Iconic Apple II Turns 35 Years Old

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News Posted: Tue, Apr 17 2012 10:33 AM
If the Apple II was made of flesh, blood, and bone, it would probably be out shopping a sports car today, one of the many rituals that seem to manifest when you reach middle age. The Apple II, you see, was introduced to the world 35 years ago at the West Coast Computer Faire. The 8-bit machine would go on sale to the general public less than two months later on June 5, 1977.

Widely considered Apple's first iconic product, long before the iPod, iPhone, and iPad ever came into sight, the Apple II was largely a Steve Wozniak creation. It kicked off the once popular Apple II line with a MOS Technology 6502 processor clocked at a whopping 1MHz, 4KB of RAM, and displayed 24 lines of 40 characters in low resolution color. In fact, it was one of the first computers to boast a color display. It also had a case and integrated keyboard, though it could also be purchased as a standalone board.

The Apple II sold for just shy of $1,300 ($1,298, to be precise) in 1977, while the standalone board sold for $598. Factoring in inflation, that works out to around $4,900 and $2,263, respectively, in 2012 currency

Can anyone remember using one of these?
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3vi1 replied on Tue, Apr 17 2012 5:44 PM

>> Can anyone remember using one of these?

Oh yeah. The first computers at my highschool were Apple-II-compatible Franklins. I used to really hate on those things because by the time my school got them I had saved up and bought the much-better C=64.

But, I have always respected Woz for the way he pushed the envelope - and this was his masterpiece.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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mlechman replied on Thu, Apr 19 2012 12:36 PM

Remember it? I've got one up and running in my office right now. It's even networked to a modern Mac laptop which allows me to transfer Apple II software found on the internet over to those old 5.25" floppy discs (back when a floppy really was floppy). Sure, you can emulate the Apple II hardware on any modern computer, but it's just not the same as sitting down in front of the real thing and playing that game that you repeatedly failed to beat back '82. Interestingly, there is a large community of users/collectors out there still developing software and hardware for the Apple II; recently, someone even created an mp3 expansion board for the it that plays digital music from a USB thumb drive! The Apple II is alive and well and, in fact, every year since 1989 there has been an Apple II convention held in Kansas City, Missouri appropriately (yet somewhat ambiguously) called KansasFest, where users of all ages can come together to peruse old hardware/software, learn about the machine's history and partake in various other Apple II-related events. Remember it? Hell, I live it! Apple II forever!!!

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