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The Apple Advanced Technology Group (ATG), formerly Apple Research Laboratories, was a corporate research laboratory at Apple Computer from 1986 to 1997.[1]


ATG was an evolution of Apple's Education Research Group (ERG) that was started by Larry Tesler in October 1986 to study long term research into future technologies that were beyond the time frame or organizational scope of any individual product group. Over the next decade, it was led by David Nagel, Richard LeFaivre,[2] and Don Norman.[3] It was known as Apple Research Labs during Norman's tenure as VP of the organization. Steve Jobs closed the group in late 1997 soon after his return to Apple.[4]

ATG had research efforts in both hardware and software, with groups focused on such areas as human-computer interaction, speech recognition, educational technology, networking, information access, distributed operating systems, collaborative computing, computer graphics, and language/action perspective. Many of these efforts are described in a special issue of the ACM SIGCHI Bulletin which provided a retrospective of the ATG work after the lab was shut down. ATG was also home to four Apple Fellows: Al Alcorn, object-oriented software pioneer; Alan Kay; Bill Atkinson; and laser printer inventor Gary Starkweather. Further, ATG funded university research and, starting in 1992, held an annual design competition for teams of students.[5]

Apple's ATG was the birthplace of Color QuickDraw, QuickTime, QuickTime VR, QuickDraw 3D, QuickRing, 3DMF the 3D metafile graphics format, ColorSync, HyperCard, Apple Events, AppleScript, Apple's PlainTalk speech recognition software, Apple Data Detectors, the V-Twin software for indexing, storing, and searching text documents, Macintalk Pro speech synthesis, Newton handwriting recognition,[6] the component software technology leading to OpenDoc, MCF, HotSauce, Squeak, and the children's programming environment Cocoa (a trademark Apple later reused for its otherwise unrelated Cocoa application frameworks).


  1. The legendary Apple research group that shaped our world. Fast Company (19 June 2018). Retrieved on 11 September 2018.
  2. Metz, Cade. "Rick Lefaivre: Ran Apple's Advanced Technology Group", PC Magazine, October 12, 2005. Retrieved on February 27, 2012. 
  3. Arthur, Charles. "Why do some people really hate Apple?", The Guardian, October 6, 2011. Retrieved on February 27, 2012. “[Don] Norman, formerly vice-president of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple [...]” 
  4. Davis, Jim (October 7, 1997). Apple shutters Advanced Technology Group.
  5. The Apple Advanced Technology Group by James R. Miller, SIGCHI Bulletin vol.30 no.2. 1998-04. Archived 1999-02-21.
  6. Smykil, Jeff. "In the Loop with Larry Yaeger: part I", Ars Technica, June 2005. Retrieved on February 27, 2012. “Also at Apple, in the Advanced Technology Group, [Larry Yaeger] was Technical Lead in the development of the neural network-based handprint recognition system, the world's first genuinely usable handwriting recognition system, showcased in second generation Newton PDAs and Mac OS X's "Inkwell."” 

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