A New Baby
The Apple II took the company from Jobs's garage to the pinnacle of a new industry.
Its sales rose dramatically, from 2,500 units in 1977 to 210,000 in 1981.
But Jobs was restless.
The Apple II could not remain successful forever, and he knew that, no matter how much he had done to package it, from power cord to case, it would always be seen as Wozniak's masterpiece.
He needed his own machine.
More than that, he wanted a product that would, in his words, make a dent in the universe.
At first he hoped that the Apple III would play that role.
It would have more memory, the screen would display eighty characters across rather than forty, and it would handle uppercase and lowercase letters.
Indulging his passion for industrial design, Jobs decreed the size and shape of the external case, and he refused to let anyone alter it, even as committees of engineers added more components to the circuit boards.
The result was piggybacked boards with poor connectors that frequently failed.
When the Apple III began shipping in May 1980, it flopped.
Randy Wigginton, one of the engineers, summed it up: "The Apple III was kind of like a baby conceived during a group orgy, and later everybody had this bad headache, and there's this bastard child, and everyone says, 'It's not mine.'"
By then Jobs had distanced himself from the Apple III and was thrashing about for ways to produce something more radically different.
At first he flirted with the idea of touchscreens, but he found himself frustrated.
At one demonstration of the technology, he arrived late, fidgeted awhile, then abruptly cut off the engineers in the middle of their presentation with a brusque "Thank you."
They were confused.
"Would you like us to leave?" one asked.
Jobs said yes, then berated his colleagues for wasting his time.
Then he and Apple hired two engineers from Hewlett-Packard to conceive a totally new computer.
The name Jobs chose for it would have caused even the most jaded psychiatrist to do a double take: the Lisa.
Other computers had been named after daughters of their designers, but Lisa was a daughter Jobs had abandoned and had not yet fully admitted was his.
"Maybe he was doing it out of guilt," said Andrea Cunningham, who worked at Regis McKenna on public relations for the project.
"We had to come up with an acronym so that we could claim it was not named after Lisa the child."