Today in Apple history: The final Apple II model arrives

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The Apple IIc Plus was the sixth and final model in the Apple II line.
The sixth and final model in the Apple II series of computers.
Photo: TanRu Nomad

September 15 Today in Apple historySeptember 15, 1988: Apple releases the Apple IIc Plus, the sixth and final model in the Apple II computer series. It’s a great machine, with impressive capabilities, but suffers from poor marketing and support.

With the Mac around, Cupertino simply doesn’t seem interested in the Apple computer anymore.

Apple IIc Plus specs

The IIc Plus was the fastest Apple II model, with a 65C02 processor and CPU speed of 4MHz — an astonishing four times faster than its predecessor. It was essentially a souped-up version of the 8-bit Apple IIc. It was less advanced (but still faster) than the higher-end, 16-bit Apple IIGS, which was also doing the rounds at the time.

The existence of an Apple IIc Plus was a response to the Laser 128EX/2, an Apple II clone developed by Chinese company VTech.

Bring back the 5.25-inch floppy drive

Controversially, the Apple IIc Plus ditched the Apple II’s classic 5.25-inch floppy drive for a built-in 3.5-inch unit. This offered close to six times the storage capacity of the larger floppy disks, while also loading significantly faster and offering button-activated motorized ejection. (It’s amazing how retro this all sounds today!)

Similar to last year’s furor over the iPhone 7 dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack, the IIc Plus release caused an uproar among Apple II owners. The majority of the software they bought came in the 5.25-inch floppy format. If they wanted to keep using the software, they needed to buy an external disk drive.

In terms of design, the Apple IIc Plus came in Apple’s light-gray platinum color, which made the keyboard and case appear almost as one product. Despite its spec improvements, the computer managed to be an impressive half-pound lighter than the IIc, weighing in at some 7 pounds.

Apple discontinued the model in November 1990, putting an end to the Apple II line more than a decade after its debut. The Apple IIc Plus was only available in the United States, which makes it slightly rarer to find overseas. It remains fondly remembered by many Apple fans.

Did you ever use an Apple II?

Did you own this particular Apple II model? Did you ever use the Apple II, or did you graduate straight to the Mac? Leave your comments below.

  • TJ

    I didn’t own this, but I did have the Laser 128. I never realize Vtech made that computer! Later I got the IIgs weeks before it was killed off by the Mac. I was pissed for 10 years. Thanks for this it was a great trip down memory lane!

  • mrhunter9

    The Apple IIc Plus was the last NEW Apple II. The Platinum Apple IIe was produced until November 1993.

  • Steven Weyhrich

    As mentioned by mrhunter9, the Apple II line did not come to an end until November 1993, and the Apple IIGS did not stop production until late in 1992, so the Apple II timeline runs from 1977 to 1993, 16 years on the market.