Apple II

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple

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A lack of respect for the Apple II leads to Steve Wozniak's departure from the company he founded.
A lack of respect for the Apple II leads to Steve Wozniak's departure from the company he founded.
Photo: Anirudh Koul/Flickr CC

February 6: Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple February 6, 1985: Frustrated by Apple’s shifting priorities, co-founder Steve Wozniak leaves the company to pursue outside interests.

His departure — which comes the same year that Steve Jobs leaves Apple to form NeXT — represents yet another big change for the company. The move mostly stems from Woz’s dissatisfaction with how management treated the Apple II division. However, his desire to start a new company also plays a role.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac

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Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K in an original Mac ad.
Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K.
Photo: Apple

January 24: Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac January 24, 1984: Apple ships its first Mac, the mighty Macintosh 128K.

Bringing a mouse and graphical user interface to the masses, and heralded by an acclaimed Super Bowl commercial that’s still talked about today, the first-gen Mac will quickly become one of the most important personal computers ever released.

Today in Apple history: Apple II gets its first ‘killer app’

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An Apple II with a copy of
An Apple II with a copy of "killer app" VisiCalc, on display at the Museum of Science in Boston.
Photo: Jean-Edouard Babin/Flickr CC

January 2: Today in Apple history: With VisiCalc, the Apple II gets its first killer app January 2, 1979: Entrepreneurs Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston incorporate their company Software Arts to publish a little program called VisiCalc.

The first spreadsheet software for the Apple II, VisiCalc ultimately becomes personal computing’s first “killer app.” The software, which sells for $100, helps transform personal computers from “cool to have” toys into “must have” business accessories.

Today in Apple history: Woz spends Christmas building Apple II disk drive

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Disk II pic
The Disk II became a massive success for Apple.
Photo: Wikipedia CC

December 25 Today in Apple history December 25, 1977: Steve Wozniak spends the holidays building a prototype of the Disk II, the Apple II’s revolutionary floppy disk drive.

“I worked all day, all night, through Christmas and New Year’s trying to get it done,” Wozniak would later recall in his autobiography, iWoz. “[Early Apple employee] Randy Wiggington, who was actually attending Homestead High, the school Steve and I had graduated from, helped me a lot on that project.”

Wiggington takes December 25 off. Woz does not.

Today in Apple history: The first Apple II ships

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file photo of Apple II
Via Wikipedia, CC-licensed, thanks Rama
Photo: Rama

June 10 Today in Apple history: The first Apple II computer ships June 10, 1977: Apple Computer Inc. ships its first Apple II computer.

A hulking beige mammoth with 4KB of RAM (upgradeable to a whopping 48KB), the Apple II was the computer that defined Apple for a generation of fans. Retailing at $1,298, it cost the equivalent of a handful of MacBook Pros today  — even though it seemed a total bargain at the time.

Today in Apple history: The revolutionary Apple II goes on sale

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Apple II
Did you own an original Apple II?
Photo: Computer History Museum

June 5 Today in Apple history June 5, 1977: The first Apple II, the personal computer that will put Cupertino on the map, goes on sale.

Previously 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 $6,525 in 2023 money.

Today in Apple history: Apple II gets its first disk drive

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Disk II pic
The Disk II floppy drive was anything but a flop for Apple.
Photo: Wikipedia CC

June 1: Today in Apple history: Apple II gets a disk drive, the Disk II floppy drive June 1, 1978: Apple launches the Disk II floppy drive, one of the company’s most important peripherals ever.

The best floppy drive available at the time, Disk II solves the Apple II computer’s most glaring weakness — a lack of storage. It also helps establish Apple’s flair for handsome profit margins.

Today in Apple history: Apple II brings color computing to the masses

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Apple II
The Apple II was groundbreaking for its day.
Photo: Computer History Museum

April 17: Today in Apple history: Apple II debuts at West Coast Computer Faire with color graphics 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.

Today in Apple history: Microsoft’s first hardware debuts … on the Apple II

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SoftCard
The original ad for the Z80 SoftCard.
Photo: Microsoft

April 2: Today in Apple history: Microsoft Z80 SoftCard, the company's first hardware, debuts on Apple II April 2, 1980: Microsoft releases its first hardware product, the Z80 SoftCard. A microprocessor card that plugs into the Apple II, it allows the computer to run programs designed for the CP/M operating system, a popular OS for business software.

Coming several years before the first version of Windows, the Z80 SoftCard quickly becomes a big hit for Microsoft.

Today in Apple history: New card runs Apple II software on Macs

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Running Apple II programs on a Mac with an Apple IIe Card was pretty darn awesome.
Running Apple II programs on your Mac was pretty darn awesome.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

March 1: Today in Apple history: Apple IIe Card lets users run Apple II software on Macs 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 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.

Today in Apple history: Happy birthday, Steve Wozniak!

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Steve Wozniak wax sculpture fake eyes
Apple's merry prankster celebrates another spin around the sun.
Photo: Madame Tussauds

August 11: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is born August 11, 1950: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is born. While Steve Jobs may be the most admired Apple figure, Woz might be the most well-loved by fans.

In addition to his most famous creation, the Apple II, Wozniak is also responsible for imbuing Apple’s products with his fun-loving personality.

Happy birthday, Woz!

We’re not in Kansas anymore: Apple II fest gets geeky online (and you’re invited)

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KansasFest soldering 1
A past KansasFest during less socially distanced times.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

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.

It’s possible to tweet, email and even control smart devices using an Apple II

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Apple II tweet gmail 1
This is what working from home could have looked like in 1983.
Photo: @ReEstInv

The Apple IIe was introduced 37 years ago in 1983. But don’t think it’s not up to performing the latest productivity tasks, circa 2020. Well, kind of.

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.

Meet Jerry Manock, the father of Apple’s Industrial Design Group

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Apple’s first proper industrial designer, Jerry Manock crafted the look of the Macintosh and other memorable computers.
Apple’s first proper industrial designer, Jerry Manock crafted the look of the Macintosh and other memorable computers.
Photo courtesy Jerry Manock

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.

Publisher of longtime Apple II magazine passes away

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two Nibble magazine covers
Two Nibble covers, including the first edition, left.
Photo: Brian Wiser

Mike Harvey, well known to the Apple II community as the founder and publisher of Nibble magazine, passed away recently at his North Carolina home. He was 84.

His death was announced this morning by the Apple Puget Sound Program Library Exchange, an Apple user group that started in 1978.

Apple II screenshots required a whole lot of extra hardware

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Running Apple II programs on a Mac with an Apple IIe Card was pretty darn awesome.
Kids today don't know how lucky they are.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

Taking a full-screen screenshot on a modern Mac or iPhone is just a matter of tapping a couple of buttons. But things used to be a whole lot more challenging, as longstanding Apple employee Chris Espinosa recently shared on Twitter.

Kids (and “how to” article writers) today don’t know how good they’ve got it!

Contraband Apple II computers still power old Soviet museum

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entrance to the Lenin Museum
The Apple II has been a faithful comrade to the Lenin Museum.
Photo: mvstang/Flickr CC

The Soviet Union may have collapsed. But Vladimir Lenin, the country’s first leader, lives on, thanks to an audiovisual show still running on a small network of Apple II computers at a museum outside Moscow.

The Apple II is as revered by geeks as Lenin is by nostalgic Communists. Both proved revolutionary. And while the carefully edited story of Lenin might seem interesting to museum-goers, the unvarnished tale of the vintage Apple tech is more compelling.

Stunning Apple II Kickstarter case gives you a new look at a classic machine

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Apple II transparent case Kickstarter 1
What a gorgeous Apple II case.
Photo: MacEffects/Kickstarter

The Apple II may be more than 40 years old, but Apple’s first mass market personal computer still has plenty of fans. Now those fans can get hold of a brand new injection-molded case for the iconic Steve Wozniak-designed computer. All thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign.

Boasting a transparent design, the case will let you get a closer look at this legendary computer than ever!

Apple II’s original ‘Graphics Magician’ headlines KansasFest

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Mark Pelczarski
One of the most popular games published by Mark Pelczarski's company, Penguin Software
Screenshot: Penguin Software/YouTube

Mark Pelczarski’s first contribution to the personal computing revolution came in a zip-lock bag.

With no App Store in 1979, Pelczarski bagged disks and photo-copied instruction manuals for what was then one of the first digital paint programs for the Apple II.

Free Apple II papercraft makes a perfect Christmas tree ornament

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This free Apple II papercraft project will take you back to your Oregon Trail days.
This will take you back to your Oregon Trail days.
Photo: Rocky Bergen

Even amid the three-quarters of a million residents of Winnipeg, Canada, Rocky Bergen felt alone when it came to his love of vintage computers.

But thanks to his papercraft models of classic machines like the Apple II, Bergen has connected with folks in places as far away as Italy and Sweden.

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 history: Apple IIc Plus, the final Apple II model, arrives September 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.

Glitchy Apple II screens inspire this artist’s work

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Melissa Barron
A screen glitch, frustrating to most, is beautiful to weaver Melissa Barron.
Photo: Melissa Barron

The Apple II and the iconic game The Oregon Trail launched countless computer science careers – and are twin muses for weaver Melissa Barron.

The Chicago artist appreciates the similarities in a line of code and a strand of yarn as she brings analog texture to computer screens, especially the helter-skelter appearance of glitches.

How to collect vintage Macs and other computers for fun (and maybe profit)

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Once you start collecting computers, it's hard to stop!
Once you start collecting computers, it's hard to stop!
Photo: David Greelish

Some people only care about the latest technology. For others, collecting the significant computers of the past — whether it’s an iconic first-gen Macintosh or iPhone, or failures like Apple’s short-lived Pippin games console — is fun in its own right.

If you fall in to this second group, you’ll love these five computer collecting tips to get the most out of your hobby. They will help you turn your passion for vintage Macs into an eye-catching computer collection.

How an Apple II gave Stephen Hawking his voice

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Hawking
Technology helped Professor Hawking share his astonishing work with the world.
Photo: Pete Souza/Wikipedia CC

Earlier today, Tim Cook posted a tribute to the late professor Stephen Hawking, who passed away on March 14, aged 76. “We will always be inspired by his life and ideas. RIP,” Cook wrote.

As one of the world’s most visionary physicists and popular science writers, it’s no surprise to hear that Hawking inspired folks at Apple — just as he did people all around the planet.

But Apple and Hawking share an interesting connection: It was an Apple machine that first gave him the ability to verbally communicate using a computer.