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Burrell Smith Macintosh commercial

Burrell Carver Smith (born December 16, 1955) was a member of the original Macintosh design team at Apple Computer.


Apple Computer[]

Smith was hired in February 1979 as Apple employee #282 and first worked as an Apple II service technician. While working in the service department, Smith helped Bill Atkinson add more memory to his Apple II computer than was thought to be possible for use in the development of the Apple Lisa. Atkinson recommended Smith to Jef Raskin, who was looking for a hardware engineer to help him with his newly formed Macintosh project.[1]

Macintosh prototype wirewrap board 5 top

A Macintosh prototype logic board designed by Smith.

As a member of the design team, Smith designed five different Macintosh prototype motherboards during the course of development. His techniques utilized Programmable Array Logic (PAL) chips to achieve maximum functionality with a minimal chip count.[2] Steve Jobs also became involved in the aesthetics of the board design.[3] Smith also designed the logic board of the original LaserWriter printer.[4]

After clashing with engineering manager Bob Belleville, Smith left Apple in February 1985 before completing the "Turbo Mac" design platform, which would have included a 20MB NISHA hard drive with a new file system and a further simplified chipset. The project was completed as the Macintosh Plus and the NISHA drive became available separately as the Hard Disk 20 which was supported by the Hierarchical File System.[4][5] However, an internal hard drive would not be supported until the Macintosh SE.

After Apple[]

In May 1986, Smith co-founded Radius with Andy Hertzfeld and other members of the Macintosh development team. He engineered the company's first product, the Radius Full Page Display. Smith left Radius in 1988.[4][6]

Personal life[]

Smith reportedly suffered from schizophrenia during the 1990s.[7][8] In 1993, he was accused of breaking windows, throwing a firecracker and leaving letters at the nearby home of Steve Jobs in Palo Alto.[7]

Smith has since retired and lives in Palo Alto, California.[9]

Media portrayals[]

Smith was portrayed by actor Lenny Jacobson in the 2013 film dramatization Jobs.[10]


  1. Hertzfeld, Andy (1979-11). We'll See About That. Retrieved on 2019-03-10.
  2. Five Different Macintoshes by Andy Hertzfeld, Folklore. Accessed 2006-04-24.
  3. PC Board Esthetics by Andy Hertzfeld, Folklore. 1981-07.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Burrell Smith: Macintosh hardware wizard by Dan Farber, CNET. 2014-01-22.
  5. HFS Origins: The Turbo File System by Dog Cow, Mac GUI. 2017-11-08.
  6. Radius Inc. History, Funding Universe. Archived 2012-10-20.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Former Apple Designer Charged with Harassing Steve Jobs (June 8, 1993).
  8. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, page xv.
  9. Inside the Mac Revolution - Wired - 16 December 2004
  10. Jobs (2013): Full Cast & Crew, Internet Movie Database. Accessed 2022-10-06.

External links[]



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