Friday, October 7, 2011


I joined Apple on October 21, 1990.  At that time Apple was just about ready to release the Mac IIfx with its powerful Motorola 040 CPU.  But Apple feared that they would be blown out of the water, eclipsed by Intel delivering a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) CPU.  The same technology that Apple would introduce years later as PowerPC.

On  my second day at work, amused by the angst, I concocted the fanciful press release below and sent it out to our small group of product managers on Apple's internal mail system Applelink.

What you have to know about Applelink is that it showed who had forwarded your message and to whom it had been forwarded; a feature impractical today, but something I've often wished I still had.

When I arrived the next morning my phone message light was blinking. I picked up the phone and listened to the message.  It was from CEO John Sculley's office wanting more info on RISCBoy immediately.

I checked Applelink and to my horror I saw that the message had been forwarded to a veritable who's-who of Apple at the time (you can see who in the "to addresses" of my terse reply)

I called my boss, Mark Orr, over.  I think he felt somewhat responsible having forwarded the message up the chain.  To his credit he suggested the reply, which I sent immediately and never mentioned it again.

But my reputation at Apple was instantly set.

And so, for the first time I am posting the RISCBoy press release of October 1990.


Item forwarded by MARK.ORR to MANSER2 FRIEDMAN 3    CHEUNG.HL

Item 7502546 24-Oct-90 09:58PDT
From: AUERBACH.M Auerbach, Marc

BARNETT.T Barnett, Ted

CASANOVA Casanova, Frank

B.COOPER Cooper, Brian

DYER1 Dyer, Wayne

EBERT1 Ebert, Karen

GOINS Goins, Bill

KEAST.B Keast, Brodie

LOUCKS1 Loucks, Brian

MARK.ORR Orr, Mark

VITO Salvaggio, Vito

SMILEY Smiley, Brian

DARLING Darling, Scott

Sub: Nintendo Press Release
Torrance, CA -(UPI)- In its quest to bring ever increasing levels of realism to the world of video games and broaden its product line, Nintendo of America, Inc. today announce RISCBoy. Set for delivery to retailers by November 14, 1990, RISCBoy promises to bring a whole new world of graphic display and audio capability to the video game market.
RISCBoy follows closely on the heals of Gameboy, which was targeted at both the traditional video game market of 10 to 17 year olds, and in a series of TV commercials to a new market segment of young adult males between the ages of 17 to 28.
Product manager for RISCBoy, Peter Bergstrom, explains, "the successful marketing of Gameboy to a non-traditional base in a slightly older demographic encourage us to extend our reach to an even more powerful game system using a RISC based architecture.

RISCBoy, based on the 16MHz Motorola 88100 chip includes 40MB of DRAM and dedicated 4 MB of VRAM. The unit will be available with a choice of two monitors - 16" and 21" color displays. Each will support up to 1 billion colors on screen, more than 1 color per pixel and use a 112 MHz refresh rate.

The new system will support all existing Nintendo and Nintendo compatible game cartridges but is designed primarily to function with a generation of video games announced for simultaneous release. Titles include:

Super Einstein Brothers - A video game based on the quantum effect of gravity on the space-time continuum.

Genetic Engineer - In which players pit themselves against invading DNA splicers and mutant viruses to protect their double-helix. The fabulous double helix 3D rendering includes the complete genetic map of a glow worm. Additional genetic maps sold separately.

CADman- Challenges up to 4000 players to compete in building any of the world's most difficult engineering structures. Scalable to any level of detail form the mortar in any of the bricks in the Great Wall of China to the wind tunnel simulations of the titanium blades of SCRAMjet hyperspace planes.

The unit comes with 12 joystick ports, a wireless PowerGlove(TM) accessory port. One UltraSCSI(TM) port and game cartridge slot.

Additional accessories include an optional CD-ROM 100 disc changer.

RISCBoy is set to retail at $499 including 16" monitor and 2 wired game control modules.

Nintendo is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of video game hardware and software.

Item 9193218 23-Oct-90 10:12PDT

From: AUERBACH.M Auerbach, Marc

SCULLEY Sculley, John

GRAZ Graziano, Joseph

EISENSTAT Eisenstat, Al

SULLIVAN6 Sullivan, Kevin

TESLER Tesler, Larry

SPINDLER Spindler, Michael

CAMPBELL3 Campbell, Bill, CLA

HOLLYWOOD Paul, Daniel

NAGEL Nagel, David

BIRSS Birss, Ed

SELL.J Sell, John

YAMAMURA2 Yamamura, Mike

PERLMAN Perlman, Steve

ENEA1 Enea, Horsce

EILERS Eilers, Dan

FARRAND1 Farrand, Toby

DAVIS Davis, Jim

MARTIN Martin, Hugh

GABLE Gable, Jim

LOUCKS1 Loucks, Brian

TCHAO1 Tchoa, Michael

MANSER2 Manser, Steve

FRIEDMAN2 Friedman, Josef

CHEUNG.HL Cheung, Holeung

HARSLEM Harslem, Eric

MCHENRY2 McHenry, Jack

cc: BARNETT.T Barnett, Ted

CASANOVA Casanova, Frank

DYER1 Dyer, Wayne

EBERT1 Ebert, Karen

GOINS Goins, Bill

KEAST.B Keast, Brodie

LOUCKS1 Loucks, Brian

MARK.ORR Orr, Mark

VITO Salvaggio, Vito

SMILEY Smiley, Brian

DARLING Darling, Scott

B.COOPER Cooper, Brian

J.STAIR Stair, James

Sub: Nintendo Follow up 
It appears that the Nintendo press release attributed to UPI was a hoax. I am investigating further.

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