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Apple Wiki

Bill Atkinson Macintosh commercial

Bill Atkinson (born March 17, 1951) was a member of the original Apple Lisa and Macintosh design teams at Apple Computer.


Atkinson received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, where Apple Macintosh visionary Jef Raskin was one of his professors.

Work at Apple[]

Steve Jobs and Bill Atkinson with Macintosh

Steve Jobs (left) with Atkinson and a Macintosh 128K in 1984.

Atkinson was recruited by Raskin and joined Apple Computer as employee #51 on April 27, 1978. Atkinson ported UCSD Pascal to the Apple II, which was used to bootstrap development for the Apple Lisa and Macintosh systems before prototype hardware was ready. Atkinson wrote the Lisa Event Manager and Menu Manager, which Andy Hertzfeld adapted for use on the Macintosh.[1]

Macintosh MacPaint 1

MacPaint 1.0

To support graphics on the Macintosh, Atkinson designed and implemented QuickDraw, the fundamental toolbox used by classic Mac OS. QuickDraw's performance was essential for the success of the Macintosh's graphical user interface. His code accounted for two-thirds of the original Macintosh ROM.[1]

Every Macintosh 128K was bundled with MacPaint, the first Mac graphics application, which had been written by Atkinson. He also designed and implemented HyperCard, the first popular hypertext system.

After Apple[]

With the blessing of then-CEO John Sculley, Atkinson left Apple to co-found General Magic with Andy Hertzfeld to help invent the personal communicator.[1]

As of 2002, he was involved full-time in fine-art digital nature photography. Some of his photographs had previously been available in the iCards section of He has since written his own app, PhotoCard.[2]

Media portrayals[]

Atkinson was portrayed by actor Nelson Franklin in the 2013 film dramatization Jobs.[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Atkinson, Bill (1978-04). Joining Apple Computer.
  2. PhotoCard by Bill Atkinson by Bill Atkinson Photography, AppAdvice. 2017-12-13.
  3. Jobs (2013): Full Cast & Crew, Internet Movie Database. Accessed 2022-10-06.

External links[]

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