The history of desktop computing has been relatively brief but hardly dull.

We've seen advances on every level. Some allows us to perform certain tasks better, while others--such as the graphical interface--strike to the very core of the way we use computers.

The truly revolutionary advances are not at all common. In fact, in the last ten years, we've seen only a few. But in the next 24 pages, you're going to see seven.

This is the NeXT Computer System.

The NeXT Computer is fundamentally different from other computers.  That's a natural result, given the fundamentally different approach with which it was designed.

The mission of NeXT was to create the first computer of the 1990's.  A computer that would provide a solution for sophisticated needs today and a base for development well into the next decade.

To accomplish this goal, we worked closely with a number of people whose very business is laying the groundwork for the future: leaders in Higher Education.

They rank among the most demanding users of technology. In academia, computers are often networked by the thousands.  Given the diversity of disciplines, they are pushed to the limit on a daily basis, for complex simulations as well as more traditional uses.

Our collaboration with Higher Education provided the insight needed to visualize the seven breakthroughs that would ultimately define the NeXT Computer:

1.  A new architecture optimized for total system throughput, not just individual component benchmarks.

2. A pioneering technology for vast and reliable storage, opening the door for new ways to access and use information.

3. Built-in CD-quality sound, allowing sound to be integrated into applications that are used every day.

4. A unified imaging system - Display PostScript - for both the display and the printer. So what you see on the screen is unequivocally what you get on paper.

5. An intuitive interface that gives everyone access to UNIX, with all of its power for networking and multitasking.

6. A multimedia mail system that enables communication combining text, graphics, and voice.

7. A new development environment that dramatically cuts the time it takes to create and customize software.

These breakthroughs represent a new yardstick for measuring performance in the 90's.  Each is standard in the NeXT Computer System, as are all the features described in these pages.

This is quite important, because it is the standard configuration - common to all users - that serves as the prime target for software developers.  The NeXT Computer raises this "lowest common denominator" to an extraordinary level.  By doing so, it gives developers the freedom to include richer features and functionality than have ever been available in a general purpose computer.

The story of NeXT, though, is not one of technology achievement alone.  Of equal importance are the partnerships we have formed within the industry to ensure a depth of software and the accessibility of NeXT Computers nationwide.  As you will see, the efforts in these areas has been as intensive as the effort to create the technology itself.

This is your introduction to the NeXT Computer System.