Today in Apple history: Mac LC 520 sets its sights on the classroom


LC 520
The Macintosh LC 520 became the face of classroom Macs three decades ago.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

June 28: Today in Apple history: Mac LC 520 sets its sights on the classroom June 28, 1993: Apple ships the Macintosh LC 520, an “all-in-one” Mac targeted primarily at the education market.

The first Macintosh ever shipped with a non-optional 2x CD-ROM drive, it is designed to capitalize on schools’ growing multimedia requirements.

Macintosh LC 520 launch

The LC 520 boasted the same basic design as the Mac LC III, which launched in February 1993. This included a 25 MHz 68030 CPU, 5MB of RAM, an 80MB or 160MB hard drive, a floppy drive and a 14-inch Sony Trinitron monitor with stereo speakers. It also included a built-in microphone, a relative rarity in the early 1990s.

Prices started at $1,799 ($3,786 in today’s money), which made it $300 more expensive than the LC III.

In keeping with Apple’s expandable philosophy for Macs of that era, the LC 520 could be upgraded in a couple of ways. A memory upgrade socket let users boost RAM to a whopping 36MB. Another slot allowed processor upgrades.

The first Mac specifically for schools

Apple talked up the LC 520 as the first in a series of computers aimed at specific market segments.

The company had been popular among schools for a long time. (Critics accused Apple CEO Steve Jobs of abandoning this market when he returned to Apple a few years later, before embracing it with the so-called eMac).

Still, to the best of my knowledge, the LC 520 was the first Macintosh built specifically for the education market. (It found its way into workplaces as well.)

Apple released a different version of the computer in limited markets later in 1993 under the name Performa 520.

Do you remember this Mac? Leave your comments below.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.