Technology that is truly revolutionary often takes some getting used to.  But it soon becomes such an integral part of our lives, it's hard to imagine being without it.

Computer graphics are a good example.  Back when the primary tool was the typewriter, words and numbers alone met most users' needs quite nicely.  The very idea of graphics seemed needlessly extravagant.  Now, of course, graphic images in computers are taken for granted.  Anything less is archaic.

From NeXT's point of view, the use of sound has many parallels.  Since everyday applications have never really incorporated sound, it isn't considered a necessity by today's standards.  But as our use of computers becomes more sophisticated, its potential comes into sharper focus.

Without question, there will come a day when computers without sound seem hopelessly antiquated. The NeXT System brings that day significantly closer.

Built into the computer's basic design, alongside the central processing unit and the floating-point unit, is a third processor dedicated to the task of handling digital signals - one common example being sound. Digital signals, by their very nature, present themselves as horrifically large arrays of numbers, and the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) has the horsepower to process them with exceptional speed. The result is that it can produce sound with all the quality of a compact disc: a 44.1 kHz sampling rate, 16-bit resolution and full stereo.

To make the use of sound as convenient as possible, audio signals enter and exit the NeXT Computer at the MegaPixel Display. A microphone jack and speaker are both built in. In addition, the display has a jack for Walkman-type headphones and gold-plated stereo RCA jacks that allow for connecting to an independent audio system.

Because sound is integral to the system design, producing high quality sound with a NeXT Computer requires no expensive expansion cards or options.  The capability is there for everyone, so developers have the opportunity to feature sound in programs designed for everyday use.

Electronic mail, to cite one example, can now include voice messages.  This allows you to communicate not only with the perfect detail of an electronic document, but with the urgency and the enthusiasm of the human voice.

Voice annotation is one obvious use for sound, but it's only one in a wide range of uses.  NeXT technology makes it possible for applications to include any kind of sound a person can hear or imagine.

Scientific simulations can provide audio, as well as visual, feedback.  Businesses can us computers to train employees, with demonstrations that are both seen and heard.  Medical students can study anatomical models, hearing the sounds of the human heart and lunges as they would be heard through a stethoscope.

With remarkable realism, the sound chip built into the NeXT Computer can actually synthesize musical instruments from pure mathematics.

None of this would be possible if it weren't for the almost unfathomable speed with which the DSP chip processes complex digitized signals.  And it is this great power taht makes even more uses possible.

Within this single chip lies the technology required to achieve the functions of a fax machine or a modem.  Even more thought-provoking are the possibilities it creates in the area of speech recognition.  Today, there is fascinating work being done in business and education to tap the potential of the NeXT System's ability to process and respond to the human voice.

By building this powerful DSP chip into the NeXT Computer's basic architecture, NeXT is casting its vote clearly on the side of the future - with a technology that can be put to exceptional use today.

The Digital Signal Processor.  Of the three processors that reside on the NeXT system board, one is the Motorola DSP56001, an 88-pin CMOS Digital Signal Processing chip running at 10 MIPS.  Its principal strength is an ability to handle huge matrix calculations with extreme speed.  Because the chip itself is programmable, it can be customized for specific purposes: high-speed modems, image processing, two-dimensional graphics, voice recognition, speech synthesis and real-time laboratory testing and measurement.  At the core of the chip are three execution units - a data arithmetic logic unit, an address-generation unit and a program-control unit, all of which operate in parallel to provide maximum throughput.  The DSP's instruction set consists of 62 instructions, including math, logical, bit manipulation, loop and program-control instructions.  Due to the simultaneous operations of its three execution units, the DSP chip executes all instructions, including math instructions, in a single instruction cycle (two clock cycles).