Road Apples are Apple’s most compromised hardware designs. For the most part, they’re not completely bad – simply designs that couldn’t meet their potential. The first desktop Mac finished in an attractive black color, the Mac TV was pretty much a crippled LC 520 with a TV tuner instead of an expansion slot.
It was crippled because where the LC 520 can be expanded to 36 MB, Mac TV can only go from the stock 5 MB to 8 MB.
It does have 16-bit video for TV images – but the Mac OS can only use 8-bit video. On the plus side, you can capture a single frame of a 16-bit TV image to disk.
Although it uses a 32 MHz 68030 CPU, Mac TV benchmarks slower than the 25 MHz LC III and LC 520 because Apple runs the CPU on a 16 MHz bus, just as it did in the Performa 600 and Mac IIvx.
If you’re very tight for space, don’t need a lot of memory, and aren’t interested in a lot of speed, the beautiful black Mac TV is a really cool find, although it’s not much of a Mac.
But with no expansion slot, an 8 MB RAM ceiling, and poor performance, the gorgeous-but-crippled Mac TV earns the title of Road Apple – the oldest Mac with this designation.
Perhaps the best thing about Mac TV is that Apple only produced 10,000 units to test the waters, so not many were taken in by this inferior product.
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