Apple Two: ROM 01 vs. ROM 03

Filed under Hacks & mods;

I recently signed up for as many Apple II email lists as I could find, be it by RSS or email digest — anything I can quickly scan for content. One such list was Low End Mac’s Apple2list, which since 2006 has been hosted by Google Groups. Earlier this month, the list included a for-sale listing. I rarely, if ever, purchase anything for the Apple II online, preferring to do business in-person at the KansasFest vendor fair. But the opportunity to buy a ROM 03 IIGS for $15 + S&H was too good to pass up.

I don’t have any immediate need for another Apple II. After all, it was only recently that I found room to set up my ROM 01. That machine was purchased in 1992 as a backup to our original IIGS, bought in 1988, which itself was an upgrade to the family IIe that powered the family business. Since the IIGS in my office was originally a backup, I decided it now needed its own backup. My father still keeps his Apple II handy for accessing and maintaining some legacy files, so I needed to get my own.

Besides, no one in my family had ever owned a ROM 03 before. The differences between it and the ROM 01 are minor: a bit more onboard memory, a slightly faster boot time. I was more interested in expanding my collection of officially released IIGS models than I was in upgrading to a better model. Besides, so much software was written for the ROM 01 that a few of them actually break on the ROM 03. But now I could extract a ROM image and legally emulate either model with Sweet16.

The Apple II was shipped and received quickly, and I eagerly unboxed it. I pried open the case to see what the insides of a ROM 03 looked like. I expected it to look different from my ROM 01, and even though I hadn’t taken the top off my main computer in years, what I now found myself looking at seemed too familiar. I quickly booted it up and let the splash screen confirm my suspicion: I was now the proud owner of another ROM 01.

Apple IIGS ROM 01

What I hoped would be a ROM 03.

The seller quickly acknowledged his honest mistake, and we negotiated a compromise that satisfied both parties. I’m more frustrated with myself than with him. Had I been more familiar with the technical differences of the two models, the above picture, provided prior to purchase, would’ve been all the information I needed to determine the error. Even without that knowledge, comparing that photo to those in this side-by-side comparison (English translation) would’ve sufficiently enlightened me.

Even though I ended up with a working Apple IIGS for an even better price than I expected, I’m still slightly disappointed to now have a computer that offers nothing beyond what I already had. Still, if my goal was to have an Apple II that I could swap into the place of my main machine when and if it fails, then mission accomplished. A few more such accidental purchases, and I could start my very own AppleCrate!

What would you do with more than one Apple II?

  1. Took forever for me to adjust to the nomenclature, but it’s supposed to be “ROM 01” and “ROM 3”. The “ROM 00” is actually without a true revision number.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, Ryan! I knew “ROM 00” was a nickname, but I didn’t realize the “ROM 3” had no zero in it. I wonder how many times I’ve gotten that wrong in Juiced.GS?

  3. D Finnigan says:

    “What would you do with more than one Apple II?”

    Link them up with a serial cable and try to write a network game. :-)

  4. Ken, are you still in the market for a ROM 3? I seem to have a surplus of that particular model at the moment. I’m sure we could work something out.

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, DF! And for the offer, Mike. I’ll follow up with you via email.