1988: LaserWriter II, A/UX, CD-ROM, and Mac IIx

1988 was not a year of breakthroughs for Apple. It was a year of evolution.

Apple LaserWriter IIJanuary saw the introduction of the LaserWriter II family, a trio of printers sharing the same 300 dpi, 8 page per minute Canon engine but using different processor boards.

In February, Apple released its first version of Unix for the Macintosh, A/UX, which required a Mac II with a PMMU (Programmed Memory Management Unit), which is built into the 68030 CPU used in later Mac II series models, and a math coprocessor.

Apple CD SC CD-ROM driveThe first Apple CD-ROM drive, the external SCSI AppleCD SC, shipped in March, making Apple one of the earliest computer makers to embrace the emerging technology. Like many early CD-ROM drives, it used a caddy.

In August, a revised version of the Mac SE was introduced that supported high density 1.4 MB floppies.

The Mac IIx shipped in September, provided a few enhancements over the Mac II: the 68030 processor could handle virtual memory without a separate PMMU, and the high density floppy drives could handle 1.4 MB disks.

With the right software, these new floppy drives could read and write 3.5″ DOS disks, a feature we took for granted during the remainder of the floppy era.

The Mac operating system inched forward, evolving into System 6 by the end of the year.

The Competition

The Wintel world claimed 30,000,000 MS-DOS users, Microsoft released Windows 2, and the Morris Internet Worm, the first computer virus propagated over the Internet, infected 6,000 computers. For many, this was the first time they heard about the Internet.

Windows 2.0

NeXT Cube workstationNeXT shipped its first computer, the NeXT Cube, in October. Steve Jobs, always one to push the envelope, equipped it with a magneto-optical drive instead of a floppy drive or a hard drive and made a 17″ 4-shade grayscale monitor standard equipment. There wasn’t even an optional floppy drive.

Next – 1989: Mac SE/30, IIcx, IIci, and Portable

Keywords: #macse30 #maciicx #maciici #macportable

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