Geek Of The Week: Burrell Smith

Geek Of The Week: Burrell Smith

Burrell Smith went to work for Apple in 1979 as an Apple II Service Technician. At the time, his potential had not yet been realized. However, he worked with one of Apple’s brightest engineers, Bill Atkinson, on the Apple IIe project, and was eventually recruited to be a member of the original Macintosh team.

Mac Design Team Geek Of The Week: Burrell Smith
Smith (holding keyboard) with coworkers, 1984

Smith was the hardware engineer who designed the main circuit board for the original Macintosh. In fact, he actually designed five of them. Smith used programming array logic (PAL) to minimize the number of chips. He used similar logic to design the circuit boards for Apple’s LaserWriter series of printers. His design was revolutionary.

Smith left Apple in 1985, and co-founded a hardware company called Radius (along with other original Macintosh team members) in 1986. Radius made expansion cards and processor upgrades for Apple computers. They were also the first company to produce a Mac clone. Supposedly, he and Steve Jobs exchanged words when he decided to leave Apple and several years later, he was accused of breaking the windows out of Jobs’ car. In 1988, he retired and has since been living quietly in California.

About the Author

avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.