My First Apple Computer


James Seah
James Seah

This is the picture of the complete Apple IIe system from the advertising brochure.

CPU: MOS Technology/SynerTek 6502
CPU Speed: 1 MHz
FPU: none
Bus Speed: 1 MHz
Data Path: 8 bit
ROM: 16 kB
Onboard RAM: 64 kB
RAM slots: expansion via 1st slot
Maximum RAM: 128 k, with Extended 80 Columns Card
Expansion Slots: 8 proprietary

Max Resolution: 40/80x24 text, 4-bit 40x48, 6 color 140x192, 4-bit 140x192, 1-bit 240x192, 1-bit 560x192

Floppy Drive: optional

Speaker: mono

Codename: Diana
Introduced: January 1983
Terminated: March 1985

Released in January 1983, The Apple ][e was to be one of the most successful Apple computers ever. It was based on the 6502 processor, which could run at 1.02 MHz. It came with 64K of RAM and a 32K ROM which included BASIC, an assembly language interface, and several other hard-coded options. The Apple ][e originally sold for $1,395, and was replaced in 1985 by an updated model. In 1984 the name was changed from Apple ][e to Apple //e, coinciding with the release of the Apple //c.

The first IIe's came with the then standard of DOS 3.3. The computer also came with a green monochrome monitor.

In March 1985 Apple introduced the Enhanced IIe. It was identical in every aspect to the original IIe, the only difference being four socketed chips had been changed on the motherboard: 6502, CD and EF ROMs, and the Video ROM. The 65C02 CPU added more instruction sets, the new ROM firmware fixed bugs and improved Applesoft BASIC, Monitor and 80 column routines, and finally the new Video ROM added "MouseText" characters first introduced in the IIc. Essentially the Enhancement was to make the IIe more compatible with the Apple II  and IIc models. The original IIe (including the revision A board) could be easily user upgraded by simply swapping the 4 chips; Apple even sold an Enhancement kit upgrade.

However, I did not modify or upgrade the Apple IIe and had been using it with the original configuration since I received the computer. The only peripheral which I added was a second floppy-disk drive as I would otherwise have to swap the DOS-system diskette and the program diskette which was was cumbersome and slow.

Despite the primitive way of using my first computer, it is an experience which personal computer users today will never have to live through, and will never understand how slow is slow to wait for the computer to boot up the operating diskette and run a program.

Its kinda like telling the kids these days what living in a 'kampong' (village) without direct electricity supply to the home was like. No electrical appliances such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, air-conditioners, etc. When homes were lighted with oil or kerosene lamps. What they need nowadays to get electricity to light up the house or power the computer or TV in the home is merely by flicking on the power switch.

Was the "old days" really that good? I wonder.

Every generation is a "transition generation" which evolves with the rapid changes and advances of technology.DOS