Apple Macintosh (128k)

apple macintosh 128kWhilst the accolade for the first Graphical user interface goes to the Xerox Star 8010 (1981), the Macintosh 128k was the first relatively inexpensive and commercially succesful computer to use such a system.

The Macintosh (128k) was also the first affordable computer to use 3.5″ disks, standardize the look-and-feel of applications, and provide true WYSIWYG printing; standards that were adopted throughout the entire industry within 10 years. This computer started a different way of thinking, allowing the user to concentrate on working rather than struggling to get the computer to work.

Launch:

It was launched a while after the Apple Lisa and was a very attractive alternative to PC compatibles and their old MS-DOS, and text-based applications. After uncertain beginnings, it met with great success despite having no hard disk, single-sided floppy disks, no expansion slot and very little memory! Open up the case of the original Apple Macintosh and you will find 47 signatures, one of each member of Apple’s Macintosh division as of 1982.

Popularity:

The 128k mac was extremely popular, selling 70,000 units during it’s first 100 days.  At the time, mainstream computing had still not been established and no one operting system existed.  With the Commodore 64 and IBM PCs running non graphical user interfaces that required prior knowledge of command line interfaces, a computer with full GUI was bound to change the market.  Out of interest, Microsoft did not release the first version of Windows until 1985, a full year after the Mac 128k had been on the market.

Apple refused to license the OS or the hardware, the 128k memory was not enough and a single floppy was difficult to use. The “Macintosh” had “Lisa’s” user friendly GUI, but initially missed some of the more powerful features of the “Lisa” like multitasking and the 1 MB of memory. Jobs compensated by making sure developers created software for the new “Macintosh”, Jobs figured that software was the way to win the consumer over.

Famous Marketing:

It’s release, initially as the “Apple Macintosh” was marked by the now famous 1984 advert, which aired on CBS during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22.  The decision to release of the Macintosh 512k meant that it was re-branded the Macintosh 128k.

Fanless Engineering:

The unit did not include a fan, but instead relied on convection cooling, which made it quiet while in operation. Steve Jobs insisted that the Macintosh ship without a fan, a marketing (not engineering) decision that persisted until the introduction of the Macintosh SE in 1987. This was the source of many common — and very expensive — component failures in the first four Macintosh models, so much so that Larry Pina wrote two very successful how-to repair manuals, The Dead Mac Scrolls and Macintosh Repair & Upgrade Secrets.

Specs:

The Apple Macintosh (128k) features an 8 MHz 32 bit Motorola 68000 processor running on a 16 bit bus. Upon power on, it accessed a 64k rom that contained initial instruction sets.

Memory:

The Macintosh 128k shipped, as would be expected, with 128k of RAM.  Memory was soldered direct to the motherboard. The RAM could be upgraded to 512k by an authorized reseller. It is not designed to be upgraded by the end-user.

Storage:

The computer featured a 400k disk drive that was used on boot to launch the operating system. Users would then eject the boot disk (now loaded into memory) and insert a disk containing the application/ documents to be used.

Video & Graphics:

The Macintosh 128k shipped with a 9″ monochrome display built in, offering a resolution of 512×342 pixels, establishing the desktop publishing standard of 72 PPI.

Ports & Connectivity:

To the rear was a mouse port (DB-9, also refered to as DE-9), printer portMac 128k Ports and modem port (a second and third DE-9 connector)- all were labelled to prevent confusion and a sound out (mono) 3.5mm jack. A DB-9 port provided connectivity for a floppy disk drive.

Introduction Date: January 24, 1984* Discontinued Date: October 1, 1985
Details:
Processor Speed: 8 MHz Processor Type: 68000
Details:
Processor Upgrade: N/A FPU: N/A
Details: N/A
System Bus Speed: 8 MHz Cache Bus Speed: N/A
Details: N/A
ROM/Firmware Type: Macintosh ROM ROM/Firmware Size: 64k
Details: N/A
L1 Cache: None L2 Cache: N/A
Details: N/A
RAM Type: Built-in Min. RAM Speed: N/A
Details: N/A
Standard RAM: 128k Maximum RAM: 512k
Details:
Motherboard RAM: 128k RAM Slots: N/A
Details: N/A
Video Card: Integrated VRAM Type: Built-in
Details: N/A
Standard VRAM: N/A Maximum VRAM: N/A
Details: N/A
Built-in Display: 9″ Monochrome Native Resolution: 512×342
Details: N/A
Standard Hard Drive: None Int. HD Interface: N/A
Details:
Standard Optical: None Standard Disk: 400k (Manual)
Details: N/A
Standard Modem: None Standard Ethernet: None
Details: N/A
Expansion Slots: None Expansion Bays: None
Details: N/A
Case Type: All-in-One Form Factor: Macintosh 128k
Details: N/A
Apple Order No: N/A Apple Subfamily: Original Macintosh
Details: N/A
Apple Model No: M0001 Gestalt ID: 1
Details: N/A
Battery Type: 4.5V Alkaline Battery Life: N/A
Details: N/A
Original Mac OS: 0.97 Supported Mac OS: 0.97-3.2
Details:

 

| 4 Replies