apple ii


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Introduced January 1977
Discontinued June 1979
Release Price     $1295


        This is Apple Computer's first mass produced computer the Apple II. It was released in January of 1977 and took the home computer market by storm. The Apple II offered the home computer enthusiast what no other computer company to date had been able to supply, an easy to use home computer with color graphics built right into the computer at an affordable price.

        In early 1977 there were no real personal computers for the average home user. The market was full of hobbyist kits that took some level of technical understanding to put them together and there were the big box systems that were aimed at the business market and cost several thousands of dollars and even these required an "expert" to set them up. Then along came Apple with the Apple II, take it out of the box, connect it to the TV, plug in a tape cassette and viola you have a computer system in your home.   

      The earliest Apple IIs were sold with a number of RAM configurations ranging from 4K to 48K. This was made possible by a set of 3 switching blocks on the motherboard, one for each bank of  8 RAM chips in the RAM area. (see the picture above) The type of RAM chip you used was determined by the switching block that was plugged into the socket, either a 4K or 16K block. If you used 4K blocks your configuration was from 4 Kilobytes to 12 Kilobytes max. If you chose the 16K blocks your Ram size was 16 Kilobytes up to 48 Kilobytes. Since RAM was very expensive this system was necessary to keep the basic cost of the Apple II down.

       As prices for RAM dropped Apple discarded the 4K blocks and soldered the 16K blocks to the motherboard and the Apple II was factory configured as 16, 32, or 48 Kilobyte systems. The RAM chips were installed in the sockets  for each bank depending on how you ordered your system. The switching block system was completely done away with on the Apple II+ as the systems were only sold in the 48K configuration. This is one of the distinguishing features in determining if you have an Apple II or an Apple II+. Remember also that only the earliest Apple IIs had removable switching blocks, later IIs had them soldered in place at the factory. 

     There are several other features that distinguish the original Apple II from the Apple II+. The most obvious is the name plate on the cover. First there were a few different keyboards used in the Apple II and II+. The earliest Apple II keyboards did not have an encoder board attached to the underside of the keyboard and the lighted power key was raised up on an original Apple II (see the picture above). The Apple II+ lighted power key was flush with the case. I've seen a lot of auctions on ebay selling Apple IIs with the II+ keyboard installed claiming them to be original Apple IIs.

      An original Apple II does not auto-boot to BASIC, it boots to the built in Machine Language Monitor, known as the Sweet 16 Monitor written by Stevesteve wozniac Wozniak, and fills the screen with random characters. You have to hold the "CTRL" and " B" keys  while turning on the computer to boot to the BASIC interpreter. This BASIC is not the same BASIC that is in all the Apple II computers from the II+ on. The original Apple II BASIC was hand assembled by Steve Wozniak.

      Another characteristic exclusive to the Apple II is the eight expansion slots are green with bolt down tabs (see picture above). The II+ expansion slots are black with no tabs.

      This Apple II was purchased at a local thrift store and added to the museum on February 21, 2003 and came with the original red cover user's manual.


System Architecture Ports Data Storage
Processor: MOS Technology  6502
PMMU: n/a
FPU: n/a
Data Buss: 8 bits
Address Buss: 16 bits
L1 Cache: n/a
L2 Cache: n/a
2nd Processor: n/a
No. of Expansion Slots: 8
Clock Speed: 1.023 MHz
Buss Type: Apple Proprietary
USB: n/a
ADB: n/a
Video: 1 RCA
Floppy: n/a
SCSI: n/a
Geoports: n/a
Ethernet: n/a
FireWire: n/a
Mic Type: n/a
AirPort Ready: n/a
Other Ports:  Int Game
Tape Drive: Standard
Disk Drive: Optional
Floppy Size: 5 1/4 inch
No. of FD's:: up to 2
Int Hard Drive: none
Int HD Size: n/a
Int HD Interface: n/a
Int CD Support: n/a
Orig CD Speed: n/a
No. of Internl Bays: none
Memory Video and Graphics
Logic Board: 4K or 16K
RAM Slots or Sockets: 24 (3 Banks of 8 sockets)
Min - Max RAM: 4K - 48K (64K using plug in board)
Min RAM Speed: 200 ns Dynamic RAM
RAM Sizes:  
Install in Groups of: 8 - 16 Pin DIP Memory Chips
Notes: Uses TMS4116-20 chips for 16K to 64K
Graphics Processor uses CPU
Screen size - columns & rows 40 x 24
Video on board yes
Video RAM Shares Logic Board RAM
Max colors 16
RGB output no
Composit Video Output yes
Screen Resolution 280 x 192
Physical Specs. Software Power
Introduced: January 1977
Discontinued: June 1979
Form Factor: Apple II
Gestalt ID: n/a
Weight (lbs): 11.5
Dimensions (in): 4.25 H x 15.25 W x 17.75 D
Addressing Modes: 8 bit
Orig SSW: Integer Basic
Orig Enabler: n/a
ROM ID: n/a
ROM Ver: n/a
ROM Size: 16K
AppleTalk Ver: n/a
Mac OS Supported: n/a
Max Watts: 60
BTU per Hr:  
Voltage: 120
Freq Range: 60 Hz
Battery Type: n/a
Soft Power: n/a
Pass Through: no
Sound Keyboard Specs.  
Sound Interface Device: uses CPU
Sound Generation: tone output to speaker
ADSR Capable: no
Sound Output: internal speaker only
Sound Input: no
Number of keys: 52 full stroke
Built In: yes
Detached: no
Upper / Lower case yes / yes