Introduced in January 1984, Apple’s Macintosh changed everything – but the world of personal computing was nearly a decade old, and Apple was already successful with its Apple II line. These articles look at Apple before the advent of the Mac, as well as the broader world of personal computing.
Prior to the September 1986 introduction of the Apple IIGS, every Apple II computer ran an 8-bit 1 MHz 6502 processor, used 5-1/4″ floppy disks, had a very limited color palette, and sound was nothing to write home about. The Apple IIGS changed all of that.
The Apple II family was known for its expansion options – eight slots for adding capabilities. Inevitably one held a floppy controller, typically one held a parallel printer card, and another might have a serial card for a modem or printer. Some bought Microsoft’s Z-80 SoftCard to run CP/M. But for most users, most slots remained empty.
The Apple II and II Plus had been a runaway success for Apple, establishing it in the home, the school, and, thanks to VisiCalc, the workplace. Even though that was true, these models had some shortcomings that were addressed when the Apple IIe was introduced in January 1983.
Although the Apple 1, introduced in April 1976, had been a big success among the hobbyist crowd, people who didn’t mind assembling their own computer and designing a case for it, it was not part of the ready-to-go personal computer revolution of the late 1970s. That’s where the Apple II comes in.
Apple has a very impressive track record. It is the only personal computer company to have survived from the early days of 8-bit computing while once mighty Commodore, Radio Shack, and Atari no longer exist or long ago stopped making personal computers.
The first computer worthy of the name “computer” was produced more than 60 years ago. It was a monstrous machine, covering more than 136 square meters and used 18,000 vacuum tubes (the predecessors to the transistor). It was capable of computing the sum of 5,000 numbers ten digits in length per second. It’s name was ENIAC, […]
In 1992, Apple decided that the education and design markets weren’t enough – it wanted to target mass market consumers. Rather than develop new computers for this market, Apple created a new brand and renamed three existing Macs as Performas.
I recently installed every version of Apple’s operating system that is compatible with the 1999 Blue & White G3 Power Mac – 11 major Mac operating systems: 8.5, 8.6, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, and Mac OS X Server 1.2.
As documented by Charlie Springer on his web page, the Macintosh SE in a clear plastic casing is a very rare find. Only a small number (reportedly 20) of the transparent cases were made from the SE case molds before they were textured – and only 10 of these were built into working computers.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, computing made a great leap forward with the advent of 16-bit microcomputers like the Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, and Atari ST. The Apple II, introduced in 1978, was a phenomenally successful platform, eventually coming to possess a 20% share of the personal computer market in the US. But by […]
As a computer manufacturer, Apple gets a strangely distorted press. Its position as the only serious commercial competitor to Microsoft guarantees that every move the company makes is documented – and often distorted.
The Apple III was meant to be Apple’s bold entry into the business market; it ended as Apple’s first commercial failure and put the company into financial uncertainty. It was also responsible for sprouting both the Lisa and Macintosh projects, efforts that would save Apple.
Realizing that the Apple II would not sustain Apple forever, the Sara project began. The main idea of Sara was to create a more powerful and capable Apple II. It would include 128 KB of RAM, an integrated floppy drive, and a high resolution display – 80 columns wide instead of the Apple II’s 40.
If you think the original Macintosh was an impressive piece of design and engineering, you may find Apple’s Lisa even more innovative.
For most Mac users, Apple’s Lisa isn’t even a footnote in Mac history. The $10,000 computer is rarely remembered as the Mac’s mother – and those who do remember it also tend to recall how Apple dumped thousands upon thousands of unsold Lisas in a Utah landfill when the computer was discontinued.
I ran across images of some Apple prototypes created during the early years of Macintosh design – things like a cube-shaped Mac, a MacBook notebook, and a table-like device among them.
2014 – If you were on the Mac Web in July 2007, you probably saw Fudder’s article, The Very First iPhone – or at least stories about the article or links to it. The mock-up (below) was created by Frog Design, built by Hertmut Esslinger, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the Apple IIc.
Apple made the biggest change in Macintosh history with the introduction of the Macintosh II and SE in 1987.
With the Motorola 680×0 architecture running out of steam and Motorola’s 88000 making haste slowly, Apple had to look a bit further afield for its next processor architecture. Here’s how IBM’s RISC project became the heart of the Mac.
John Sculley, who had once been hailed as Apple’s savior for huge sales increases and good PR (like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Steve Jobs rolled in one) had presided over the splintering of the product line and a sharp decline in market share. The same trends continued after Sculley was forced out, and the […]
2005.11.15 From the day of his appointment as Apple CEO in February 1996, Gil Amelio presided over an ailing company. After the near-disastrous reign of Michael Spindler, Amelio promised to change the corporate ethos of Apple.
HyperCard changed the way people on the Macintosh platform created programs. Furthermore, it changed the way they worked -and, for some, the way they learned.
We all know about the early IBM PC clones, such as Compaqs and Dells. And some of us know about the Macintosh clones. But there were clones before the IBM PC existed – Apple II clones!
eWorld was Apple’s short-lived group of online services. Launched in June 1994, eWorld was an intuitive, easy-to-use, and heavily GUI-dependent new way to take advantage of the Internet. It included its own email service, bulletin board system (BBS), and more.
Apple Corps was founded as a tax haven for the Beatles’ considerable cash reserves in January 1968. Apple Corps would finance a record label and other pet projects of the band members while also providing a “front” for their financial activities to reduce personal liability and taxes.
Apple had transformed from a small three man venture in the late 1970s into a huge, multinational corporation in the late 1980s. With these changes came troubles.
The first Apple proposal to move the Macintosh to Intel hardware did not begin with Mac OS X. It began in 1985, shortly after Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple. The project was quickly nixed by Apple’s management, but it would be revived several years later in a joint effort by Novell and Apple to port the […]
On January 24, 1984, Apple announced the Macintosh to its Board of Directors and to the world – and the computer world has never been the same.
Over the summer of 1997, Apple brought the era of authorized Macintosh clones to an end to keep Apple solvent.*