Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Apple

Remembering the Apple I 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-in-the-day dept.
harrymcc writes "This month marks the 35th anniversary of Apple--and the 35th anniversary of the Apple I, its first computer. It was a single-board computer that was unimaginably more rudimentary than any modern Mac — it didn't even come with a case and keyboard standard — but in its design, sales and marketing, we can see the beginnings of the Apple approach that continues to this day. I'm celebrating with a look at this significant machine."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Remembering the Apple I

Comments Filter:
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Sunday April 10, 2011 @11:58PM (#35778320)

    When Apple hardware was open. Apple ][ computers had their wiring diagram on the inside of the lid (which required no screws to open!). 8 slots, baby, *eight*, to fill with whatever you wanted. No voiding the warranty by opening it up, etc. I later went Amiga and didn't look back until recently. I got a nice ROM 03 Apple //gs on eBay, and even got a nice TransWarp GS card for it. Hot stuff! :)

    Never was a fan of Macs. *shrug*

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by perpenso (1613749)

      When Apple hardware was open. Apple ][ computers had their wiring diagram on the inside of the lid (which required no screws to open!). 8 slots, baby, *eight*, to fill with whatever you wanted. No voiding the warranty by opening it up, etc. I later went Amiga and didn't look back until recently. I got a nice ROM 03 Apple //gs on eBay, and even got a nice TransWarp GS card for it. Hot stuff! :) Never was a fan of Macs. *shrug*

      I've owned a few Macs over the years and some models had slots, easy opening cases, no warranty issues with 3rd party cards, etc. This is still true for towers.

      Other Macs are sealed boxes. Just like the laptop PCs that represent the majority of the computer marketplace. As a nerd I have an affinity for things I can tweak but I have to admit this represents a minority opinion and that sealed boxes make sense for typical users (cost reductions, simplified supply chain, etc).

      • by mfnickster (182520) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:24AM (#35778422)

        I've owned a few Macs over the years and some models had slots, easy opening cases, no warranty issues with 3rd party cards, etc.

        Yep, my first computer was a Power Mac 7500, with an outer case that slid off by pressing two buttons, and the power supply and drives tilted to the right to reveal the motherboard. Best case I ever worked with.

        Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:33AM (#35778472)

          Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

          Yeah, and the NeXT didn't have any slots, nor did it use standard tech (TCP/IP, Postscript, ...) to interact with the world.

          Oh, wait...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There was also the entire lines of PowerMac G3, G4s, G5s, and the current Mac Pros, that all have easy-open sides and standardized card slots.

          But y'know, I'm sure there's a conspiracy somewhere.

        • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:44AM (#35778516)

          Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

          The tower form factor Power Macs (G3 and up) and the Mac Pros will open, have slots, etc. Jobs seems just fine with the models targeting "professionals" to be designed to be worked on by end users. Jobs' pre-Mac baby, the Lisa (1983), had slots IIRC. The Lisa was also targeted towards "professionals".

        • Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

          Easy to open, perhaps, but open in the sense that they are expandable where also during his "first aera" available.

          angel'o'sphere

        • by erice (13380)

          Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

          Funny? I'm have trouble finding citation but, as I recall, one of the points of friction between Jobs and Scully at the time of Job's departure was over whether to open up the Macintosh. Jobs was against it. Despite putting slots in the NeXT cubes, I think he still prefers Macs be closed. The first Macs to show the Jobs influence after his return to Apple were the iMacs. Closed again.

          • by Spliffster (755587) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:11AM (#35779540) Homepage Journal

            Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

            Funny? I'm have trouble finding citation but, as I recall, one of the points of friction between Jobs and Scully at the time of Job's departure was over whether to open up the Macintosh. Jobs was against it. Despite putting slots in the NeXT cubes, I think he still prefers Macs be closed. The first Macs to show the Jobs influence after his return to Apple were the iMacs. Closed again.

            Here is a nice story told by Andy Hertzfeld (The main software developer for the macintosh's os) which clearly states that jobs did not want to have any expansion slots in the macintosh (funny read):

            http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Diagnostic_Port.txt [folklore.org]

            • by dzfoo (772245)

              In Jobs' defense, he saw the personal computer in the same light as a toaster: an appliance for the masses, which the user need not know nor care how it works.

              The iMac fulfills this role beautifully. Users buy them, take them home, and just turn them on to use them.

              Regular people do not upgrade their toasters. They use them until they break, then buy a new one, plug it in, and make toast.

                      -dZ.

              • Yeah, but the original Mac did not fulfill that role adequately, and the engineers knew it.

                128k was barely enough to run the OS and a single application - which was by design; multitasking was a hack added on with Switcher before Multifinder was even conceived.

                There was no way to add a hard drive to the 128k Mac, and it put you through hell when you had to copy a floppy. You had to swap it out about 50 times because there was not enough memory to buffer the whole thing in one step.

                If it weren't for Burre

              • by Darinbob (1142669)

                In other words you're saying "In Steve Jobs defense, he was either short sighted or a true believer in planned obsolescence."

                People regularly use the same toaster for decades. People don't go and buy a relatively expensive toaster model with a plan to replace it in a couple of years.

            • Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

              Funny? I'm have trouble finding citation but, as I recall, one of the points of friction between Jobs and Scully at the time of Job's departure was over whether to open up the Macintosh. Jobs was against it. Despite putting slots in the NeXT cubes, I think he still prefers Macs be closed. The first Macs to show the Jobs influence after his return to Apple were the iMacs. Closed again.

              Here is a nice story told by Andy Hertzfeld (The main software developer for the macintosh's os) which clearly states that jobs did not want to have any expansion slots in the macintosh (funny read):

              http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Diagnostic_Port.txt [folklore.org]

              Quote from that page:

              Jef Raskin had a very different point of view. He thought that slots were inherently complex, and were one of the obstacles holding back personal computers from reaching a wider audience. He thought that hardware expandability made it more difficult for third party software writers since they couldn't rely on the consistency of the underlying hardware. His Macintosh vision had Apple cranking out millions of identical, easy to use, low cost appliance computers and since hardware expandability would add significant cost and complexity it was therefore avoided.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            He puts slots in NeXT cubes, but changed the form factor of the NuBus slots so that you couldn't use standard NuBus cards. So "open" but you had to use NeXT specific cards (and thus it didn't help out the NuBus market).

            The NeXT was just a weird machine in many ways in that it just refused to be easily expandable or open, including a NeXT specific printer, and it didn't come with "options", and just like most products that Steve Jobs touched, it was one-size-fits-all. Also like many Steve Jobs' products, i

        • by bedouin (248624)

          Macs have always had interesting third party upgrades. When I retired my original 800mhz Quicksilver it had a dual 1.8ghz CPU in it and a number of other modifications.

          The upgrade market would let you keep many Macs going for 10 years with a minimal investment. Not sure how the Intel switch has affected that, though.

        • by itsdapead (734413)

          Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

          ISTR the pattern in the Scully years was pretty much the same as today - minimal internal expansion and screwed-tight cases for the low/middle-range desktop models c.f. clip-open access for the top-of-the-range (often tower) models with NuBus.

          The Centris and early PowerMacs were not remarkably easy to get into, and the only expansion was an optional Ethernet card.

          Also, remember that, to balance the lack of internal expansion, Apple have been pretty pro-active in pushing external expansion - first SCSI, th

          • by Moryath (553296)

            Yeah, I remember my uncle's Mac. Looked like a giant tower of crap, piled 8 pieces high.

        • Believe it or not, I'm still regularly using a Protools MixPlus studio built around a PowerMac 9600/350. It's been working flawlessly running the same OS 9.0.4 I installed when I built the studio 11 years ago. That computer is built like a tank, and yea, the case is like opening up luggage.
        • The current iMac form factor was reasonably open until 2005, i.e. you could open it up and access the internals pretty easily. Starting in 2006 though, it became a nightmare to self-service, because you now had to get at things from the front, instead of from the back. Getting at the hard drive (it was fine, but bad capacitors rendered the system itself dead) required removing just about every damn component first, when it should be one of the easiest things to get at.

        • Funny, though, those 'open' Macs only appeared after Jobs was gone!

          Even more funny, the idea od non-expandability was the main concept of the Macintosh before Jobs even heard of the project.

          http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663212/the-untold-story-of-how-my-dad-helped-invent-the-first-mac [fastcodesign.com]

          There were to be no peripheral slots so that customers never had to see the inside of the machine (although external ports would be provided); there was a fixed memory size so that all applications would run on all Macintoshes; the screen, keyboard, and mass storage device (and, we hope

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        (cost reductions).

        This is Apple we're talking about.

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          (cost reductions)

          This is Apple we're talking about.

          Cost reductions not price reductions. Costs are what Apple pays for components, assembly, shipping, etc. :-)

          • by mwvdlee (775178)

            I should have quoted more;

            make sense for typical users (cost reductions)

            Though I guess it may make sense in the sense that "We're consumers, it's only natural companies are screwing us".

      • by itsdapead (734413) on Monday April 11, 2011 @04:48AM (#35779430)

        I have an affinity for things I can tweak but I have to admit this represents a minority opinion and that sealed boxes make sense for typical users (cost reductions, simplified supply chain, etc).

        Of course there are other good reasons for "closing the box"... The original Mac, the first iMac and several models in between had built-in CRTs and the associated high-voltage circuitry, so you really, really didn't want users poking their fingers inside.

        Most subsequent consumer Macs have been "small form factor" (and usually much smaller form-factor than competing SFF computers). If you make something as tiny as the Mac Mini or a slim as a modern iMac, you're gonna end up with "no user servicable parts inside". The advantage for Apple is that ultra-slim systems can sell for a premium *useful if you're trying to develop your own platform), rather than trying to compete in the low-margin mini-tower and boxy laptop market.

        As you point out, Apple tower systems are still clip-open (swapping drives or adding memory to a Mac Pro is a breeze).

        The other thing is, the motive and opportunity for tinkering has reduced. In the 80s any self-respecting geek would have lost the lid of their computer and have all manner of internal expansion - even on systems that didn't support it there would be boards piggybacked on chips and flying wires soldered to pins on the motherboard. Not so easy on a modern multi-layer motherboard with surface-mount components. I haven't felt the need to go near a computer with a soldering iron in years... There's also less need - the main reason I ever went delving in a Mac (apart from memory and HD upgrades) was to fit ethernet cards - these days, you'll find at least one ethernet port (probably plus WiFi) built in to any half-decent board, and anything else can be fitted via USB. The only PC with an internal add-on card I have now is my MythTV box - and I'm planning to replace that with a smaller box + USB tuner (having found that there are few linux-supported PCIe tuners and that the most suitable dual tuner PCI card is actually a USB tuner stuck on a card with a PCI-USB bridge...)

        Apple have also pushed external expansion - first SCSI, then Firewire, then the iMac pulled USB out of the doldrums, now they're pushing ThunderBolt...

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I think it is fair to say that Apple see servicing as a source of revenue for most of their devices, high end professional systems excepted.

          To be fair they have got a lot better in the last few years. Until a few years ago MacBooks were a real pain to service, requiring you to remove the motherboard to swap the HDD if it failed. Newer models make common faults like the HDD much easier to change but there are still lots of difficult bits. MacBook keyboards that are part of the case come to mind. Some people

          • by Moryath (553296)

            I can't decide if they just want to make money out of repairs or if they want to make the price so high you just go out and buy a new machine.

            "A little from column A, a little from column B..."

            That's really the answer. For some things (like back when the iMac had everything crammed into a shell with a built in CRT and you didn't want the user killing themselves accidentally touching a high-voltage capacitor while trying to attach a PCI card) there were user-reasons to not have end users taking them apart.

            Fo

          • having wanted to buy a fan for a Vaio TX series, I can say I'll never touch another Sony computer product; they wanted GB£150 (US$220) just to look at it, never mind actually fix it. When I tried to buy a fan they wouldn't sell it to me. I had the part number for the fan, a Toshiba unit, but the only places that listed in online were "breakers" who were selling used parts (either on ebay or specialist dealers).

            For this reason I'd look very carefully at the cost of spares, and/or the cost of extra-l
        • by Agripa (139780)

          There's also less need - the main reason I ever went delving in a Mac (apart from memory and HD upgrades) was to fit ethernet cards - these days, you'll find at least one ethernet port (probably plus WiFi) built in to any half-decent board, and anything else can be fitted via USB.

          I have actually found more reason to add expansion cards in the past couple of years because USB serial converters fail with some serial devices (this seems to be getting worse) and what do you do for your second ethernet port? Or

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        As a nerd I have an affinity for things I can tweak but I have to admit this represents a minority opinion

        Don't disparage minority opinions. Very often, they're right.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        As a nerd I have an affinity for things I can tweak but I have to admit this represents a minority opinion and that sealed boxes make sense for typical users (cost reductions, simplified supply chain, etc).

        I guess you miss the days when you had to flip DIP switches or jumpers to set IRQs, DMA channels, IO memory and memory maps, then edit cryptic configuration files and environment variables setting to configure it correctly. Then hope all the software actually accepted such settings or end up rearranging a

    • by macs4all (973270) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:47AM (#35779208)

      Apple ][ computers had their wiring diagram on the inside of the lid

      WTF are you smoking, and can I have some?

      Apple ][ computers NEVER had a schematic (or anything else) on the inside of the lid. The schematic was in the "Red Book"; but not on the lid.

      And I think I know from experience. Not only do I OWN an Apple 1; but the first Apple ][ I ever saw/programmed was s/n 0013 (!!!). It was part of the first production run. So old it didn't even have the "cooling slots" in the top!

      And subsequently, I sold Apple ][s for a couple of years, and they didn't have a schematic on the lid, either...

      I'm not sure what computer you are think of; but it is not an Apple ][.

    • by astrosmash (3561)
      Good old days? There is far, far more technical information and tools available to developers today then there ever was for the Apple II, and today's machines are far more expandable using widely available cross-platform industry standard interfaces, from the smallest MacBook Air to the Mac Pro.
  • Replica I [brielcomputers.com]
  • by NixieBunny (859050) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:18AM (#35778404) Homepage
    The other computers that could be purchased at that time had rows of LEDs and switches on their front panels, and they needed them. The Apple was quite sophisticated for a single board computer - Altair and IMSAI used that many ICs just to make a CPU chip talk to a bus.
    • by macs4all (973270)

      The other computers that could be purchased at that time had rows of LEDs and switches on their front panels, and they needed them. The Apple was quite sophisticated for a single board computer - Altair and IMSAI used that many ICs just to make a CPU chip talk to a bus.

      Those S-100 bus computers WERE all trying to be PDP-8 clones. The only one that wasn't was the Processor Technology SOL-20. Pretty slick for an S-100 bus system, actually.

      But you are right; the Apple 1 was pretty much the first computer where you could sit down, flip on the power, and start computing!

      Makes me wanna get my Apple 1 fired up again...

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Indeed, computers back then didn't come with any kind of permanent storage. With the Altair you had to manually enter software byte by byte with the 8 switches on the front, one for each bit. To write software in BASIC you had to write it out by hand, convert it to binary, enter the BASIC interpreter manually and then finally enter the binary program manually.

      People who grew up with computers in the 80s remember how dodgy audio tapes were for storing programs but compared to the Altair tape was a huge leap

      • by macs4all (973270)

        Indeed, computers back then didn't come with any kind of permanent storage. With the Altair you had to manually enter software byte by byte with the 8 switches on the front, one for each bit.

        If you were REALLY cool, you had an ASR-33 with a Paper Tape reader, so, after you toggled the bootloader into RAM, you could spend the next 10 minutes (re)loading MS BASIC from paper (or mylar) tape.

        THEN you could start programming.

  • Article: 13 pages! Oh, good, some content!

    10 words and a pic, NEXT. 13 words and a pic, NEXT. 10 words and a pic.

    Close.

    • To be fair, most of the images contain some text. Often the text in the images is denser than the text in the article.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Early Apples will be on display at the Vintage Computer Festival East 7.0 [vintage.org], May 14-15, in New Jersey.
  • (heresay following, I may be wrong) At one point Steve Jobs said it is cool for 3rd party developers to make applications. This flew in the face of other corporations at the time like ATARI and IBM who were trying to say,"Only the hardware manufacturer had the right to make applications" The world would be a much darker place if only hardware manufacturers could make applications for so many reasons I don't feel the need to list them here. In fact... some of the corporations are trying to backtrack on th
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (heresay following, I may be wrong) At one point Steve Jobs said it is cool for 3rd party developers to make applications.

      And followed it with "But we'll take 30%".

  • Tom rules. [applefritter.com]
  • by frankmu (68782) on Monday April 11, 2011 @01:01AM (#35778586) Homepage
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/processors/the-truth-about-benders-brain [ieee.org] I didn't realize that Apple would be responsible for Bender's MOS 6502 brain. Apparently David X Cohen programmed assembly for the Apple ][ in high school.
  • by Sarusa (104047) on Monday April 11, 2011 @01:35AM (#35778712)

    I had schematics for the ][ and the entire annotated source code for that and Apple DOS 3.2/3.3. And these weren't pirate, Apple happily published them. Woz was a freaking genius with how much he did with so little hardware.

    You wanted to add lower case? Just run this wire here. Optionally bypass the write protect for floppies? Just put a three pole switch here. You want to extend the BASIC? Sure, here's these hooks (and Beagle Brothers made insane use of that).

    The Apple I was the prototype for that and I salute it. I never had one, though of course now I wish I did!

    Also funny how it's utterly unlike the Apple of today. I remember when the first Mac came out, completely unexpandable, and The Steve declared that it would never have more than 128K of RAM because that was more than enough for anyone. Which was ridiculous, because my Apple ][ had 16x that much already.

    Yes I'm old.

    • by macs4all (973270)

      I had schematics for the ][ and the entire annotated source code for that and Apple DOS 3.2/3.3.

      I can go one better: I actually assembled DOS 3.3 on a regular basis, and made several, several modifications to same, all the way down to the RWTS (Read-Write Track and Sector) and Nibble-handling routines.

      In fact, I created a custom version of Randy Wigginton's TED-II Weekend Assembler that could assemble to and from disk; because that was the ONLY way you could assemble something as huge as DOS...

      And these weren't pirate, Apple happily published them.

      BZZT! Wrong! Apple didn't sue the shit out of the people who DID publish the source. I think it was the App

  • by julesh (229690) on Monday April 11, 2011 @01:53AM (#35778772)

    ... including the claim that its 16 bit address bus allowed expansion to 65K of memory. /me didn't realise the use of decimal rather than binary capacity multipliers in marketing claims was so old.

  • by prowler1 (458133) on Monday April 11, 2011 @04:53AM (#35779456)

    it may not have been completed.

    http://www.commodore.ca/history/people/chuck_peddle/chuck_peddle.htm [commodore.ca]

    Apparently when he turned up to help them out, he ended up doing a lot of analysing of what they were doing and helping them understand how the 6502 worked and what they were doing wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My earliest memory of meeting Steve Jobs was, IIRC, at the Atlantic City Microcomputer Festival in August 1977. He gave me a pitch about the Apple 1 and explained why people wanted color computers, even low resolution, instead of the state of the art monochrome displays. He told me, confidentially, that Apple already had 650 orders for the unannounced Apple II computer. I walked away thinking he was a misguided huckster. 650 advanced orders? Yeah, right, will never happen. I finally decided to buy an Alpha

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Monday April 11, 2011 @08:13AM (#35780396) Homepage

    I didn't realize that Apple was still selling Apple I's after they introduced the Apple II. I thought they has sold out the entire first (and ONLY) run of Apple 1 boards before the II was introduced. What the story didn't mention was the fact that Apple ALSO sold the Apple II as just a bare board sans case, just like the Apple I. They didn't offer this option very long, but I do remember it being available. Perhaps they thought that Apple I owners who had built the I into a custom case would want to upgrade? I think the two boards were about the same size, but the II had to be mounted with the short dimension front to back (if you wanted the expansion slots in back).

    Stan Veit operated a NYC computer shop (in the back of a toy store) and carried the Apple I. I remember seeing it AND the Apple II when they first came out. I worked at a rival computer store, but we didn't carry Apple or Altair. The place I worked at had SWTP, Processor Technology, and Imsai computers.

    • by macs4all (973270)

      What the story didn't mention was the fact that Apple ALSO sold the Apple II as just a bare board sans case, just like the Apple I. They didn't offer this option very long, but I do remember it being available.

      In fact, you are correct.

      When I saw a site a few weeks ago with some early Apple ][ documentation, it mentioned what specifications you'd need for your OWN power supply.

      I emailed Woz about it, and he replied with the following (reprinted without permission) :

      Yes.

      I [Woz] had visited a few tech types at Hughes in Orange County, CA, and told them we'd probably sell the Apple }{ board for $500 or $600. Our investor and marketing head, Mike Markkula, wanted to only sell fully built Apple }{'s for a muc

Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.

Working...