Macintosh XL

Macintosh XL is a modified version of the Apple Lisa personal computer made by Apple Computer, Inc. In the Macintosh XL configuration, the computer shipped with MacWorks XL, a Lisa program that allowed 64 K Macintosh ROM emulation. An identical machine was previously sold as Lisa 2/10 with the Lisa OS only.

Macintosh XL
A Macintosh XL
ManufacturerApple Computer, Inc.
Release dateJanuary 1, 1985; 36 years ago (1985-01-01)
Introductory priceUS$3,995 (equivalent to $9,497 in 2019)
DiscontinuedApril 29, 1985 (1985-04-29)[1]
Operating systemMacWorks XL / System 1.1,[2] 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.2;
MacWorks Plus / System;
MacWorks Plus II / System,
CPUMotorola 68000 @ 5 MHz
Memory512 KB RAM (the Lisa DRAM card), expandable to 2 MB
PredecessorApple Lisa
Macintosh 512K
SuccessorMacintosh Plus


Macintosh XL has a 400K 3.5" floppy drive and an internal 10 MB proprietary "Widget" hard drive[3] with provision for an optional 5 or 10 MB external ProFile hard drive with the addition of a parallel interface card. The machine uses a Motorola 68000 CPU, clocked at 5 MHz together with 512KB RAM. Macintosh XL was discontinued in April 1985.[1]


Because of its roots as a Lisa — unlike all other Macintosh computers — the stock Macintosh XL used rectangular pixels. The resolution of Macintosh XL's 12-inch (30.5 cm) display was 720×364 pixels. Square pixels were available through the Macintosh XL Screen Kit upgrade that changed the resolution to 608×432 pixels.[4] The CPU could be replaced with a new CPU board containing up to 8 MB RAM, called XLerator 18.[5] The maximum upgraded RAM with conventional add-in RAM cards was up to 2 MB – quadruple the maximum capacity of earlier Macintosh computers. (With modifications to the CPU board, the XL could accommodate up to 4 MB of RAM).[6]


MacWorks Plus was developed by Sun Remarketing as a successor to MacWorks XL in order to provide application compatibility with the Macintosh Plus computer. MacWorks Plus added support for an 800 KB 3.5" floppy disk and System software up through version 6.0.3. MacWorks Plus II extended that to the same System 7.5.5 limit imposed on all 68000 processors.[7]


The re-badging of the XL was a last-ditch effort by Apple to save the poorly-selling Lisa which had been usurped by the Macintosh line. After two years of marginal sales, Apple was unprepared for the record number of orders placed for the newest member of the Macintosh family.[8]


Despite its relative success, Macintosh XL was discontinued because it was unavailable. Parts had not been ordered to keep the XL in production, and once the last of the parts ran out, Apple made the decision to shut down production for good.[9] In 1986, Apple offered all Lisa/XL owners the opportunity to turn in their computer (along with US$1,498) and receive in exchange a Macintosh Plus and Hard Disk 20 (list price: US$4,098 at the time).[10]

Sun RemarketingEdit

After Apple dropped the XL from their price list in September 1985, Sun Remarketing of Logan, Utah, bought a number of Apple's remaining inventory and continued to sell them under license with their updated version of MacWorks Plus, re-branding it as Macintosh Professional.

Although no new Lisas were available for sale, development continued on MacWorks Plus to support the installed base of Lisas, making them as relevant as their closely-related cousin Macintosh Plus.


Macintosh XL shares the same legacy as Lisa before it. However, the increased sales from the emulation of the Macintosh operating system proved that the Macintosh family badly needed a more professional environment which could support larger monitors, greater memory, and more expandability than Macintosh 512K offered.

Timeline of compact Macintosh models

Power MacintoshMacintosh LC 520PowerBookMacintosh LCMacintosh PortableMacintosh II seriesApple IIeMacintosh Classic IIMacintosh Color ClassicMacintosh SE/30Macintosh ClassicMacintosh PlusMacintosh PlusMacintosh XLMacintosh SEMacintosh 512KeApple LisaMacintosh 128KMacintosh 512K

Timeline of Lisa models

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Linzmayer, Owen W. (2004). Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company. p. 80. ISBN 9781593270100. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "System Software: Configs for Mac 128K, XL, 512, & 512KE (7/94)". Apple Computer, Inc. February 18, 2012. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012.
  3. ^ Linzmayer, Owen W. (2004). Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company. p. 79. ISBN 9781593270100. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Pina, Larry (1991). Macintosh Repair & Upgrade Secrets. Hayden Books. p. 274. ISBN 0672484528.
  5. ^ XLerator 18 "XLerator"
  6. ^ Pina, Larry (1991). Macintosh Repair & Upgrade Secrets. Hayden Books. p. 273. ISBN 0672484528.
  7. ^ MacWorks Plus II
  8. ^ "Apple's Lisa Meets a Bad End". InfoWorld. 7 (22): 21. June 3, 1985. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  9. ^ Book Review: AppleDesign and Apple: The Inside Story
  10. ^ "Semaphore Signal 26". Semaphore Corporation. March 1986. Retrieved January 2, 2014.