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The NeXT Computer (also called the NeXT Computer System) is a workstation computer that was developed, marketed, and sold by NeXT Inc. It runs the Mach- and BSD-derived, Unix-based NeXTSTEP operating system, with a proprietary GUI using a Display PostScript-based back end. The motherboard is square and fits into one of four identical slots in the enclosure. The NeXT Computer enclosure consists of a 1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube-shaped, black case, which led to the machine being informally referred to as "The Cube". It was launched in 1988 at US$6,500 (equivalent to $13,400 in 2017).
NeXTcube with original screen, keyboard and mouse
|Manufacturer||NeXT, Fremont, California|
|Release date||October 12, 1988|
|Introductory price||US$6,500 (equivalent to $13,450 in 2017)|
|Operating system||NeXTSTEP, OpenStep|
|CPU||Motorola 68030 @ 25 MHz, 68882 FPU @ 25 MHz, 56001 digital signal processor (DSP) @ 25 MHz|
|Memory||shipped with 8 MB, expandable to 16 MB using 1 MB Single Inline Memory Modules (SIMMs)|
|Storage||256 MB magneto-optical drive, optional hard disk|
|Display||MegaPixel 17" monitor|
|Graphics||1120×832 pixel resolution, four-level grayscale|
|Input||85-key keyboard, 2-button mouse|
|Power||300 Watts, 3 Amperes|
|Dimensions||1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube-shaped case|
The NeXT Computer was succeeded by the NeXTcube, an upgraded model, in 1990.
The NeXT Computer was launched in October 1988 at a lavish invitation-only event, "NeXT Introduction – the Introduction to the NeXT Generation of Computers for Education" at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California. The next day, selected educators and software developers were invited to attend—for a $100 registration fee—the first public technical overview of the NeXT computer at an event called "The NeXT Day" at the San Francisco Hilton. It gave those interested in developing NeXT software an insight into the system's software architecture and object-oriented programming. Steve Jobs was the luncheon's speaker.
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In 1989, BYTE Magazine listed the NeXT Computer among the "Excellence" winners of the BYTE Awards, stating that it showed "what can be done when a personal computer is designed as a system, and not a collection of hardware elements". Citing as "truly innovative" the optical drive, DSP and object-oriented programming environment, it concluded that "the NeXT Computer is worth every penny of its $6,500 market price". It was, however, not a significant commercial success, failing to reach the level of high-volume sales like the Apple II, Commodore 64, the Macintosh, or Microsoft Windows PCs. The workstations were sold to universities, financial institutions, and government agencies.
A NeXT Computer and its object oriented development tools and libraries were used by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN to develop the world's first web server software, CERN httpd, and also used to write the first web browser, WorldWideWeb.
The NeXT Computer and the same object oriented development tools and libraries were used by Jesse Tayler at Paget Press to develop the first electronic app store, the Electronic AppWrapper in the early 1990s. Issue #3 was first demonstrated to Steve Jobs at NeXTWorld Expo 1993.
Pioneering PC games Doom (with its WAD level editor), Doom II, and Quake (with its respective level editor) were developed by id Software on NeXT machines. Other games based on the Doom engine such as Heretic and its sequel Hexen by Raven Software as well as Strife by Rogue Entertainment were also developed on NeXT hardware using id's tools.
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