Apple's Lisa computer introduced many of the desktop UI conventions we're still working with decades later, but as a single-user machine with an inflation-adjusted $30,000 price tag, it was doomed to colleges and the fanciest graphic design shops. At Ars Technica, Jeremy Reimer reviews a computer that was forgotten within years but which deserves to be more widely remembered.
The main criticism of the Lisa, other than its price, was that the system was too slow. I did not find this to be the case—the overall speed was only slightly slower than the original Mac. Applications took longer to start up on the Lisa, but these applications also had more features. In any case, the speed differences would have gone away as CPUs became faster and compilers improved. While some features of the Lisa's interface, like clicking on a "paper" icon instead of an application to open a new document, were confusing, the computer set the standard for how GUIs would work for decades to come. The concept of menu bars and pull-down menus, double-clicking, the smart redrawing of overlapping windows, and even the idea of copy and paste was invented at Apple and first shipped in the Lisa.