What Software Came Bundled with the Earliest Macs?

If you were around when the Macintosh was released, you were probably intrigued by it – and maybe even a little skeptical. I mean, computers were machines that you lay flat on a desk, take up a lot of space, and cost a lot of money. How in the world could a computer fit into a package that was only 13.6″ tall, 9.6″ wide, 10.9″ deep, and weighed 16.5 pounds?

Also, you may have been skeptical because the amount of software for the Mac was very small compared to IBM machines.

In order to let people use their new Macintosh right away, Apple included a word processing program (MacWrite) and a painting and graphics program (MacPaint) with the computer.

This article provides information about each of the software bundles that was released for the Mac 128K, Mac 512K, Mac 512Ke, and Mac Plus.

The Beginning

Original Macintosh

Since the Mac OS was still in its infancy, there were many different versions of the software bundles included with these early Macs. I guess the reason that Apple kept updating their software bundles was in order to provide the user with the best possible Mac experience.

The very first Macintosh that came with System 1.0 and Finder 1.0 and shipped with MacWrite 1.0 and MacPaint 1.0. The system version that was included on the System and Program disks was actually Version .97 14-Jan-84. (This info was hidden from the user and was used for internal reference only.)

In May 1984, Apple shipped the Macintosh with System 1.1 and Finder 1.1g. It also came with MacWrite 2.2 and MacPaint 1.3.

The Fat Mac

In September 1984, Apple released the Macintosh 512K. It also shipped with System 1.1, Finder 1.1g, and MacWrite 2.2. MacPaint was updated to version 1.4.

Apple updated the software package again in June 1985. It now included System 2.0 and Finder 4.1. MacWrite 4.5 and MacPaint 1.5 were also included.

Finder 5.x

The Macintosh Plus was released in January 1986 and featured a whopping 1 MB of RAM. System 3.0 and Finder 5.1 were included on the system disks, but sadly free copies of MacWrite and MacPaint were not included with a new Mac Plus

The Macintosh 512Ke was released in March 1986 and also came with System 3.0 and Finder 5.1. Like the Mac Plus, it lacked MacWrite and MacPaint.

In June 1986, the System Tools disk for the Mac Plus and Mac 512Ke was updated for System 3.2 and Finder 5.3.

The software bundle was updated for System 4.0 and Finder 5.4 in January 1987, and it was updated again for System 4.1 and Finder 5.5 in April 1987. There was yet another update for System 5.0 in October 1987.

System 6

To the great delight of many Mac users, System 6.0 was released in April 1988. This marked a new naming scheme where the System and Finder shared the same version number.

System 6 marked the last update to the Mac Plus’s software bundle. This was the only Mac Plus bundle to include HyperCard.

Because of Apple’s concern for providing the Mac user with the best experience, Apple quickly became acclaimed as one of the best computer companies.


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