be the single most effective move in the history of business.

Now let’s see if Cook has the balls to bring back Wozniak.
Woz wants nothing to do with the business. At all.

The graphic design is striking in that it seems so modern even now. Exceptional given its age. It must have seemed incredibly alien 30 years ago. It is stunning.
Modern graphic design in that style goes back 100 years, and it wasn't uncommon at all in 1989. It just contrasted wildly with popular contemporary graphic design.
 

Mike Haas

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Likely a fascinating document, but a clear violation of copyright law to make a copy and post it.

Or, did he get permission from Apple to reproduce this? Doubtful, but you never know!
Archive.org will not allow *any* content that is not Public Domain. This is the whole point of Archive.org - an archive of media which is specifically PD.

You might be interested to know that in the “Old Time Radio" section there exists a nearly complete archive of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in one single example. The only reason it even exists is because a HAM Radio/SW Radio enthusiast began recording it on reel-to-reel when it debuted, including the Audition (pilot) episode which was in fact titled, Inner Sanctum Mysteries and was produced by Himan Brown. CBS decided to keep the old creaking door but retitled it CBS Radio Mystery Theater. They never saved an episode and never renewed their Copyright. Thanks to this guy and his timer (which recorded in gross increments, 30, 60, 90, etc.) we not only have nearly all the CBSRMT episodes but we get about 10 - 15 minutes of WOR local and national news. We even get the episode interruptions for important bulletins regarding Ford's assassination attempt and Vietnam troop withdrawal.

The last hold-out was QUIET PLEASE. It was uploaded in its entirety but then taken down by a challenge from the family of Ernest Chappell, the actor and narrator who performed in every episode, who claimed since there were only a few extant shows known before a nearly complete shellac disc transcription archive was found under his bed, the family owned the program in its entirety. A Court found they did not and the archive was restored.

Archive.org doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves. You can get lost in all the wonderful items they have digitally stored there.

Sorry for being wordy. ;)
 

austinmcguire

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Likely a fascinating document, but a clear violation of copyright law to make a copy and post it.

Or, did he get permission from Apple to reproduce this? Doubtful, but you never know!
IANAL, but due to Fair Use, it might not necessarily be a violation. There are generally 4 tests, and I believe that the "Purpose" test and the "Effect" Test would argue for Fair Use in this case, as Kevin Savetz does not appear to be attempting to usurp the original, or create a derivative work that he claims to be his own, but make an almost 20 year old document that is rarely seen today available for historical purposes. The U.S. courts generally support Fair Use claims when the use is strictly academic.
 

ChromeAce

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Woz wants nothing to do with the business. At all.
Sure he does. Just needs to be asked nicely. Cook can offer him his own team of designers and engineers for any special projects he wants to tinker with.  can only coast on past innovation for so long. It's time for the next era. And that requires a creative visionary, not a business manager.
 
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Detnator

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Sure he does. Just needs to be asked nicely. Cook can offer him his own team of designers and engineers for any special projects he wants to tinker with.  can only coast on past innovation for so long. It's time for the next era. And that requires a creative visionary, not a business manager.
I’m not sure Woz was a creative visionary. He was an engineer and a tinkerer, yes - invented some amazing stuff initially - but the vision was Jobs.

What’s Woz done since he left Apple originally? Not nothing, of course. He’s done some good stuff with his life, and he’s wealthy enough that he can afford a team of his own without Cook’s help if he wants. But he hasn’t done anything like that.

What’s Woz done with his life that’s anything like what Jobs achieved (both before and since he rejoined Apple)?
 

konqerror

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Archive.org will not allow *any* content that is not Public Domain. This is the whole point of Archive.org - an archive of media which is specifically PD.
Nope. A lot of their content is copyrighted. The books you "borrow" are under copyright, they're trying to act like a library and "format shifting" the content. There was talk about the legality of their broad interpretation and lawsuits. I know they've been served cease and desists over that practice and had to take some of that content down.

Another example is their old MS-DOS games, which are under copyright and cannot be downloaded.

Besides, they don't screen the copyright status of submissions before they post. Pirated media can be found on there.
 
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ignatius345

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He invented the first programmable remote. Called 'Tyrone' and eventually marketed as the Harmony. To this day, Harmony remotes are buggy garbage.
Hmm. Off topic here, but my Harmony works pretty decently (tho it's a bit ugly and the setup software is pretty awful). What's the better universal remote out there?
 
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Bones13

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Old time I know. I did see a NeXT cube connected to the internet back in 1989. It was running as the connection node at a lab at University of California San Francisco. All text, transferring documents and data with other institutions.

When the "internet" became popular in the early 90s, I was suspicious of its usefulness. The graphical front end made all the difference of course, and my misgivings were defiantly not warrented.
 

japanime

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Archive.org will not allow *any* content that is not Public Domain. This is the whole point of Archive.org - an archive of media which is specifically PD.
Just because it's against archive.org's rules to post content that is not in the public domain doesn't mean it isn't happening.

There are currently a handful of books published by my company — books that we still actively promote and sell — that can be found as illegal downloads at archive.org.