The Legendary Apple II Turns 35 Years Old

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.

  • drwho1
    let rest in peace.
  • samuelspark
    Those beastly specs. :D
  • southernshark
    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.
  • christop
    I have one in my bedroom that still works..
  • spookyman
    What about the Apple IIe?
  • Onus
    I have some pretty fond memories of my Apple ]
  • f4phantom2500
    8 MG of RAM? O...MG!
  • memadmax
    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......
  • levin70
    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 :)
  • ta152h
    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.