Most people have heard of the Apple II series of home computers, but most of us don't know what these simple, seeming-ancient machines mean to our lives every day.
To fully understand the pre-Apple II world, you have to go all to way back to 1976. A little startup called Apple Computer was starting to sell its original Apple Computer, now known as the Apple I. In 1976, most computers were hobbyist kits, and the Apple I was no exception. However, it came as a fully assembled board when most other computers came as assorted chips that the user had to solder.
In late '76, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, began work on a new computer named Apple II. It was to be easy to use; each computer would come fully assembled for the user. Wozniak spent weeks writing a floppy disk interface know as the Disk II and stored his programming language, Interger BASIC, into the ROM chips.
The Apple II was introduced in 1977, and was a huge success. However, people complained that Integer BASIC was not extensive enough for their usage. So Apple licensed Microsoft BASIC for a flat fee of $21,000 dollars, renamed it Applesoft BASIC, and placed it into the ROM of the Apple II Plus.
The Apple II line of computers was a billion dollar per year industry at its peak, and it helped to maintain Apple while they tried other projects, such as the Apple III and the Lisa.
Apple II stuff:
AppleWin, an Apple II emulator for Windows
Apple II Software Repository
More Apple //c Images from DCOJ
It's alive! The results of an interesting sound program written by club member Will Hinson.