Erasing the Apple II

December 14th, 2015 11:31 AM
by
Filed under Mainstream coverage, Steve Wozniak;
4 comments.

We all know the history of Apple Computer Inc. (now Apple Inc.), and how its first products were the Apple-1 and Apple II, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak. The Apple II was the company's cash cow up to and well after the launch of the Macintosh in 1984, as has been documented in interviews with John Sculley and represented in films such as Steve Jobs.

While Woz laid the foundation for Apple, it was Steve Jobs who built upon it; now, so many generations of products removed from the Apple II, it's easier to think of Apple as Jobs' company more than Woz's. And apparently, that perception is not only just fine by Apple — the company is actively encouraging it. Starting with the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 8, 2015, all Apple press releases close with this tagline:

"Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984."

That's a true statement, and from a marketing perspective, it's sensible to reference a product that's still on the market. But it also starts in the middle of the story, ignoring the genius of "the other Steve" and the products that launched an enterprise.

It's not news that Apple abandoned the Apple II — in fact, the last Apple press release to mention the Apple II at all was June 22, 2010. But for this new tagline to eliminate seven years of its history from press releases seems deceptive. Should Apple take a step back and publicly acknowledge its heritage?

(Hat tips to Sam Varghese and Darrick Deel)

Apple II: It's back!

May 7th, 2012 10:30 PM
by
Filed under Hacks & mods, Mainstream coverage;
Comments Off on Apple II: It's back!

An April Fool's joke on April Fool's would be too obvious — which means that Scoopertino's April 23 news report must be a stroke of absolute genius.

Quoting a fake Apple press release, this "imaginary news organization devoted to ferreting out the most relevant stories in the world of Apple, whether or not they actually occurred" proudly reports Apple Inc.'s decision to reintroduce the Apple II to their active product lineup:

Remaining true to its original concept, the new Apple II isn't exactly a speed demon. Hypothetically, its 1MHz processor would take about an hour to download an average web page. But that assumes you could actually connect the new Apple II to the Internet — which you can't.

In fact, the new Apple II is unabashedly unconnected. With no Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB ports, there will be nothing to distract you from enjoying the best of Apple II's two dozen apps, which include a recipe manager and an electronic checkbook.

Of course, those specs describe the functionality of only an out-of-the-box Apple II; Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB can all be added (to various degrees) with the right peripherals and expansion cards.

Scoopertino

The report does indicate one change to the stock Apple II in the last 30 years: "Despite the retro theme, Apple has added one very handy port that allows the user to connect a turntable or cassette deck. You can’t store music in the computer, but you can use the Apple II box to store up to 150 vinyl albums or 300 cassettes." Sounds like the 8-bit iTunes that one enterprising hacker cobbled together some months ago.

It's a mildly amusing piece of news, even if it won't fool anyone. It makes me wonder if April Fool's has been an overlooked holiday among the Apple II community. I published a fake Juiced.GS press release in 2011, the same day Tim Kellers advertised the Apple II-phone — and if we don't limit ourselves to the spring, there are a number of fantastic KansasFest skits — but no other recent Apple II jokes spring to mind.

What pranks, tricks, or shenanigans shall we deviously, mischievously plot next?

(Hat tip to Steve Weyhrich)

Introducing the Open Apple podcast

February 7th, 2011 3:37 PM
by
Filed under History;
Comments Off on Introducing the Open Apple podcast

February 7, 2011 — Mike Maginnis and Ken Gagne, two long-time Apple II users, are proud to announce the Apple II community's first co-hosted podcast. Open Apple, a monthly show dedicated to Steve Wozniak's most famous personal computer, begins broadcasting today at http://www.open-apple.net/ with a new episode to come every month.

"When we got home from KansasFest 2010, we didn't want the experience to end," said Gagne in the show's first episode, referring to the annual Apple II convention. Added Maginnis, "One of the great things about the Apple II is the community that surrounds it. Having a podcast where we can chat with other Apple II users fosters that community feeling you get at events like KansasFest." In keeping with that theme, the two co-hosts are joined in their first episode by KansasFest veteran Andy Molloy, the first of many guests to appear on Open Apple.

The Apple II was the first personal computer produced by Apple Computer Inc. after its founding in 1977. More than eight models and five million units were sold before it was discontinued in 1993. Nearly two decades later, the computer still enjoys regular releases of new hardware and software, thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of both loyal fans and retrocomputing newcomers.

The Open Apple show aims to spotlight that vibrancy and serve that community with regular segments that include "II News", a roundup of the latest Apple II activities and announcements; "Retroviews", a look back at classic hardware and software; "Apple Pickings", which spotlights Apple II sales on eBay and Craigslist; and "Name the Game", an audio trivia challenge in which listeners can win prizes.

"There are plenty of other great retrocomputing podcasts that we enjoy listening to," said Maginnis, "but none dedicated to the Apple II is produced on a regular basis, and nothing that consistently features multiple voices from the community. With this show, Ken and I are looking forward to keeping in touch with each other and other Apple II geeks every month."

Mike Maginnis blogs about Apple's pre-Mac computers on his blog, 6502lane.net. Ken Gagne is editor and publisher of Juiced.GS, the Apple II's longest-running print publication, and is marketing director for the community's annual convention, KansasFest.

The Open Apple podcast is available immediately at http://www.open-apple.net/ where it can be streamed live or downloaded.