Small Chips, Big Change

A Little Board the Changed the World

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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 //c:

One of our club members purchased an Apple //c off of eBay this year. Read on for some information on this interesting computer.
Apple //c Specs:

The Apple //c was Apple's first attempt at a compact and portable computer. However, it lacked a built-in screen or power supply, and the alternatives were large and clumsy. The //c features a built-in floppy drive, a speaker, a headphone jack, and volume control. Applesoft BASIC is built-in to ROM.

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.

Copyright © Computer Sciences Club 2012