Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

NeXT Computer System Boasts CD-Quality Sound and Erasable Optical Disc

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

NeXT Computer System Boasts CD-Quality Sound and Erasable Optical Disc

Article excerpt

NeXT Computer System Boasts CD-Quality Sound And Erasable Optical Disc

"Higher education wants a personal mainframe," asserts Steven Jobs, and in many ways the sleek, black machine recently unveiled by his company, NeXT, Inc., is just that. The NeXT Computer System, described by Jobs as "a university on a desktop," was designed in collaboration with an advisory board of 24 educators. It combines the best attributes of workstations and personal computers, offers features previously found only on mainframes and boasts some first-on-the-market innovations as well.

Specifically, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company took the workstation concepts of built-in networking, a large display screen, multitasking and a robust application-development environment and designed and packaged them into a 1' cube with such personal-computer characteristics as cool, quiet operation and relative affordability.

In addition, the NeXT Computer System is the first to feature the ICP and OSP, two proprietary VLSI chips that endow it with mainframe-like capabilities; a removable, read/write/erasable, 256MB optical disc as its standard mass storage device; NextStep, an object-oriented development environment and user interface that makes UNIX more friendly; and advanced sound capabilities that include CD-quality stereo output.

Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. and president and CEO of NeXT, explains the philosophy behind the new computer as follows: "Currently, there is a revolution in software development and use on college and university campuses, generating powerful concepts such as simulated environments for both research and learning.

"The problem is that higher education lacks a predictable computing target for software developers, which slows emergence of practical products. NeXT intends to provide this target by raising the lowest common denominator for standard capabilities in academic computing. In this way, we will help spur the realization of some innovative and important software ideas."

The NeXT Computer System's basic hardware configuration starts with the computer itself, a 1' cube that houses the main CPU board (plus room for three expansion boards), 8MB of main memory, a universal power supply and up to two 5.25", full-height mass storage devices. It comes, too, with the 256MB optical disc, which can store the equivalent of 300 to 400 complete books and includes powerful searching and indexing capabilities. …

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