Discussion:
What made the Apple III great?
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cb meeks
2017-09-28 13:05:08 UTC
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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?
Anthony Ortiz
2017-09-28 14:08:06 UTC
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Where to start... it was great as a paperweight, portable heater, corporate write-off, for scavenging parts, depleting your bank account, testing customer patience and loyalty, repair technician overtime, as a model of what not to do... the list goes on and on. :P
David Schmidt
2017-09-28 14:11:55 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
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.
That is reason enough. Before you give away your back teeth, you can
get somewhat of a feel by using the excellent MESS emulation of it -
including the excellent additions created by Eagan Ford called "Apple 3
Ready to Run":
https://github.com/datajerk/apple3rtr

But honestly, you need to touch one and work with it to really
appreciate it.
Post by cb meeks
[yada yada yada]
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?
Extended memory space using a standard 6502 architecture: swapping out
32k regions at a time:
http://apple3.org/Documents/Magazines/AppleIIIExtendedAddressing.html
Fully expanded, you had access to 512K (Apple only ever sold them with
256K, but Sun Remarketing took care of that). Pretty heady stuff for
the time. As a programmer used to the Apple II, having to know
different memory expansion schemes based on what expansion card was
plugged in... it's easy as pie to just have one architecture that swaps
in huge gobs of memory in one go.

It has a really nice BASIC language that makes it easy to extend with
"invokable" assembly modules - sort of like & functions in Applesoft.
BASIC isn't built-in, though. The ROM is really quite minimalist and
knows nothing more than how to do a self-check and then boot from the
built-in floppy disk. The plan was to get the firmware out of the way
and let the software take over. Apple forgot that lesson early in the
Mac days by burning lots of toolbox routines in ROM and later having to
patch them up with code off of disk after all. The downside to this
is... you can't do a ton with a /// without some floppy disks. The
upside is... you can boot SOS over the serial port with 77 bytes of code.
http://adtpro.com/bootstrap3.html

Device drivers are a dream. I've written a couple, so I can say beyond
the usual "it was the first loadable device driver architecture blah
blah blah" stuff that they're simple, straightforward, well documented,
and Apple gives you a template that any poorly trained monkey [i.e. me]
can follow and extend. It's a royal pain to do the configuration steps
to put one of those drivers on a boot disk, but given a rev or two of
SOS and the configuration software, that could easily be simplified.
The machine's untimely death stunted the ecosystem's growth, so we are
still saddled with some very early attempts to make things _possible_
before they had the opportunity to become _easy_.

And my favorite... variable-speed repeat of the cursor keys based on how
hard you pressed them. I can't tell you how cool it is to feel that
second <click> and have the cursor speed away. Nobody's done it before
or since.
Anthony Ortiz
2017-09-28 14:24:40 UTC
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I was just joking in my post, I've read an apple ii history book recently where they covered some of the good things that came out of the Apple III but you provided some information I've never heard before. I hear that the late models finally got all the kinks worked out and I'm wondering if you worked in one of these or experienced the issues in the older models?
David Schmidt
2017-09-28 15:16:57 UTC
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Post by Anthony Ortiz
I was just joking in my post, I've read an apple ii history book recently where they covered some of the good things that came out of the Apple III but you provided some information I've never heard before. I hear that the late models finally got all the kinks worked out and I'm wondering if you worked in one of these or experienced the issues in the older models?
I have a couple of 256K machines and one ///+. The first run of
96K/128K machines did indeed have circuit trace issues that were
recalled and replaced, so neither I nor any other post-1980 purchaser
ever saw those issues at all. Essentially everything in circulation is
fixed. The rest is apocryphal, and perpetuated by folks that repeat the
story unwittingly because they don't have any actual experience. Kind
of like the "640K is enough for anybody" quote that Gates never said.
We all like to repeat it, but it isn't true.

There is a really great interview with Jerry Manock by the Computer
History Museum where he goes into the early problems and related
mythology of the ///, at 23:16 into the video:


And it's true, you sometimes have to mash down on the chips to get it
working after it's been sitting a while. Just like my older,
socket-based Apple II computers.
David Schmenk
2017-09-28 14:28:16 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
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?
You can pretend you're Kevin Flynn breaking into the MCP. Doesn't get better than that.
Egan Ford
2017-10-04 18:22:30 UTC
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Post by David Schmenk
You can pretend you're Kevin Flynn breaking into the MCP. Doesn't get better than that.
Agreed. Did this for Hollywood Week years back (reddit):

Loading Image...

Something I have not read in this thread so far:

The Apple /// is quiet (no fans).

I have an Apple /// and IBM 5160 (IBM XT) side-by-side. The PC fan is
quite noticeable.
cb meeks
2017-09-28 15:24:24 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
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?
I learned a lot asking this question!

Oh, emulators are nice but I prefer the real deal. Too bad I can't afford an Apple III myself...maybe one day.

And I got the Kevin Flynn reference! HAHAHA
r***@gmail.com
2017-09-29 00:42:40 UTC
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The only thing I liked about the Apple /// - and probably unique to the machine - was the dual speed arrow keys.

Of course a full ASCII keyboard was welcome.
cb meeks
2017-09-29 13:02:43 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
The only thing I liked about the Apple /// - and probably unique to the machine - was the dual speed arrow keys.
Of course a full ASCII keyboard was welcome.
I wonder how well that would have worked in practice? Seems like it would be a little like those rubber "nubs" in the middle of laptops. The pencil eraser pointing devices. Great on paper but not so hot in real life. :-)
Anthony Ortiz
2017-09-29 13:06:30 UTC
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Huh? I thought those nubs introduced by IBM were the best; I really dislike the trackpad.
cb meeks
2017-09-29 14:17:15 UTC
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Post by Anthony Ortiz
Huh? I thought those nubs introduced by IBM were the best; I really dislike the trackpad.
Oh, they're definitely better than the trackpads. The only trackpad I actually like is the one on my MBP. The nubs weren't all bad, I guess. Handy if you don't have a mouse.
Steve Nickolas
2017-09-29 16:28:42 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
Post by Anthony Ortiz
Huh? I thought those nubs introduced by IBM were the best; I really dislike the trackpad.
Oh, they're definitely better than the trackpads. The only trackpad I
actually like is the one on my MBP. The nubs weren't all bad, I guess.
Handy if you don't have a mouse.
The Dell I just acquired has both a trackpad and an eraserhead.

-uso.
Brian Patrie
2017-09-30 07:31:54 UTC
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Post by Steve Nickolas
Post by Anthony Ortiz
Huh? I thought those nubs introduced by IBM were the best; I really
dislike the trackpad.
Oh, they're definitely better than the trackpads.  The only trackpad I
actually like is the one on my MBP.  The nubs weren't all bad, I
guess. Handy if you don't have a mouse.
The Dell I just acquired has both a trackpad and an eraserhead.
Same with this ThinkPad T410. I much prefer the nub.
Turned the trackpad off.
John Brooks
2017-09-29 18:07:11 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
The only thing I liked about the Apple /// - and probably unique to the machine - was the dual speed arrow keys.
Of course a full ASCII keyboard was welcome.
BTW: The Apple IIGS has dual-speed arrow keys (hold control for fast speed).

There is also a ctrl-panel option for space and delete keys to be dual-speed as well.

One of the first things I do when using a GS is to go to the control panel and set:
1) key repeat speed to max
2) key repeat delay to min
3) Fast space/delete keys to yes
4) Dual speed (arrow) keys to fast

-JB
@JBrooksBSI
Hugh Hood
2017-09-30 14:47:46 UTC
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John,

I agree about the dual-speed keys on the IIGS being a great feature.
It's something I wish the IIGS emulators could mimic.

I can be in a particularly long AppleWorks word processor, database or
spreadsheet file, and the <ctrl><down/up arrow> combo makes the screens
scroll like lightning, particularly on an accelerated machine.





Hugh Hood
Post by John Brooks
There is also a ctrl-panel option for space and delete keys to be dual-speed as well.
1) key repeat speed to max
2) key repeat delay to min
3) Fast space/delete keys to yes
4) Dual speed (arrow) keys to fast
-JB
@JBrooksBSI
I am Rob
2017-09-30 20:14:17 UTC
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Post by Hugh Hood
I agree about the dual-speed keys on the IIGS being a great feature.
It's something I wish the IIGS emulators could mimic.
It is time to get a Mac, Hugh. The dual speed works fine with Sweet16.

Although, dual speed doesn't work with GSPort, increasing the repeat speed to max works and makes things more bearable.
Hugh Hood
2017-10-01 16:40:52 UTC
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Rob,

Actually, I've been a Mac guy since 1998, and still am. It's Windows I'm
new to, since I finally had to buy my first PC just last year in order
to 'do as the Romans do'.

I even wrote a couple of Spotlight Importers for the Mac, including one
for AppleWorks (Apple II) files, and also one for Merlin Source files,
but I digress.

Anyway, I again checked for functional dual-speed keys both on Bernie ][
the Rescue (under Classic), and also on Sweet16 Version 2.x (under OS X
10.4.11), and did not have this functionality.

Is this something Eric added to newer versions of Sweet16, or am I
missing something obvious? FWIW, yes the emulated IIGS Control Panel is
set for dual-speed keys.

Thanks. I've thought about upgrading to more modern Macs (at the expense
of losing Classic and a sizeable high-dollar PPC software investment),
but how many donuts can one man eat?




Hugh Hood
Post by I am Rob
Post by Hugh Hood
I agree about the dual-speed keys on the IIGS being a great feature.
It's something I wish the IIGS emulators could mimic.
It is time to get a Mac, Hugh. The dual speed works fine with Sweet16.
Although, dual speed doesn't work with GSPort, increasing the repeat speed to max works and makes things more bearable.
I am Rob
2017-10-02 03:35:51 UTC
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Post by Hugh Hood
Rob,
Actually, I've been a Mac guy since 1998, and still am. It's Windows I'm
new to, since I finally had to buy my first PC just last year in order
to 'do as the Romans do'.
I even wrote a couple of Spotlight Importers for the Mac, including one
for AppleWorks (Apple II) files, and also one for Merlin Source files,
but I digress.
Anyway, I again checked for functional dual-speed keys both on Bernie ][
the Rescue (under Classic), and also on Sweet16 Version 2.x (under OS X
10.4.11), and did not have this functionality.
Is this something Eric added to newer versions of Sweet16, or am I
missing something obvious? FWIW, yes the emulated IIGS Control Panel is
set for dual-speed keys.
Thanks. I've thought about upgrading to more modern Macs (at the expense
of losing Classic and a sizeable high-dollar PPC software investment),
but how many donuts can one man eat?
It works with Sweet16 v2.3.1 and 3.0.3

What key are you pressing for the repeat speed increase?

At the applesoft prompt, press and hold the right arrow. Then tap the "shift" key. You should notice a speed increase for the cursor movement.
Hugh Hood
2017-10-03 02:19:02 UTC
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Rob,

You're exactly right! Thanks for pointing this out.

I had assumed that the dual-speed key feature under emulation would work
the same way it does on a real IIGS -- hold the <control> key and the
arrow keys fly -- release the <control> key and the arrow keys return to
normal.

Doing as you say, tapping the shift (or control) acts as a toggle ON for
the dual-speed feature, and only by releasing the arrow key does it
toggle back OFF.

I prefer the way the real IIGS works, but this is very workable.

May I ask how you figured it out? I never saw it mentioned in the
Sweet16 docs.

Thanks again.





Hugh Hood
Post by I am Rob
Post by Hugh Hood
Anyway, I again checked for functional dual-speed keys both on
Bernie ][ the Rescue (under Classic), and also on Sweet16 Version
2.x (under OS X 10.4.11), and did not have this functionality.
It works with Sweet16 v2.3.1 and 3.0.3
What key are you pressing for the repeat speed increase?
At the applesoft prompt, press and hold the right arrow. Then tap
the "shift" key. You should notice a speed increase for the cursor
movement.
I am Rob
2017-10-03 13:16:46 UTC
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Post by Hugh Hood
Rob,
You're exactly right! Thanks for pointing this out.
I had assumed that the dual-speed key feature under emulation would work
the same way it does on a real IIGS -- hold the <control> key and the
arrow keys fly -- release the <control> key and the arrow keys return to
normal.
Doing as you say, tapping the shift (or control) acts as a toggle ON for
the dual-speed feature, and only by releasing the arrow key does it
toggle back OFF.
I prefer the way the real IIGS works, but this is very workable.
May I ask how you figured it out? I never saw it mentioned in the
Sweet16 docs.
Sorry! There's no logic to pass on to you.

Totally by accident. :)
r***@gmail.com
2017-10-01 15:13:32 UTC
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Post by John Brooks
BTW: The Apple IIGS has dual-speed arrow keys (hold control for fast speed).
There is also a ctrl-panel option for space and delete keys to be dual-speed as well.
Oh, cute.

The Apple /// arrow keys had three tactile positions:
* not pressed,
* slow auto repeat,
* fast auto repeat
Chris Zuhars
2017-09-29 20:35:57 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
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 ///.

Chris

BTW - the 512k memory card came from Dave Ottalini and On-Three ;-)
Chris Zuhars
2017-09-29 20:40:31 UTC
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Post by Chris Zuhars
Post by cb meeks
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 ///.
Chris
BTW - the 512k memory card came from Dave Ottalini and On-Three ;-)
-- PS, I am a die-hard Apple II fanboy. I don't want it to sound like I'm dumping on the II. Woz is one of my all-time heroes and my favorite engineer.
Michael J. Mahon
2017-09-30 05:50:35 UTC
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Post by Chris Zuhars
Post by Chris Zuhars
Post by cb meeks
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 ///.
Chris
BTW - the 512k memory card came from Dave Ottalini and On-Three ;-)
-- PS, I am a die-hard Apple II fanboy. I don't want it to sound like
I'm dumping on the II. Woz is one of my all-time heroes and my favorite engineer.
Ditto!
--
-michael - NadaNet 3.1 and AppleCrate II: http://michaeljmahon.com
Michael J. Mahon
2017-09-30 05:50:34 UTC
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Post by Chris Zuhars
Post by cb meeks
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 ///.
Chris
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
enough.

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
cb meeks
2017-10-02 13:17:46 UTC
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Post by Chris Zuhars
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 ///.
Chris
I wished I could. Been trying to find one that I could afford for years. Heck, I'd trade my Amiga 1200 for one which is saying a LOT from me considering I'm an Amiga fan-boy.
Jorge
2017-09-30 07:49:45 UTC
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Every time I think that they put all the hard earned money we were paying them for our Apple IIs in efforts (the ///, the Lisa, the Mac) to turn obsolete our Apple IIs, to drive us into a dead end, it pisses me off.

Instead they could have put the efforts in making the II gradually better, providing incremental upgrades, like the history of the PCs or the Macs has been. But no, they choose to put us into a corner.

And what's with that silly 20 tons of alumin-eee-um case, huh? Oh dear, oh dear. IBM did that sort of things, but it was because anything with an IBM logo on it costed an arm and a leg. No wonder the /// started at a price 4..5x times that of a II. Clearly not an upgrade path for anybody.

I know, I know, it is sooo easy to spot the mistakes in retrospect. But leaving the Apple II orphaned was a sin in my view, back then. The /// should have been a better II+. Beecause the II+ was a joke.

"Apple II forever" Are you kidding me?
--
Jorge.
r***@gmail.com
2017-10-01 15:18:39 UTC
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I forgot to mention that the Apple /// is the intended pedestal for the Profile. (A Profile looks really odd anywhere else.)

Of course the Monitor /// was also designed to sit on top the Apple /// (and Profile).
d***@gmail.com
2017-10-16 17:47:23 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
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?
One the best features being 256K of RAM - the II was not a serious business machine and 64k was very limiting, let alone 48k. You could choose a screen font. You could alter your keyboard layout. Last it was built like a tank - so while it was never adopted if you have one it probably still runs and runs well.
Michael 'AppleWin Debugger Dev'
2017-10-17 01:59:13 UTC
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Before this thread I would have answered:

Q. What made the Apple /// great?
A. Absolutely nothing. It does _nothing_ for me. I have every Apple 2 model there is -- and I have zero desire to own an Apple ///.

But after this thread -- if I had known about these features 30+ years ago, then yeah, it would have been a cool machine. Today there is nothing I "need" to do that "requires" an Apple /// that can't be done on another machine / model.

I'm actually kind of surprised that there actually some neat features with that hardware -- that I had never even heard of! I'm wondering if the Apple /// was partially a failure due to marketing. i.e. If I'm a "die hard" Apple 2 fan hadn't even heard of any of these features what hope would the "layman" have had back in the day? :-)

Thanks for the informative posts. Definitely interesting to learn and even like our "forgotten stepchild." :-)
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