Burrell Smith

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Burrell Smith
Born (1955-12-16) December 16, 1955 (age 62)
OccupationEngineer, Inventor
Known forDesigned the motherboard (digital circuit board) for the original Macintosh.

Burrell Carver Smith (born December 16, 1955) is an American engineer who, while working at Apple Computer, designed the motherboard (digital circuit board) for the original Macintosh. He was Apple employee #282, and was hired in February 1979, initially as an Apple II service technician.[1] He also designed the motherboard for Apple's LaserWriter, and designed a low-cost version of the Apple II that eventually became the Apple IIe, using the same innovative design techniques that he pioneered with the Mac.

Burrell was working in Apple's service department when he helped Bill Atkinson add more memory to an Apple II computer in an innovative fashion. Bill recommended him to Jef Raskin, who was looking for a hardware engineer to help him with his newly formed Macintosh project.[1] As a member of the design team,[2] Burrell designed five different motherboards during the course of Macintosh development, all of which used techniques based on Programmable Array Logic (PAL) chips to achieve maximum functionality with a minimal chip count.

Burrell left the company before releasing Apple's "Turbo Mac" design platform, which included an internal hard drive and a further simplified chipset.

He was later a co-founder of Radius Inc., and is retired and living in Palo Alto.[3]

Burrell reportedly suffered from schizophrenia during the 1990s.[4][5] In 1993 he was accused of breaking windows, throwing a firecracker and leaving letters at the house of Steve Jobs.[4] Actor Lenny Jacobson portrayed him in the 2013 film Jobs.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Well_See_About_That.txt&showcomments=1
  2. ^ Smith, Burrell C. (February 1984). "Macintosh System Architecture". BYTE. p. 32. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. ^ Inside the Mac Revolution - Wired - 16 December 2004
  4. ^ a b "Former Apple Designer Charged with Harassing Steve Jobs". AP News. June 8, 1993. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, page xv.