Chris Zuhars <***@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 9:05:09 AM UTC-4, cb meeks wrote:
>> The Apple III (yes, 3) is a computer that I'd give my back teeth for. I
>> own many Apple II's but I've always wanted an Apple III. Honestly, I
>> don't really know why other than I don't have one.
>> Now that 2017 is getting closer to ending, I'd thought I would ask you
>> kind folks what made the Apple III great in your mind. Yes, I know it
>> was a flop. I know it was driven by marketing, blah blah. I'm here to
>> talk about the machine itself. Even Woz said it had some good features.
>> And yes, I'm aware of the huge failure rates and poor sales.
>> So, if we could ignore all of the politics of the Apple III and focus on
>> the machine itself, what was so great about it?
>> I've read the SOS OS was pretty good. Being able to dynamically load
>> device drivers into different areas of memory (something we take for
>> granted these days).
>> What else?
> First, you have to consider the period of time from when the /// came and
> what preceded it. In 1980, you had the Apple II or II+. David's correct
> in his statements regarding the II's issues. Speaking in general terms,
> everything you'd now expect in a IIe (80-columns, upper/lower case,
> memory above 64k, etc) was a kludge in the II/II+.
> Comparatively, the /// was a technical marvel. Not only did it support 80
> columns, upper/lower case, self-repeating keys and bank-swappable memory
> out of the box, it also featured innovations such as a DAC, swappable
> character set, real-time clock/calendar (yes, I know about the faulty
> clock chips...), 25-pin serial port, audio-out jack, four Apple II
> electrically-compatible expansion slots and RGB output. It also
> implemented various text and graphics modes out the wazoo that were in
> sensible, linear blocks of memory. Why more graphics programs weren't
> written for the /// is a shame. Compared to the II/II+ it was a dream.
> I know I'm leaving some features out. Again, like David mentioned, the
> concept of a system's power being realized in software is also a
> fascinating and brilliant move at the time. (But it would have been nice
> to have a BASIC in ROM).
> Dr. Sander and the team threw everything and the kitchen sink into the
> ///. It was everything the II+ wasn't and much more. Again, thinking in
> terms of 1980, Apple's marketing and other suits didn't really understand
> what they had with the /// and what it was really capable of. Their
> tunnel vision kept them thinking it would run larger VisiCalc spreadsheets faster.
> If you ever have the privilege of owning a fully operational ///, you'll
> understand. Again, many of the hardware and software features we "take
> for granted" in the IIe directly come from the ///.
> BTW - the 512k memory card came from Dave Ottalini and On-Three ;-)
Nice architecture, unfortunate implementation.
Boat anchor closed cast case was really a mistake, and it constrained the
physical design terribly.
Of course, the market for the /// was quite small, for various reasons, and
that stunted the development of its software/hardware ecosystem.
It just goes to show that being "better" in some technical sense isn't
My measure of "elegance" is functionality divided by complexity, and it's
hard to beat the Apple II in that regard.
-michael - NadaNet 3.1 and AppleCrate II: http://michaeljmahon.com