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The Apple II (stylized as ) is an
8-bit In computer architecture, 8-bit Integer (computer science), integers or other Data (computing), data units are those that are 8 bits wide (1 octet (computing), octet). Also, 8-bit central processing unit (CPU) and arithmetic logic unit (ALU) arc ...
home computer
home computer
and one of the world's first highly successful mass-produced
microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer having a central processing unit (CPU) made out of a microprocessor. The computer also includes Computer memory, memory and input/output (I/O) circuitry together mounted on a printed ...
products. It was designed primarily by
Steve Wozniak Stephen Gary Wozniak (; born August 11, 1950), also known by his nickname "Woz", is an American electronics engineer, computer programmer, philanthropist, inventor, and entrepreneur, technology entrepreneur. In 1976, with business partner Steve ...

Steve Wozniak
; Jerry Manock developed the design of Apple II's foam-molded plastic case,
Rod Holt Frederick Rodney HoltMichael Moritz, Moritz, Michael, ''The Little Kingdom,'' ebook (born 1934) is an American computer engineer and political activist. He is History of Apple Inc., Apple employee #5, and developed the unique power supply for the ...
developed the
switching power supply A switched-mode power supply (switching-mode power supply, switch-mode power supply, switched power supply, SMPS, or switcher) is an electronic power supply that incorporates a Voltage regulator#Switching regulators, switching regulator to elect ...
, while
Steve Jobs Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American Entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, industrial designer, media proprietor, and investor. He was the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer, CEO of Apple Inc., Appl ...

Steve Jobs
's role in the design of the computer was limited to overseeing Jerry Manock's work on the plastic case. It was introduced by Jobs and Wozniak at the 1977
West Coast Computer Faire The West Coast Computer Faire was an annual computer industry conference and exposition most often associated with San Francisco, its first and most frequent venue. The first fair was held in 1977 and was organized by Jim Warren (computer spec ...
, and marks Apple's first launch of a personal computer aimed at a consumer market—branded toward American households rather than businessmen or computer hobbyists. ''Byte'' magazine referred to the Apple II,
Commodore PET 2001
Commodore PET 2001
, and
TRS-80 The TRS-80 Micro Computer System (TRS-80, later renamed the Model I to distinguish it from successors) is a desktop microcomputer launched in 1977 and sold by Tandy Corporation through their Radio Shack stores. The name is an abbreviation of ''T ...

TRS-80
as the "1977 Trinity". As the Apple II had the defining feature of being able to display color graphics, the Apple logo was redesigned to have a spectrum of colors. The Apple II is the first model in the
Apple II series The Apple II series (trademarked with square brackets as "Apple ][" and rendered on later models as "Apple //") is a family of home computers, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily ...
, followed by
Apple II+ The Apple II Plus (stylized as Apple ] or apple plus) is the second model of the Apple II series of personal computers produced by Apple Inc., Apple Computer. It was sold from June 1979 to December 1982. Approximately 380,000 II Pluses were ...

Apple II+
, Apple IIe, Apple IIc, and the 16-bit Apple IIGS—all of which remained compatible. Production of the last available model, Apple IIe, ceased in November 1993.


History

By 1976, Steve Jobs had convinced product designer Jerry Manock (who had formerly worked at Hewlett Packard designing calculators) to create the "shell" for the Apple II—a smooth case inspired by kitchen appliances that concealed the internal mechanics. The earliest Apple II computers were assembled in
Silicon Valley Silicon Valley is a region in Northern California that serves as a global center for high technology and innovation. Located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area, it corresponds roughly to the geographical areas San Mateo County, ...

Silicon Valley
and later in Texas;
printed circuit board A printed circuit board (PCB; also printed wiring board or PWB) is a medium used in Electrical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering to connect electronic components to one another in a controlled manner. It takes the form of a L ...

printed circuit board
s were manufactured in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...

Ireland
and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country, island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Pen ...

Singapore
. The first computers went on sale on June 10, 1977 June 10, 1977 was a Friday. with an
MOS Technology 6502 The MOS Technology 6502 (typically pronounced "sixty-five-oh-two" or "six-five-oh-two") William Mensch and the moderator both pronounce the 6502 microprocessor as ''"sixty-five-oh-two"''. is an 8-bit computing, 8-bit microprocessor that was desig ...
microprocessor running at 1.022 MHz ( of the NTSC color carrier), two game paddles (bundled until 1980, when they were found to violate FCC regulations), 4 KiB of RAM, an
audio cassette The Compact Cassette or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the tape cassette, cassette tape, audio cassette, or simply tape or cassette, is an analog audio, analog magnetic tape recording format for Sound recording and reproduction, audio ...
interface for loading programs and storing data, and the Integer BASIC programming language built into ROMs. The video controller displayed 24 lines by 40 columns of monochrome, uppercase-only text on the screen (the original character set matches ASCII characters 20h to 5Fh), with
NTSC The first American standard for analog television broadcast was developed by National Television System Committee (NTSC)National Television System Committee (1951–1953), Report and Reports of Panel No. 11, 11-A, 12–19, with Some supplementa ...
composite video Composite video is an Video#Analog video, analog video signal format that carries Standard-definition television, standard-definition video (typically at 525 lines or 625 lines) as a single channel. Video information is Video coding format, e ...

composite video
output suitable for display on a TV monitor or on a regular TV set (by way of a separate
RF modulator An RF modulator (or radio frequency modulator) is an electronic device whose input is a baseband signal which is used to modulation, modulate a radio frequency source. RF modulators are used to convert signals from devices such as Portable med ...
). The original retail price of the computer with 4 KiB of RAM was and with the maximum 48 KB of RAM. 1977 Apple II price list A-VIDD Electronics Co., 1977 Long Beach, CA. To reflect the computer's color graphics capability, the Apple logo on the casing had rainbow stripes, which remained a part of Apple's corporate logo until early 1998. Perhaps most significantly, the Apple II was a catalyst for personal computers across many industries; it opened the doors to software marketed at consumers. Certain aspects of the system's design were influenced by
Atari Atari () is a brand name that has been owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. It is currently owned by French publisher Atari SA through a subsidiary named Atari Interactive. The original Atari, Inc. (1972–1992), Atari, Inc., ...

Atari
's
arcade video game An arcade video game takes player input from its controls, processes it through electrical or computerized components, and displays output to an electronic monitor or similar display. Most arcade video games are coin-operated, housed in an arca ...
'' Breakout'' (1976), which was designed by Wozniak, who said: "A lot of features of the Apple II went in because I had designed ''Breakout'' for Atari. I had designed it in hardware. I wanted to write it in software now". This included his design of color graphics circuitry, the addition of game paddle support and sound, and graphics commands in Integer BASIC, with which he wrote ''Brick Out'', a software clone of his own hardware game. Wozniak said in 1984: "Basically, all the game features were put in just so I could show off the game I was familiar with—''Breakout''—at the Homebrew Computer Club. It was the most satisfying day of my life I demonstrated ''Breakout''—totally written in BASIC. It seemed like a huge step to me. After designing hardware
arcade games An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are presented as primarily game of skill, games of skill and in ...
, I knew that being able to program them in BASIC was going to change the world."


Overview

In the May 1977 issue of ''Byte'',
Steve Wozniak Stephen Gary Wozniak (; born August 11, 1950), also known by his nickname "Woz", is an American electronics engineer, computer programmer, philanthropist, inventor, and entrepreneur, technology entrepreneur. In 1976, with business partner Steve ...

Steve Wozniak
published a detailed description of his design; the article began, "To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use, and inexpensive." The Apple II used peculiar engineering shortcuts to save hardware and reduce costs, such as: * Taking advantage of the way the 6502 processor accesses memory: it occurs only on alternate phases of the clock cycle; video generation circuitry memory access on the otherwise unused phase avoids memory contention issues and interruptions of the video stream. * This arrangement simultaneously eliminated the need for a separate refresh circuit for
DRAM Dynamic random-access memory (dynamic RAM or DRAM) is a type of random-access memory, random-access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of data in a memory cell (computing), memory cell, usually consisting of a tiny capacitor and a tr ...

DRAM
chips, as video transfer accessed each row of dynamic memory within the timeout period. In addition, it did not require separate RAM chips for video RAM, while the PET and TRS-80 had SRAM chips for video. * Rather than use a complex analog-to-digital circuit to read the outputs of the game controller, Wozniak used a simple timer circuit whose period is proportional to the resistance of the game controller, and used a software loop to measure the timer. * A single 14.31818 MHz master oscillator (fM) was divided by various ratios to produce all other required frequencies, including microprocessor clock signals (fM/14), video transfer counters, and color-burst samples (fM/4). The text and graphics screens have a complex arrangement. For instance, the scanlines were not stored in sequential areas of memory. This complexity was reportedly due to Wozniak's realization that the method would allow for the refresh of dynamic RAM as a side effect (as described above). This method had no cost overhead to have software calculate or look up the address of the required scanline and avoided the need for significant extra hardware. Similarly, in high-resolution graphics mode, color is determined by pixel position and thus can be implemented in software, saving Wozniak the chips needed to convert bit patterns to colors. This also allowed for
subpixel In digital imaging, a pixel (abbreviated px), pel, or picture element is the smallest addressable element in a raster image, or the smallest point in an all points addressable display device. In most digital display devices, pixels are the ...

subpixel
font rendering, since orange and blue pixels appear half a pixel-width farther to the right on the screen than green and purple pixels. The Apple II at first used
data cassette Magnetic-tape data storage is a system for storing digital information on magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic storage made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film. It was developed in Germa ...
storage, like most other microcomputers of the time. In 1978, the company introduced an external -inch
floppy disk A floppy disk or floppy diskette (casually referred to as a floppy, or a diskette) is an obsolescent type of disk storage composed of a thin and flexible disk of a magnetic storage medium in a square or nearly square plastic enclosure lined wi ...

floppy disk
drive, called
Disk II The Disk II Floppy Disk Subsystem, often rendered as Disk ][, is a -inch Floppy disk, floppy disk drive designed by Steve Wozniak at the recommendation of Mike Markkula, and manufactured by Apple Inc., Apple Computer, Inc. It went on sale in June ...

Disk II
(stylized as Disk ][), attached through a controller card that plugs into one of the computer's expansion slots (usually slot 6). The Disk II interface, created by Wozniak, is regarded as an engineering masterpiece for its economy of electronic components. The approach taken in the Disk II controller is typical of Wozniak's designs. With a few small-scale logic chips and a cheap PROM (
programmable read-only memory A programmable read-only memory (PROM) is a form of digital memory where the contents can be changed once after manufacture of the device. The data is then permanent and cannot be changed. It is one type of read-only memory Read-only memory ( ...
), he created a functional floppy disk interface at a fraction of the component cost of standard circuit configurations.


Case design

The first production Apple II computers had hand-molded cases; these had visible bubbles and other lumps in them from the imperfect plastic molding process, which was soon switched to machine molding. In addition, the initial case design had no vent openings, causing high heat buildup from the and resulting in the plastic softening and sagging. Apple added vent holes to the case within three months of production; customers with the original case could have them replaced at no charge.


PCB revisions

The Apple II's
printed circuit board A printed circuit board (PCB; also printed wiring board or PWB) is a medium used in Electrical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering to connect electronic components to one another in a controlled manner. It takes the form of a L ...

printed circuit board
(PCB) underwent several revisions, as Steve Wozniak made modifications to it. The earliest version was known as Revision 0, and the first 6,000 units shipped used it. Later revisions added a color killer circuit to prevent color fringing when the computer was in text mode, as well as modifications to improve the reliability of cassette I/O. Revision 0 Apple IIs powered up in an undefined mode and had garbage on-screen, requiring the user to press Reset. This was eliminated in later board revisions. Revision 0 Apple IIs could display only four colors in hi-res mode, but Wozniak was able to increase this to six hi-res colors on later board revisions. The PCB had three RAM banks for a total of 24 RAM chips. Original Apple IIs had jumper switches to adjust RAM size, and RAM configurations could be 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 32, 36, or 48 KiB. The three smallest memory configurations used 4kx1
DRAM Dynamic random-access memory (dynamic RAM or DRAM) is a type of random-access memory, random-access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of data in a memory cell (computing), memory cell, usually consisting of a tiny capacitor and a tr ...

DRAM
s, with larger ones using 16kx1 DRAMs, or mix of 4-kilobyte and 16-kilobyte banks (the chips in any one bank have to be the same size). The early
Apple II+ The Apple II Plus (stylized as Apple ] or apple plus) is the second model of the Apple II series of personal computers produced by Apple Inc., Apple Computer. It was sold from June 1979 to December 1982. Approximately 380,000 II Pluses were ...

Apple II+
models retained this feature, but after a drop in DRAM prices, Apple redesigned the circuit boards without the jumpers, so that only 16kx1 chips were supported. A few months later, they started shipping all machines with a full 48 KiB complement of DRAM. Unlike most machines, all
integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, usually silicon. Large numbers of ti ...

integrated circuit
s on the Apple II PCB were socketed; although this cost more to manufacture and created the possibility of loose chips causing a system malfunction, it was considered preferable to make servicing and replacement of bad chips easier. The Apple II PCB lacks any means of generating an
interrupt request In a computer, an interrupt request (or IRQ) is a hardware signal sent to the processor that temporarily stops a running program and allows a special program, an interrupt handler, to run instead. Hardware interrupts are used to handle events s ...
, although expansion cards may generate one. Program code had to stop everything to perform any I/O task; like many of the computer's other idiosyncrasies, this was due to cost reasons and Steve Wozniak assuming interrupts were not needed for gaming or using the computer as a teaching tool.


Display and graphics

Color on the Apple II series uses a quirk of the
NTSC The first American standard for analog television broadcast was developed by National Television System Committee (NTSC)National Television System Committee (1951–1953), Report and Reports of Panel No. 11, 11-A, 12–19, with Some supplementa ...
television signal standard, which made color display relatively easy and inexpensive to implement. The original NTSC television signal specification was black and white. Color was added later by adding a 3.58-megahertz subcarrier signal that was partially ignored by black-and-white TV sets. Color is encoded based on the '' phase'' of this signal in relation to a reference '' color burst'' signal. The result is, that the position, size, and intensity of a series of pulses define color information. These pulses can translate into ''
pixel In digital imaging, a pixel (abbreviated px), pel, or picture element is the smallest addressable element in a Raster graphics, raster image, or the smallest point in an all points addressable display device. In most digital display devices, pi ...

pixel
s'' on the computer screen, with the possibility of exploiting
composite artifact colors Composite artifact colors is a designation commonly used to address several graphic modes of some 1970s and 1980s home computers. With some machines, when connected to an NTSC The first American standard for analog television broadcast ...
. The Apple II display provides two pixels per subcarrier cycle. When the color burst reference signal is turned on and the computer attached to a color display, it can display green by showing one alternating pattern of pixels, magenta with an opposite pattern of alternating pixels, and white by placing two pixels next to each other. Blue and orange are available by tweaking the pixel offset by half a pixel-width in relation to the color-burst signal. The high-resolution display offers more colors by compressing more (and narrower) pixels into each subcarrier cycle. The coarse, low-resolution graphics display mode works differently, as it can output a pattern of dots per pixel to offer more color options. These patterns are stored in the character generator ROM, and replace the text character bit patterns when the computer is switched to low-res graphics mode. The text mode and low-res graphics mode use the same memory region and the same circuitry is used for both. A single HGR page occupied 8 KiB of RAM; in practice this meant that the user had to have at least 12 KiB of total RAM to use HGR mode and 20 KiB to use two pages. Early Apple II games from the 1977–79 period often ran only in text or low-resolution mode in order to support users with small memory configurations; HGR not being near universally supported by games until 1980.


Sound

Rather than a dedicated sound-synthesis chip, the Apple II has a toggle circuit that can only emit a click through a built-in speaker or a line-out jack; all other sounds (including two-, three- and, eventually, four-voice music and playback of audio samples and speech synthesis) are generated entirely by software that clicked the speaker at just the right times. Similar techniques are used for cassette storage: cassette output works the same as the speaker, and input is a simple zero-crossing detector that serves as a relatively crude (1-bit) audio digitizer. Routines in machine ROM encode and decode data in
frequency-shift keying Frequency-shift keying (FSK) is a frequency modulation scheme in which digital information is transmitted through discrete frequency changes of a carrier signal. The technology is used for communication systems such as telemetry, weather ball ...
for the cassette.


Programming languages

Initially, the Apple II was shipped with Integer BASIC encoded in the motherboard
ROM Rom, or ROM may refer to: Biomechanics and medicine * Risk of mortality The risk of mortality (ROM) provides a medical classification to estimate the likelihood of inhospital death for a patient. The ROM classes are minor, moderate, major, and e ...
chips. Written by Wozniak, the interpreter enabled users to write software applications without needing to purchase additional development utilities. Written with game programmers and hobbyists in mind, the language only supported the encoding of numbers in 16-bit integer format. Since it only supported integers between -32768 and +32767 (signed 16-bit integer), it was less suitable to business software, and Apple soon received complaints from customers. Because Steve Wozniak was busy developing the Disk II hardware, he did not have time to modify Integer BASIC for floating point support. Apple instead licensed Microsoft's 6502 BASIC to create
Applesoft BASIC Applesoft BASIC is a dialect of Microsoft BASIC, developed by Marc McDonald and Ric Weiland, supplied with the Apple II series The Apple II series (trademarked with square brackets as "Apple ][" and rendered on later models as "Apple ...

Applesoft BASIC
. Disk users normally purchased a so-called Language Card, which had Applesoft in ROM, and was sat below the Integer BASIC ROM in system memory. The user could switch between either BASIC by typing FP or INT in BASIC prompt. Apple also offered a different version of Applesoft for cassette users, which occupied low memory, and was started by using the LOAD command in Integer BASIC. As shipped, Apple II incorporated a machine code monitor with commands for displaying and altering the computer's RAM, either one byte at a time, or in blocks of 256 bytes at once. This enabled programmers to write and debug machine code programs without further development software. The computer powers on into the monitor ROM, displaying a * prompt. From there, Ctrl+B enters BASIC, or a machine language program can be loaded from cassette. Disk software can be booted with Ctrl+P followed by 6, referring to Slot 6 which normally contained the Disk II controller. A 6502 assembler was soon offered on disk, and later the UCSD compiler and operating system for the Pascal language were made available. The Pascal system requires a 16 KiB RAM card to be installed in the language card position (expansion slot 0) in addition to the full 48 KiB of motherboard memory.


Manual

The first 1,000 or so Apple IIs shipped in 1977 with a 68-page
mimeograph A mimeograph machine (often abbreviated to mimeo, sometimes called a stencil duplicator) is a low-cost duplicating machines, duplicating machine that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. The process is called mimeography, and a ...

mimeograph
ed "Apple II Mini Manual", hand-bound with brass paper fasteners. This was the basis for the ''Apple II Reference Manual,'' which became known as the Red Book for its red cover, published in January 1978. All existing customers who sent in their warranty cards, were sent free copies of the Red Book. The Apple II Reference Manual contained the complete schematic of the entire computer's circuitry, and a complete source listing of the "Monitor" ROM firmware that served as the machine's
BIOS In computing, BIOS (, ; Basic Input/Output System, also known as the System BIOS, ROM BIOS, BIOS ROM or PC BIOS) is firmware used to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs and to perform Computer hardware, hardware initializ ...

BIOS
. An Apple II manual signed by Steve Jobs in 1980 with the inscription "Julian, your generation is the first to grow up with computers. Go change the world." sold at auction for $787,484 in 2021.


Operating system

The original Apple II provided an
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common daemon (computing), services for computer programs. Time-sharing operating systems scheduler (computing), schedule tasks for ef ...

operating system
in
ROM Rom, or ROM may refer to: Biomechanics and medicine * Risk of mortality The risk of mortality (ROM) provides a medical classification to estimate the likelihood of inhospital death for a patient. The ROM classes are minor, moderate, major, and e ...
along with a BASIC variant called Integer BASIC. The only form of storage available was
cassette tape The Compact Cassette or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the tape cassette, cassette tape, audio cassette, or simply tape or cassette, is an analog audio, analog magnetic tape recording format for Sound recording and reproduction, audio ...
which was inefficiently slow and, worse, unreliable. In 1977 when Apple decided against the popular but clunky
CP/M CP/M, originally standing for Control Program/Monitor and later Control Program for Microcomputers, is a mass-market operating system created in 1974 for Intel 8080/Intel 8085, 85-based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc ...
operating system for Wozniak's innovative disk controller design, it contracted Shepardson Microsystems for $13,000 to write an
Apple DOS Apple DOS is the family of disk operating systems for the Apple II series The Apple II series (trademarked with square brackets as "Apple ][" and rendered on later models as "Apple //") is a family of home computers, one of the fir ...

Apple DOS
for the
Apple II series The Apple II series (trademarked with square brackets as "Apple ][" and rendered on later models as "Apple //") is a family of home computers, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily ...
. At Shepardson, Paul Laughton developed the crucial disk drive software in just 35 days, a remarkably short deadline by any standard. Apple's
Disk II The Disk II Floppy Disk Subsystem, often rendered as Disk ][, is a -inch Floppy disk, floppy disk drive designed by Steve Wozniak at the recommendation of Mike Markkula, and manufactured by Apple Inc., Apple Computer, Inc. It went on sale in June ...

Disk II
-inch Floppy disk, floppy disk drive was released in 1978. The final and most popular version of this software was
Apple DOS Apple DOS is the family of disk operating systems for the Apple II series The Apple II series (trademarked with square brackets as "Apple ][" and rendered on later models as "Apple //") is a family of home computers, one of the fir ...

Apple DOS
3.3. Apple DOS was superseded by Apple ProDOS, ProDOS, which supported a hierarchical filesystem and larger storage devices. With an optional third-party
Z80 The Z80 is an 8-bit computing, 8-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his 11 employees starting in early 1975. The first wor ...

Z80
-based expansion card, the Apple II could boot into the
CP/M CP/M, originally standing for Control Program/Monitor and later Control Program for Microcomputers, is a mass-market operating system created in 1974 for Intel 8080/Intel 8085, 85-based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc ...
operating system and run
WordStar WordStar is a word processor A word processor (WP) is a device or computer program that provides for input, editing, formatting, and output of text, often with some additional features. Early word processors were stand-alone devices dedic ...

WordStar
, dBase II, and other CP/M software. With the release of MousePaint in 1984 and the Apple IIGS in 1986, the platform took on the look of the
Macintosh The Mac (known as Macintosh until 1999) is a family of personal computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., Apple Inc. Macs are known for their ease of use and minimalist designs, and are popular among students, creative professionals, and ...

Macintosh
user interface, including a mouse. Apple released
Applesoft BASIC Applesoft BASIC is a dialect of Microsoft BASIC, developed by Marc McDonald and Ric Weiland, supplied with the Apple II series The Apple II series (trademarked with square brackets as "Apple ][" and rendered on later models as "Apple ...

Applesoft BASIC
in 1977, a more advanced variant of the language which users could run instead of Integer BASIC for more capabilities. Some commercial Apple II software PC booter, booted directly and did not use standard DOS disk formats. This discouraged the copying or modifying of the software on the disks, and improved loading speed.


Third-party devices and applications

When the Apple II initially shipped in June 1977, no expansion cards were available for the slots. This meant that the user did not have any way of connecting a modem or a printer. One popular hack involved connecting a teletype machine to the cassette output. Wozniak's
open-architecture Open architecture is a type of computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a description of the structure of a computer system made from component parts. It can sometimes be a high-level description that ignores detai ...
design and Apple II's multiple expansion slots permitted a wide variety of third-party devices, including peripheral cards, such as serial controllers, display controllers, memory boards, hard disks, networking components, and real-time clocks. There were plug-in expansion cards—such as the Z-80 SoftCard—that permitted Apple II to use the
Z80 The Z80 is an 8-bit computing, 8-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his 11 employees starting in early 1975. The first wor ...

Z80
processor and run programs for the
CP/M CP/M, originally standing for Control Program/Monitor and later Control Program for Microcomputers, is a mass-market operating system created in 1974 for Intel 8080/Intel 8085, 85-based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc ...
operating system, including the dBase II database and the
WordStar WordStar is a word processor A word processor (WP) is a device or computer program that provides for input, editing, formatting, and output of text, often with some additional features. Early word processors were stand-alone devices dedic ...

WordStar
word processor. The Z80 card also allowed the connection to a modem, and thereby to any networks that a user might have access to. In the early days, such networks were scarce. But they expanded significantly with the development of bulletin board systems in later years. There was also a third-party
6809 The Motorola 6809 ("''sixty-eight-oh-nine''") is an 8-bit computing, 8-bit microprocessor with some 16-bit computing, 16-bit features. It was designed by Motorola's Terry Ritter and Joel Boney and introduced in 1978. Although source compatible wi ...
card that allowed OS-9 Level One to be run. Third-party sound cards greatly improved audio capabilities, allowing simple music synthesis and text-to-speech functions. Apple II accelerator cards doubled or quadrupled the computer's speed. Early Apple IIs were often sold with a Sup'R'Mod, which allowed the composite video signal to be viewed in a television. The Soviet Union radio-electronics industry designed Apple II-compatible computer Agat. Roughly 12,000 Agat 7 and 9 models were produced and they were widely used in Soviet schools. Agat 9 computers could run "Apple II" compatibility and native modes. "Apple II" mode allowed to run wider variety of (presumably pirated) Apple II software, but at the expense of less RAM. Because of that Soviet developers preferred native mode over "Apple II" compatibility mode.


Reception

Jesse Adams Stein wrote, "As the first company to release a 'consumer appliance' micro-computer, Apple Computer offers us a clear view of this shift from a ''machine'' to an ''appliance''." But the company also had "to negotiate the attitudes of its potential buyers, bearing in mind social anxieties about the uptake of new technologies in multiple contexts. The office, the home and the 'office-in-the-home' were implicated in these changing spheres of gender stereotypes and technological development." After seeing a crude, wire-wrapped prototype demonstrated by Wozniak and
Steve Jobs Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American Entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, industrial designer, media proprietor, and investor. He was the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer, CEO of Apple Inc., Appl ...

Steve Jobs
in November 1976, ''Byte'' predicted in April 1977, that the Apple II "may be the first product to fully qualify as the 'appliance computer' ... a completed system which is purchased off the retail shelf, taken home, plugged in and used". The computer's color graphics capability especially impressed the magazine. The magazine published a favorable review of the computer in March 1978, concluding: "For the user that wants color graphics, the Apple II is the only practical choice available in the 'appliance' computer class." '' Personal Computer World'' in August 1978 also cited the color capability as a strength, stating that "the prime reason that anyone buys an Apple II must surely be for the colour graphics". While mentioning the "oddity" of the artifact colors that produced output "that is not always what one wishes to do", it noted that "no-one has colour graphics like this at this sort of price". The magazine praised the sophisticated monitor software, user expandability, and comprehensive documentation. The author concluded that "the Apple II is a very promising machine" which "would be even more of a temptation were its price slightly lower ... for the moment, colour is an Apple II". Although it sold well from the launch, the initial market was to hobbyists and computer enthusiasts. Sales expanded exponentially into the business and professional market, when the spreadsheet program
VisiCalc VisiCalc (for "visible calculator") is the first spreadsheet computer program for personal computers, originally released for Apple II by VisiCorp on 17 October 1979. It is often considered the application that turned the microcomputer from a hob ...

VisiCalc
was launched in mid-1979. VisiCalc is credited as the defining
killer app In marketing terminology, a killer application (commonly shortened to killer app) is any computer program or software that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology, such as computer hardware, a video game ...
in the microcomputer industry. During the first five years of operations, revenues doubled about every four months. Between September 1977 and September 1980, annual sales grew from to . During this period the sole products of the company were the Apple II and its peripherals, accessories, and software.


References


External links


Additional documentation in Bitsavers PDF Document archive

Apple II on Old-computers.com

Online Apple II Resource
{{Authority control Apple II computers Computer-related introductions in 1977 6502-based home computers 8-bit computers Products and services discontinued in 1979 ca:Apple II