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Apple 1

Apple 1

The story of the development of the Apple I is well known and has become a “legend”.

Steve Wozniak, who was working for Hewlett-Packard at the time, wanted to build his own computer. He couldn’t afford the Intel 8080 CPU, which was very popular, as it was used in the Altair 8800 and IMSAI 8080, but was very expensive. He would have used the Motorola 6800 but it was also much too expensive. Finally he decided to build his computer around the MOS 6502 CPU, which was pretty compatible with the Motorola 6800.

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Apple II

Apple II

Apple II was the successor to the Apple 1, on which it was largely based. It was the very first commercial success of the Apple Computer Company. Because Steve Wozniak wanted to demonstrate his Breakout game with the new Apple II, he decided to add color, sound and minimum paddle support to the Apple 1 heir.

Apple II came with 4 KB RAM, but it was possible to add 4 KB or 16 KB RAM chips. Thus, the system could have memory in the following sizes: 4K, 8K, 12K,16K, 20K, 24K, 32K, 36K, or a full 48K. This was one of the strong points of the Apple II: from the beginning, it was designed with expansion in mind. The 8 expansion slots were further proof of that – users could expand their system easily, just by plugging cards into the slots.

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Apple II Plus

Apple II Plus

The Apple II+ was the successor of the Apple II.

It was fully compatible with the Apple II, however, has some new features: a new ROM containing the AppleSoft Basic (floating point version written by Microsoft), a new auto-start (store in ROM) for easier start-up and screen editing, 48 KB RAM, text modes were the same as the
Apple II, but the graphic modes were enhanced. They’re the same as the Apple 2e: 16 colors with low resolution and 6 colors with high resolution. In fact the 6-color mode was also available on the Apple II since the revision 1 of the motherboard.

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Apple IIc

Apple IIc

The Apple IIc was released on April 24, 1984, during an Apple-held event called Apple II Forever. With that motto, Apple proclaimed the new machine was proof of the company’s long-term commitment to the Apple II series and its users, despite the recent introduction of the Macintosh. The IIc was also seen as the company’s response to the new IBM PC, and Apple hoped to sell 400,000 by the end of 1984. While essentially an Apple IIe computer in a smaller case, it was not a successor, but rather a portable version to complement it. One Apple II machine would be sold for users who required the expandability of slots, and another for those wanting the simplicity of a plug and play machine with portability in mind.

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Apple IIe

Apple IIe

After having sold more than 750,000 Apple II and II+ systems, making it one of the best-selling brands in the global computing market, Apple released an updated version of the II+ – the Apple IIe (‘e’ standing for enhanced). It also was a great success and was widely used in schools and was still used in 2000 in some places!

While retaining the previous model’s capabilities and software library, the enhanced version featured a revised logic board, keyboard and casing design. Since its launch back in 1977, the Apple had been revised 13 times, but not so drastically as this model. The IIe used only 1/4 as many integrated circuits as the II+. Its keyboard featured 4 cursor keys and a lockable lid.

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Apple IIe Platinum

Apple IIe Platinum

This was the last version of the Apple II series that was first released in April 1977 and finally discontinued in mid 1993, making it the only home computer in production for more than 15 years.

The major difference from the previous Apple IIe version is that the keyboard had been redesigned to be functionally equivalent to the keyboard of the Apple IIGS. The new keyboard incorporated an 18-key numeric keypad including two programmable function keys and cursor control keys.

The Platinum also had a new light grey-coloured case, a new motherboard design with a reduced chip count, and included a revised owner’s manual, a guide to AppleSoft BASIC and two double-sided training disks.

Finally, the IIe was shipped with the Apple 64 KB / 80-column upgrade card already installed.

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Apple IIGS

Apple IIGS

The IIGS was the first Apple computer system to utilise the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB). The ABD is a low-speed bi-directional serial bus that connects input devices, such as keyboards, mouse devices, and graphics tablets to the IIGS. It was later incorporated into the Macintosh line of computers, from the Macintosh II and up. ADB was eventually phased-out in favor of the more standardised USB (Universal Serial Bus) in the late 90’s.

As the Apple with the best color graphics, the IIGS also has the best sound. It utilises an Ensoniq sound chip, which has an entire 64K of RAM dedicated to it and is capable of playing 15 simultaneous sounds.

The IIGS has a GUI (Graphic User Interface) in 16 colors (up to 4096 colors in special graphics modes), a slow but powerful 16 bit CPU, great sound, and was loved by Apple fans everywhere. Sounds like a success – but by this time Apple was spending all its time and effort marketing the Macintosh line of computers, and the IIGS died a slow and uneventful death.

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