PCs

Dinosaur Sighting: The original Apple Mac Classic

The Apple Mac Classic is one of the most famous and easily recognizable personal computers ever manufactured.

The Apple Mac Classic is one of the most famous and easily recognizable personal computers ever manufactured. First introduced in 1990, the Mac Classic was Apple's low-end under $1,000 computer, which made it very popular with the education market. In the next few weeks, we'll be cracking open this classic computer to examine what makes it tick, but until then you can reminisce about a simpler time in this Dinosaur Sighting Photo Gallery.

I never owned a Mac or any other Apple computer, but I have friends who liked to evangelize to me about the Apple Mac. (Yes, there were platform evangelists even then.) But by the time the Apple Mac Classic came around, I had already sold my IBM PC Jr. and was the proud owner of an IBM XT clone.

The machine in our Dinosaur Sighting has a number of games on it (who says Apple PCs can't play games), including the classic Zork. Zork and Suspended, both Infocom adventure games, were the first computer games I ever played, and they hooked me into the hobby, and I have never looked back. In my version of the history of computer gaming, Zork is one of the most important games ever created. It is the game responsible for bringing the idea of personal computing as entertainment to the general public.

What applications did you have on your Apple Mac Classic?

To get a twisted take on the Apple Mac, check out the iWipe Photo Gallery.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

6 comments
bobpeg
bobpeg

I had a 2 floppy Mac SE I bought in 1987 that I added an external hard drive to later. I ran Lotus JAZZ, the port of Symphony to the Mac. It had some programming glitches that were 'fixed' by running a special disk that actually changed the operating system. It made JAZZ run great, but some other programs had problems. System 4.0 that came with the computer also had problems. A friend gave me a copy of system 3.2 which worked because I knew JAZZ wouldn't make any system calls that 3.2 couldn't handle (after the system 'fix'). I lived near an Egghead Software clearance store so I was always trying new programs for almost no cost. I got SuperLaserSpool, Adobe Type Manager, Nisus, FileMaker Pro, and a number of other programs that way. I was able to to pay the upgrade price for ClarisWorks because of FMPro, etc. The system had to be reinstalled (and upgraded anyway) to run Claris Works. It never had any hardware problems - it was a great machine.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

As Mark points out in Classics Rock, the Mac Classic was an iconic design that stands out as much today as it did when it was first introduced. The Classic was a warmed over repackaging of the original Macintosh, but was still a popular machine. My favorite take on the old style Macs came from Berkley Breathed, creator of Bloom County. He poked fun at the Macs through the Banana Junior PC. http://toastytech.com/guis/banana.html Which Mac got you hooked?

no.spam
no.spam

Hi John I was interested to read your comments about the Mac Classic. It was the original 128K Mac that first got me hooked, my very first computer. I still have it and in fact I recently got it running for a stand we had at an internal IT fair. It has yellowed with age, the 400k floppy system 2.0 disks need to be constantly recreated (using a classic and disk copy) and the case gets alarmingly warm when it has been running for a while but it stayed up for the fair and attracted a lot of attention. This little beauty comes in its own branded carry bag and has the developers names embossed on the inside of the casing. It cost me ?350 to buy third hand in 1989 and I still love it. Regards David

hiraghm
hiraghm

I used to have an SE-30 (upgraded SE actually). I really liked the little thing but traded it in on newer (not better) hardware. My current Mac is a "snowball" G3, which runs MacOS as well as OSX. Recently, I dug my Amiga 3000 out of mothballs, after seeing a new Eric Schwartz animation (search youtube for "animated amiga tribute"). In spite of wanting a state-of-the-art gaming computer and one of the newer handhelds, my next major computer purchase will probably be an Amiga 1200 tower system. Who needs Vista?

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

What a big break through, a MAC with a 30 megabyte hard drive. Aside from the fact that the High voltage section for the CRT display was inside the same case and was prone to emitting high voltage arcs at the most inopportune times, such as when writing data to the drive. The requirement of having an extra long shaft Torq screwdriver and a hinged vise to remove the case was a real deterent to service people who didn't have Apple's certification to service the units. The OS was a nightmare to install on blank drives and was often supplied by Apple with the OS already installed.

davetracer
davetracer

I think the original Mac (1984) with 128K of RAM and the Mac with 512K of RAM, and the Mac Classic were fine machines, if nothing else, for one simple reason: They were easy to move around. They weren't especially heavy, there weren't a zillion cords, and they had a small footprint. Nowadays I look at my PC and just sigh. Flatscreen monitor and its power supply (and Corcom power cord). Keyboard and its USB plug in. Mouse and its USB plug in. Parallel printer port to be plugged in (or USB or Net if you prefer). Network port to be plugged in and the joy of configuring that. The ... UNGH! ... weight of the case, power supply, motherboard, drives, and fifty fans, plus six rattlesnakes of wiring. All this has to be plugged in. I don't know how much this puppy pulls off the power plug, but I know the street lights outside dim when I turn it on. I know the Mac outside, and its insides in considerable detail. Andy Hertzfeld taught me how to code with beauty and elegance in 68000 in the Mac ROMs. The disk drive code is one of the most splended mixes of code and minimal hardware I'll ever see and admire; I got to unravel it and understand Wozniak's genius. This was a fine, fine machine. David Small