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The LaserWriter was a laser printer with built-in PostScript interpreter introduced by Apple in 1985. It was one of the first laser printers available to the mass market. In combination with WYSIWYG publishing software like PageMaker, that operated on top of the graphical user interface of Macintosh computers, the LaserWriter was a key component at the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution.[1][2]



The LaserWriter was announced at Apple's annual shareholder meeting on January 23, 1985,[3] the same day Aldus announced PageMaker.[4] Shipments began in March[5] 1985 and the printer retailed for US$ 6,995.

The LaserWriter was the fourth laser printer on the market and the first for the Macintosh.[6] It was an integral part of the newly announced Macintosh Office.[7] The printer had a resolution of 300 dpi and a printing speed of 8 ppm, and its raster image processor implemented Adobe PostScript interpreter, a feature that would ultimately transform the landscape of computer desktop publishing.[8]

Unlike HP's PCL and other early printer control languages, PostScript is a complete interpreted page description language. PostScript describes fonts in outline form, which allows arbitrary size, rotation, and position. PostScript handles bitmap graphics and vector graphics equally well, allowing any mixture of fonts, bitmaps, and drawing primitives on a single page (limited by the PostScript interpreter’s available RAM). While competing printer control languages offered some of these capabilities, they were limited in their ability to reproduce free-form layouts (as a desktop publishing application might produce). Negotiations between Apple and Adobe over the use of Postscript began in 1983 and an agreement was reached in December 1983, one month before Macintosh was announced.[8]

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