- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2005

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Jef Raskin, a computer-interface specialist who conceived Apple Computer’s groundbreaking Macintosh computer but left the company before it came to market, died Feb. 26, his family said. He was 61.

In December, he told friends he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Raskin joined Apple in 1978 — as its 31st employee — to start the young company’s publications department. At the time, computers were primarily text-based and users had to remember a series of arcane commands to perform the simplest tasks.

In 1979, Mr. Raskin had a different idea: a computer that is affordable, targeted at consumers and extremely easy to use. A small team was put together at Apple to pursue his concept, which eventually became the Macintosh.

Mr. Raskin led the project until the summer of 1981, when he had a falling out with Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder. He left the company entirely the following year.

After leaving Apple, Mr. Raskin founded another computer company, Information Appliance, and designed another computer that incorporated his ideas.

While best-known in the computer industry, Mr. Raskin also conducted the San Francisco Chamber Opera Society and played three instruments. His artwork was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He also received a patent for airplane-wing construction.

He was an accomplished archer, target shooter and occasional race-car driver, friends said.

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