NeXT Computer

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NeXT Computer
ManufacturerNeXT, Redwood City, California
Release dateOctober 12, 1988; 35 years ago (1988-10-12)
Introductory priceUS$6,500 (equivalent to $16,700 in 2023)
Discontinued1991 (1991)
Operating systemNeXTSTEP, OPENSTEP
CPUMotorola 68030 @ 25 MHz, 68882 FPU @ 25 MHz, 56001 DSP @ 25 MHz
MemoryShipped with 8 MB, expandable to 64 MB using 4 MB SIMMs
Storage256 MB magneto-optical drive, optional 330 MB or 660 MB hard disk
DisplayMegaPixel 17" monitor
Graphics1120×832, four-level grayscale
SoundBuilt-in speaker
Input85-key keyboard, 2-button mouse
Power300 Watts, 3 Amperes
Dimensions1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube-shaped case

NeXT Computer (also called the NeXT Computer System) is a workstation computer that was developed, marketed, and sold by NeXT Inc. It was introduced in October 1988 as the company's first and flagship product, at a price of US$6,500 (equivalent to $16,700 in 2023), aimed at the higher-education market.[1] It was designed around the Motorola 68030 CPU and 68882 floating-point coprocessor,[2] with a clock speed of 25 MHz. Its NeXTSTEP operating system is based on the Mach microkernel and BSD-derived Unix, with a proprietary GUI using a Display PostScript-based back end. According to the Science Museum Group, "The enclosure consists of a 1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube-shaped black case, which led to the machine being informally referred to as 'The Cube.'"[3]

The NeXT Computer was renamed NeXTcube in a later upgrade. The NeXTstation, a more affordable version of the NeXTcube, was released in 1990.


The NeXT Computer was launched in October 1988 at a lavish invitation-only event, "NeXT Introduction – the Introduction to the NeXT Generation of Computers for Education" at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California. The next day, selected educators and software developers were invited to attend—for a $100 registration fee—the first public technical overview of the NeXT computer at an event called "The NeXT Day" at the San Francisco Hilton. It gave those interested in developing NeXT software an insight into the system's software architecture and object-oriented programming. Steve Jobs was the luncheon's speaker.


In 1989, BYTE magazine listed the NeXT Computer among the "Excellence" winners of the BYTE Awards, stating that it showed "what can be done when a personal computer is designed as a system, and not a collection of hardware elements". Citing as "truly innovative" the optical drive, DSP and object-oriented programming environment, it concluded that "the NeXT Computer is worth every penny of its $6,500 market price".[4] It was, however, not a significant commercial success, failing to reach the level of high-volume sales like the Apple II, Commodore 64, Macintosh, or Microsoft Windows PCs. This failure was mainly credited towards the computer's substantial price, and the fact that there was not a great demand for the system outside of the higher-education market. The workstations were mainly sold to universities, financial institutions, and government agencies.[5]


This NeXTcube was used by Tim Berners-Lee as the first server on the World Wide Web.

A NeXT Computer and its object-oriented development tools and libraries were used by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN to develop the world's first web server (CERN httpd) and web browser (WorldWideWeb).

The NeXT platform was used by Jesse Tayler at Paget Press to develop the first electronic app store, called the Electronic AppWrapper, in the early 1990s. Issue #3 was first demonstrated to Steve Jobs at NeXTWorld Expo 1993.

Pioneering PC games Doom, Doom II, and Quake (with respective level editors) were developed by id Software on NeXT machines. Doom engine games such as Heretic, Hexen, and Strife were also developed on NeXT hardware using id's tools.[6]

NeXT technology provisioned the first online food delivery system called CyberSlice, using GIS based geolocation, on which Steve Jobs performed the first online order of pizza with tomato and basil. CyberSlice was curated into the Inventions of the 20th Century, Computer Science[7] at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NeXT Computer | Science Museum Group Collection". Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  2. ^ "NeXT Computer | Science Museum Group Collection". Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  3. ^ "NeXT Computer | Science Museum Group Collection". Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  4. ^ "The BYTE Awards". BYTE. January 1989. p. 327.
  5. ^ "NeXT Computer | Science Museum Group Collection". Archived from the original on 2020-01-27. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  6. ^ "Apple-NeXT Merger Birthday!". Archived from the original on March 5, 2007.
  7. ^ "CyberSlice, Incorporated". Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2021-03-25. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  8. ^ "AppStorey talks with Steve Green about Steve Jobs, The Smithsonian and how a pizza with basil became the first food delivered via the web". AppStorey. June 6, 2019. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  9. ^ PMQ Pizza Magazine (June 3, 2019), How Steve Jobs Made Pizza History, archived from the original on 2021-12-11, retrieved June 7, 2019

External links[edit]