Apple Two: ROM 01 vs. ROM 03

June 24th, 2010 12:47 PM
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?