vintage Apple computers

Today in Apple history: Rare Apple-1 sells for crazy money

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The Apple-1 sold for what was then the largest amount a personal computer ever earned at auction.
The Apple-1 sold for what was then the largest amount a personal computer had sold for at auction.
Photo: Christie's

November 23: Today in Apple history: Rare Apple-1 computer sells for $210,000 at auction November 23, 2010: An early Apple-1 computer, complete with its original packaging and a letter signed by Steve Jobs, sells for $210,000.

At the time, it ranks as the most expensive personal computer ever sold at auction. That makes sense, because it’s an incredibly rare find. The working Apple-1 is thought to be one of only approximately 50 still in existence.

Run every version of Classic Mac OS in your browser

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Infinite Mac running Macintosh System 1.0 in Safari on macOS Ventura
Experience 1984 from the comfort of 2023.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You don’t need to buy an old Macintosh to experience classic Mac OS anymore. In fact, you don’t even need to fiddle around installing an emulator and downloading ROMs. Thanks to a new project, you can boot up every major release of Mac OS from the 1980s and ’90s right in your web browser.

With more than 25 Apple computers and devices in my collection, I’m something of a vintage Mac collector. It’s an expensive hobby that few can indulge in, but the Infinite Mac website lets you experience one of the joys of collecting vintage gear: Taking ancient software for a spin on a vintage Mac.

Today in Apple history: Macintosh LC II is the Mac mini of its day

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The Macintosh LC II was more powerful and cheaper than its predecessor.
The Macintosh LC II was more powerful and cheaper than its predecessor.
Photo: Jonathan Zufi

March 23: Today in Apple history: Macintosh LC II launch March 23, 1992: The “headless” Macintosh LC II arrives, wooing value-oriented customers with a beguiling mix of updated internals and budget pricing.

Designed to take up minimal space underneath a monitor (sold separately), the Mac LC II is destined to become a hit. In retrospect, the entry-level machine is roughly analogous to today’s Mac mini.

What to check before you power on an old Macintosh

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An unexpected find in this room was a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.
Hold up, you don’t want to ruin a rare Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh — take some precautions first.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

When you pick up a classic Macintosh (or a vintage computer of any kind) that hasn’t been used in a while, you need to check it out before plugging it in and turning it on. Capacitors on old motherboards fail and leak over time; you DO NOT want to run power to a computer if this has happened; you could easily fry the motherboard.

Collecting old computers is a lot of fun. You can use old versions of Mac OS in emulators online, but it’s nothing compared to the experience of setting up a heavy machine on your desk, hearing the fans and disk drives whir to life and watching a fuzzy CRT display fade in from black. If you’re new to this (rather expensive) hobby, you can also check out my earlier piece on how to get started — what to look for, what to watch out for and where to shop.

So, you are the new custodian of a classic computer. What should you do before you power it on for the first time?

This once-popular MacBook is about to officially hit the scrap heap

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IMG_0005
This was the top-of-the MacBook Pro in its day. But that day was 8 years ago. Now it’s about to be officially labeled obsolete.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The 15-inch MacBook Pro released in 2012 broke new ground, as it was the first Mac to get a Retina display. But it’s now been discontinued for many years, and is reportedly about to be classified as obsolete.

Anyone still holding onto this classic laptop needs to know what this classification means.

Today in Apple history: Macintosh LC 580 is ready for school

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The Macintosh LC 580 blew away PCs when it came to multimedia performance.
The Macintosh LC 580 blew away PCs when it came to multimedia.
Photo: The Apple Guy/YouTube

April 3: Today in Apple history: Macintosh LC 580 launches and quickly becomes popular in schools April 3, 1995: Apple introduces the Macintosh LC 580, an affordable computer offering good multimedia capabilities on a budget.

It quickly proves popular in the educational market. If you used a Mac in the classroom in the mid-1990s, there’s a good chance it was this very model!

These MacBooks will hit Apple’s dreaded ‘vintage and obsolete’ list soon

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The new MacBook Air has more graphics power than it appears at first. Photo: Apple
Remember the 11-inch MacBook Air? Probably not.
Photo: Apple

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models that launched in 2013 and 2014 will reportedly be placed on Apple’s list of “vintage and obsolete products” at the end of April.

Despite what the name implies, this doesn’t mean these devices just became useless. Instead, it’s going to be harder to get them serviced.

Late collector’s vintage Macs find a new home at Montana museum

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Adam Rosen's Vintage Mac Museum
The Vintage Mac Museum heads west to Montana
Photo: Adam Rosen

Apple museums have popped up all over the world, but none with the quirky love that filled the rooms of Adam Rosen’s Massachusetts home. He passed away in August and grieving family and friends vowed to find a new place to plug in his self-made Vintage Mac Museum.

Rosen’s father, Robert, told Cult of Mac the family has donated his son’s collection of more than 100 working machines to the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

Computer festival boasts world’s largest gathering of rare Apple 1s

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Apple-1
Would you believe 10 of these will be in one place?
Photo: Auction Team Breker

You would have to ride in a time machine back to 1976 and that garage on Crist Drive in Los Altos, Calif., to find 10 Apple 1 computers in the same space.

But this weekend, 10 or more will be displayed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., for the annual Vintage Computer Festival West.

About half the machines will be working.

How a broken Apple Lisa was transformed into a powerful computer

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restored Apple Lisa with clear plastic housing
Saying John McLearan restored this Apple Lisa 2/10 is an understatement.
Photo: John McLearan

The Apple Lisa computer was a colossal failure. It was also the most important machine in personal computing history.

You can try to argue that last claim with John McLearan. He believes it. And he offers his restored Lisa 2/10 — loaded with modifications to make it a 21st-century workhorse — as proof that the computer’s reputation needs a considerable upgrade.

Original Apple-1 manual goes up for auction for $10,000

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A page from the original Apple-1 documentation.
A page from the original Apple-1 documentation.
Photo: RR Auction

Unless you’re Scrooge McDuck, an international arms dealer or some other wealthy individual, chances are that you won’t be able to afford an Apple-1 at auction anytime soon.

But don’t give up hope of owning a piece of Apple’s first computer. An extremely rare original Apple-1 manual (remember when computers came with those?) has just come up for sale. And it’s only expected to cost $10,000!

Watch a rare Apple I power up like it’s 1976

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This is one of six Apple I computers in the world that actually work.
This is one of six Apple I computers in the world that actually work.
Photo: Victoria & Albert Museum/YouTube

Take a good look at that slim iPhone 7 in your hand, or the powerful MacBook Pro balanced on your knees. Then imagine the very first circuit board that flipped the switch to power a revolution that put those devices in your possession.

A video recently posted to YouTube by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London shows a working Apple I computer, one of only six known in the world today.

This guy makes badly aged Apple computers sparkle again

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retrobrite
Javier Rivera takes the yellow out of vintage computers at KansasFest.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugCult of Mac’s David Pierini is at KansasFest this week to write about the community of people who celebrate the foundational Apple II computer.

KANSAS CITY, Mo – Love is a chemical reaction and Javier Rivera has the formula to make love feel brand-new. He just mixes salon-strength peroxide, some arrowroot and OxiClean laundry booster.

At KansasFest, an annual gathering of loyal Apple II lovers, festgoers bring their yellowed computers to Rivera, whose special mix can remove the yellow staining on the computer’s plastic pieces and make them look like they just came off the assembly line.

Vintage-computer fest celebrates 40 years since our first bite of Apple

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The colorful era of the first iMacs on display in an Apple Pop-up exhibit at the Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Ga.
Colorful early iMacs are among the technological wonders on display in the Apple Pop Up exhibit at the Computer Museum of America.
Photo: Computer Museum of America

Phil Schiller says Apple is too busy “inventing the future” to “celebrate the past” by building a museum.

So if you are in search of history on the 40th anniversary of Apple’s founding, you might want to travel to Georgia. There, a guy named Lonnie Mimms has taken over an old CompUSA building and meticulously crafted a tangible timeline that would make Apple’s futurists — perhaps even Schiller — pause with nostalgia and pride.

Buy it now? Rare original Apple-1 shows up on eBay

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Photo:
Yep, this could belong to you. Photo: eBay/auctioncause2

If you think an Apple Watch Edition is rare, you should try getting your hands on an Apple-1 computer.

Only 63 are known to exist, but you can nab one now — provided you cough up the necessary cash. A working Apple-1, owned by its original purchaser and his family for more than 36 years, has appeared on eBay and is currently carrying a bid of $20,600.