Apple LaserWriter

The original Apple LaserWriter was the 77 pound beastie that helped launch the desktop printing revolution in 1985, along with Aldus (later Adobe) PageMaker and the Fat Mac. Three things helped it make inroads: its 300 dot-per-inch resolution, the Postscript page description language (which Apple was the first to license), and the fact that the $7,000 printer – twice as much as the first HP LaserJet – could be networked via LocalTalk, allowing several Mac users to share it.

first Apple LaserWriter

Original LaserWriter

With its 12 MHz 68000 CPU, the LaserWriter was 50% more powerful than existing Macs, and with the 1.5 MB of memory necessary to download Postscript fonts and print a page at full 300 dpi resolution, it had three times as much memory as the top-end Mac.

In contrast to Apple’s beige computers, the LaserWriter was nearly white and used the Snow White design language, first used in the Apple IIc and later with the Mac SE and Mac II.

The LaserWriter was built around the same Canon LBP-CX engine that HP had introduced with its first LaserJet printer in 1984. With the LaserWriter and LaserJet using the same print engine, toner cartridges for them became a commodity item.

In January 1986, the LaserWriter was joined by the LaserWriter Plus, which had 22 additional fonts. The LaserWriter and LaserWriter Plus were replaced by the LaserWriter II family in January 1988.


  • Announced 1985.01.23, available 1985.03 at US$6,995; discontinued 1988.02.01
  • Model number: M0156
  • CPU: 12 MHz 68000 running at 11.16 MHz
  • ROM: 512 KB
  • RAM: 1.5 MB
  • Postscript Version: 1
  • Built-in fonts: Courier, Helvetica, and Times Roman, which came in regular, oblique/italic, bold, and bold oblique/italic, plus Symbol
  • Resolution: 300 dpi
  • Speed: 8 pages per minute
  • Engine: Canon LBP-CX
  • Interfaces: LocalTalk, RS-232
  • Languages: PostScript, Diablo 630
  • Accessory Port: none
  • SCSI drive support: no
  • Size (H/W/D): 11.5″ x 18.5″ x 16.5″
  • Weight: 77 lb.
  • Power Supply: 760W

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