Being a fan of the Apple II is a lonely hobby. While being an Apple lover in 2020 is more mainstream than ever, being an enthusiast for Apple’s first mass market computer — launched way back in 1977 — is significantly less common.
Unless it’s July 24-26, that is. Kicking off today, and running through the weekend, KansasFest is a conference dedicated to all things Apple II. And like every other conference this year, in 2020 it’s gone online only.
Twitter user @ReEstInv and Oliver Schmidt, a.k.a. @dangerfreak, recently showcased how it’s possible to get an Apple IIe to run modern, up-to-date apps like writing in Slack and Evernote, sending emails, or even controlling smart home gadgets.
So long as you’re not necessarily expecting the latest UI elements, that is.
June 5, 1977: The first Apple II, the personal computer that puts Apple on the map, goes on sale.
Having previously been shown off to a few thousand rabid fans at the West Coast Computer Faire, the Apple II’s arrival means the masses can finally get their hands on the breakthrough machine. A base unit costs $1,298 — the equivalent of $5,237 in 2017 money.
April 17, 1977: The Apple II debuts at the West Coast Computer Faire, positioning Apple at the forefront of the looming personal computer revolution.
The company’s first mass-market computer, the Apple II boasts an attractively machined case designed by Jerry Manock (who will later design the first Macintosh). It also packs a keyboard, BASIC compatibility and, most importantly, color graphics.
Fueled by some marketing savvy from Steve Jobs, the Apple II launch makes quite a splash at the San Francisco Bay Area’s first personal computer convention.
Jerry Manock is one of the great unsung heroes of Apple design. As the father of Apple’s Industrial Design Group, Manock made an indelible contribution to the company’s long line of hit products.
He may not be a household name like Jony Ive, but, starting with the Apple II, Manock played a massive role in making the company what it is today. In an exclusive interview with Cult of Mac, the 76-year-old industrial designer recounts many colorful stories about Cupertino’s past — including one that shows even Steve Jobs got nostalgic.
March 1, 1991: Apple introduces the Apple IIe Card, a $199 peripheral that lets users turn Macs into fully functioning Apple IIe computers.
The ability to emulate the popular Apple IIe computer on a Mac brings Apple’s two operating systems side by side for the first time. While not quite the equivalent of Apple letting you run iOS on a Mac today, it’s not a world away.
February 6, 1985: Frustrated by Apple’s shifting priorities, co-founder Steve Wozniak leaves the company to pursue outside interests.
His departure from Apple — which comes the same year that Steve Jobs leaves to form NeXT — represents a big change for the company. It is brought about by Woz’s dissatisfaction at how the Apple II division is treated, and his desire to start a new company.