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Sunday, March 3, 2024

At present in Apple historical past: Right here comes the Macintosh II

March 2: Today in Apple history: Macintosh II launches March 2, 1987: Three years after releasing the unique Macintosh 128K, Apple launches a correct sequel, the almighty Macintosh II.

Though 4 Mac fashions have already got been launched, the definitive, full-number title of the Macintosh II makes clear that this can be a main improve for the product line. With an enormous {hardware} increase, non-obligatory shade show (!) and a brand new open structure, it doesn’t disappoint!

Mac II brings open structure

By far the most important change with the Mac II? Its open structure, which permits customers to broaden the pc. Greater than only a tech improve, this marked a basic shift in the best way Apple engineers thought concerning the Macintosh.

The primary argument in opposition to making the Mac expandable had come from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Not like the hobbyist computer systems that got here earlier than it, Jobs’ imaginative and prescient for the Mac was for a pc that “simply labored.” Ideally, there could be no motive for Mac homeowners to want (or need) to open up their machines and tinker with their insides.

By the point the Mac II started improvement, nonetheless, Jobs was out of Apple and dealing on his NeXT Pc on the startup he finally bought again to Apple. With out Jobs’ enter, the Mac II’s philosophy owed far more to the open structure of the Apple II. (Even the usage of Roman numerals within the Mac II’s title paid tribute to that long-lived laptop).

With the Mac II, customers might broaden their Macs with out voiding their guarantee for the primary time. Six NuBus slots allowed for element upgrades and the insertion of enlargement playing cards. Due to this expandability, some individuals referred to the Mac II because the “Open Mac.”

Mac II: A shade show and a few fairly spectacular {hardware}

In an age the place each laptop show affords thousands and thousands of colours as customary, it’s price reminding youthful readers that shade wasn’t at all times taken as a right on house computer systems. The first-gen Macintosh was strictly monochrome.

So, the prospect of having the ability to translate the Mac’s graphical interface into shade proved a reasonably mouthwatering prospect.

Consumers might slum it by shopping for a less expensive Mac II with a monochrome show. Nevertheless, those that opted for the colour possibility loved a brand new customary. The Mac II boasted a 16.7 million true shade palette (though the pc might show solely 256 of them on-screen at anybody time).

Customers weren’t confined to the small, 9-inch screens that got here with earlier Macs, both. The Mac II’s freestanding 13-inch monitor may appear small in comparison with at present’s huge iMac shows, nevertheless it felt extremely roomy to customers in 1987.

Mac II specs

These weren’t the one ahead-of-their-time options of the Mac II. In comparison with the underpowered unique, the Macintosh II excelled from a efficiency perspective. It packed a formidable 16 MHz Motorola 68020 processor, a 68881 floating-point coprocessor, as much as 4MB of RAM and as much as an 80MB onerous drive.

The Mac II’s audio was additionally excellent for its day. The pc used a four-voice stereo customized sound chip for the primary time. It delivered a most frequency of seven.5 kHz and a pattern price of 44.1 KhZ.

This all added as much as a hefty price ticket, nonetheless. Anybody complaining that at present’s Macs are dear ought to take into account this: A completely kitted-out Macintosh II value $7,145 retail in 1987 {dollars}, the equal of $19,400 at present. This was the period of Apple’s “excessive proper” technique for the Mac, the place it led the best way on each efficiency and worth.

The thought behind providing a higher-priced Mac like this was that it’d attraction to companies. And actually, such a machine may appear to be a discount by way of worth versus efficiency when in comparison with the costly workstations it competed in opposition to.

Do you keep in mind the Mac II? Go away your feedback beneath.


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