Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

The Legendary Apple II Turns 35 Years Old

By - Source: Techland | B 31 comments

Apple's Apple II, widely considered to have been Apple's first significant product, is celebrating its 35th birthday today.

Apple originally launched the product at the West Coast Computer Faire on April 16, 1977, the computer was sold in various versions until 1993 with an estimated total production count landing somewhere between five and six million devices.

The Apple II was available for sale on June 5, 1977 and ran on a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor that was clocked at 1 MHz. For a suggested retail price of $1298, buyers also got 4 KB of RAM, a data-sette to store and load program code, NTSC composite video output that supported 40 columns by 24 lines of monochrome, upper-case-only as well as the Integer BASIC programming language. An estimated 40,000 Apple II units sold until its production end in 1981.

The run of the Apple II also included the IIc model, introduced in 1984, which was Apple's first portable computer. The fifth and most successful desktop iteration was the IIGS, which sold an estimated 1.25 million units. Introduced in 1986 for $1000, the IIGS had a 2.8 MHz processor, 8 MG of RAM as well as support for 4096 colors. The device also came standard with an Ensoniq ES5503 DOC wavetable sound chip.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    drwho1 , April 17, 2012 8:44 PM
    let rest in peace.
  • 14 Hide
    samuelspark , April 17, 2012 8:53 PM
    Those beastly specs. :D 
  • Display all 31 comments.
  • 8 Hide
    southernshark , April 17, 2012 9:05 PM
    People did a lot with those specs... all things considered. If programmers today had to work with those limitations, most of them would be all fail.
  • 4 Hide
    christop , April 17, 2012 9:05 PM
    I have one in my bedroom that still works..
  • 1 Hide
    spookyman , April 17, 2012 9:07 PM
    What about the Apple IIe?
  • 3 Hide
    Onus , April 17, 2012 9:09 PM
    I have some pretty fond memories of my Apple ][+, from programming it to running games like Wizardry on it. As the IBM PC and its clones took over, Apple lost more and more relevance to me. Turbo Pascal under MS-DOS was the shizznit.
  • 0 Hide
    f4phantom2500 , April 17, 2012 9:19 PM
    8 MG of RAM? O...MG!
  • -8 Hide
    memadmax , April 17, 2012 9:30 PM
    I remember stealing a 3.5inch floppy drive from a IIGS and trying to hook it up to my 386 puter...
    Lo and behold, it didnt work(at first, some massaging of the drive fixed that)
    This was the beginning of my long standing hatred for apple products......
  • 1 Hide
    levin70 , April 17, 2012 10:01 PM
    Fond memories when I came home from school and saw the Apple IIe on the kitchen table in December 1979. It was a blast to program and play games. Fond memories of playing wizardy and zork :) 
  • 3 Hide
    ta152h , April 17, 2012 10:10 PM
    Bad information, as usual, from Tom's. The Apple IIe was the most successful, by far, and not only was released before the IIGS, it was discontinued after the IIGS.

    Shakespeare was wrong about a name meaning nothing though. Apple, through their unfortunate choice of names, made an agreement with another Apple (think Beatles) so that despite the IIGS having hardware capable of stereo sound, it was mono due to their agreement. Sad, but true.

    In all fairness to Apple, it has always sucked balls. A lot of youngsters have jumped on the band wagon of hating Apple lately, and that's nice and all, but keep in mind they have always sucked. The Apple II was always an overpriced, underpowered piece of crap. It lasted a long time because it got entrenched in education, but even by 1981 or so was completely obsolete, and later iterations did not change that. On top of that, they were very expensive, a nightmare to program video on, and had the miserable 6502. Their slots were bizarre in that they were not like a PC where (theoretically) any card could go into any slot. Their video was such that in some modes the color choice depended on your location on the screen. The memory mapping for video was convoluted as Hell. And did I mention it was expensive? For this crap.

    To their even greater credit, they released the even more expensive, even more pathetic, Apple III. If you had problems with it, the solution from Apple technical support? Pick it up and drop it. I wish that were a lie. And it was obscenely expensive, and still had the remarkably poor 6502. Really, I'm not lying.
  • 2 Hide
    marraco , April 17, 2012 11:24 PM
    8 Mb of ram on 1986? Wrong data.
  • 2 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , April 17, 2012 11:47 PM
    Oregon Trail FTW!
  • 0 Hide
    lemlo , April 18, 2012 12:22 AM
    Yeah 8 meg of ram, I think that's wrong. 8 meg was big in the mid-early 90's.
  • 0 Hide
    bystander , April 18, 2012 12:38 AM
    1986 for $1000, the IIGS had a 2.8 MHz processor, 8 MG of RAM as well as support for 4096 colors.

    What is 8MG? At that time, I'm sure it couldn't have been 8MB, as we didn't see 8MB's until the mid 90's.
  • 2 Hide
    thety6on , April 18, 2012 1:30 AM
    Apple. Overpricing products since 1977.
  • 1 Hide
    darkavenger123 , April 18, 2012 1:39 AM
    IIGS had a 2.8 MHz processor, 8 MG of RAM as well as support for 4096 colors.

    What is MG?? 8 milligram of RAM?? LOL. Yeah, i remember the IIGS, my school computer club brought it in as tech demo to us. And emphasize on the wavetable chip to play real instruments :p 
  • 2 Hide
    jonathan_rg , April 18, 2012 1:48 AM
    bystanderWhat is 8MG? At that time, I'm sure it couldn't have been 8MB, as we didn't see 8MB's until the mid 90's.

    1.125 MB RAM built-in (256 KB in original) (expandable to 8.125 MB)
    256 KB ROM built-in (128 KB in original)"
  • -1 Hide
    belardo , April 18, 2012 2:31 AM
    While the IIgs was expandable to 8MB (if you add 8MB to 1MB, shouldnt that be 9MB?), I doubt anyone actually ever did.

    The IIgs was still an 8/16bit computer - it was a POS compared to the Amiga, Atari ST and of course MACs. Apple basicly add some16bit tech to 8bit hardware and sold it at the rip-off price of $1000, when the Amiga500 went for $700 MSRP.

    Even my 25Mhz Amiga3000 (1989 release) came with 5MB of RAM and never needed to add more memory. An 8bit IIgs ran fine with 1-2mb.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , April 18, 2012 2:42 AM
    Oh... the original AppleII are butt-ugly heavy boxes. At least the IIe had upper and lower case keyboard -which made the Apple II a usable computer.

    The IIgs, even tho its a POS 8/16bit system - looked rather cool. But really, $1000 for just a box? By the time you added 2 floppy drives and the monitor, you'd be up to $1500~1700.

    They sold upgrade kits for the IIe into the IIgs for $500+
  • 0 Hide
    darkavenger123 , April 18, 2012 2:57 AM
    lemloYeah 8 meg of ram, I think that's wrong. 8 meg was big in the mid-early 90's.

    thety6onApple. Overpricing products since 1977.

    Actually, it is support max 8MB memory...but definitely not MG....nobody sells RAM by milligram!!
Display more comments