July 29, 1993: Apple releases the Macintosh Centris 660av, a computer packed with innovative audiovisual features. These include an AppleVision monitor with microphone and speakers, and a port that can work as a modem with a telecom adapter. It also comes with the first Apple software to recognize and synthesize speech.
At the relatively low price of $2,489, this was one of the first great affordable multimedia Macs.
What makes people start collecting vintage Macs? There are many reasons. Some folks want to play abandoned games or use old software on original hardware. Some simply don’t know how to transfer files, and thus keep their old machines as a giant backup, just in case.
I collect old Macs because I care deeply about history. I want to have an informed perspective on the past so I can better understand trends of user-interface design and the evolution of technology.
My first vintage computer was a Macintosh Classic I bought on eBay for about $80. After lifting it out of its shipping box, I reached around the back to flip on the power switch and watch it boot. I loved hearing the whir of the hard drive, the fans humming and the delightful blip!-blip!-blip! noise the disk drive made when reading a floppy.
Apple computers are highly collectible. They span the entire history of personal computing. The company’s unwavering design philosophy, always pushing ease of use, means even the oldest and weirdest Apple computers are never hard to figure out. The historical lineup spans all different kinds of form factors and designs. Not to mention, they look rad.
So, you want to collect old Apple computers, too? Where do you start, and what do you want? Here’s a quick guide to buying classic Macs. These tips should get you started and help you avoid common pitfalls. (If you want to go even deeper, we also provide some links to further reading on the subject.)
Using a 1984-era Macintosh 128K and various retro tools, Pinot W. Ichwandardi painstakingly crafted a beautiful pixel art drawing of one of New York City’s most stunning skyscrapers.
Ichwandardi created his stunning image of the Flatiron Building one pixel at a time, a process he calls “pixel knitting” due to its time-intensive nature. But the incredibly detailed artwork isn’t even the point.
“The most rewarding thing from it is the process,” the 50-year-old designer told Cult of Mac.
Luke Miani isn’t afraid to take a header when it comes to buying used Macs on eBay. He’ll scoop up piles of Apple laptops in various states of disrepair, then swap out parts or fix them up as needed. His ultimate goal? Scoring a sweet deal — and dishing out some serious knowledge.
Miani dutifully documents his eBay adventures, then shares the fruits of his labor with a growing audience on YouTube. We talked with Miani about his operation, and you can get the scoop in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Also inside: All the latest Apple news, plus helpful how-tos for iPhone, iPad and AirPods Pro owners.
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.
Spoiler: It was pretty easy, although it required some simple home surgery from time to time. The only sad part is that the current lineup of iMacs almost certainly won’t last as long, at least not without professional attention.
You could safely assume that computer hackers and people who knit have little to talk about. One activity is clearly analog and seemingly old-fashioned while the other pre-occupies the mind of a tech geek.
Fabienne Serriere blows up that assumption by being both. She combines the two rather different activities to make eye-catching scarves imprinted with Mac ROM code.