Reproof on the Canon Cat

The Canon Cat was desktop PC created by Canon in 1987. It retailed at $1,495 (USD) and packed a punch for what appeared to be a regular word processor. Reproof reviewed its very short and troubled history:

Steve Jobs “would have made an excellent King of France,” opined Raskin to Time Magazine, frustrated by Jobs’ dictatorial rule and his insistence on a new direction for the Macintosh. The two men wanted to create something great, but they each defined greatness differently.

Raskin decamped to Canon and built his ideas into the Canon Cat, complete with a built-in keyboard so the only thing to connect was the power cord. And, true to his vision, it was built around an all-in-one writing app—an early Notion or Coda or OneNote, of sorts—with documents and tables and computation in one continuously expanding file. You’d tap a key and start writing where you left off, even if you were writing something new. You could always search and find the stuff you wrote yesterday, later. “The Cat represents an eye-opening new approach to data storage and retrieval; it will surprise anyone who thought that interface design was a dying art,” wrote Ezra Shapiro in a BYTE magazine review.

And it bombed.

The Canon Cat was released and discontinued in the same year after only 10k sales in its first month. Interestingly, you can emulate its software via MAME on and for more info on the PC, check out the resources below.

Resources on Canon Cat

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