PCs

Dinosaur Sighting: The original Apple Macintosh Classic

It is official

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.

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.

20 comments
bobross
bobross

So what is the gooey stuff coming out of the back?

FrStephenS
FrStephenS

Any chance of ever doing one of these stories on the Epson QX-10? (I've got my mother-in-law's old machine sitting on a shelf in the garage, along with all the CP/M Valdocs floppies...)

FrStephenS
FrStephenS

Any chance of ever doing one of these stories on the Epson QX-10? (I've got my mother-in-law's old machine sitting on a shelf in the garage, along with all the CP/M Valdocs floppies...)

bboswell
bboswell

It's a rumor I've heard before :) Even by 1990, most computer users were expecting color. By 1990 standards, the Mac Classic was a fairly speedy machine for the money, and the MacOS UI (which, I believe at this point in time, still resided about half in ROM, half on the computer's hard drive) did beat the Windows 3.0 user interface hands down.

deallen
deallen

I have one just like it...

jhaadsma
jhaadsma

Mine was the 512K "Fat Mac". I still have it, bag and all. It has the signatures of the engineers on the inside of the case. I bought and enternal 3-1/2 and an Imagewriter and the total cost was $4200.00. I still have lots of software.

mjm1n
mjm1n

I actually still have 1 of these that still operates with the bag and all. Was a great little system, and mine still looks and works like new. Cool!

nwjerseyliz
nwjerseyliz

I still have my Mac Classic in the closet! Not sure if it even would boot up!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

What applications did you run on your Apple Macintosh? How may years did you keep it?

charlie
charlie

That little Mac must have spent most of its life in the dark, unlike the Mac plus in my garage that has turned pee yellow like any other beige computer equipment. Very nice.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

We would love to get a look at that machine. Would you like to send it to us?

rdrainer
rdrainer

I worked in an office that used Macs exclusively until I brought in a paint-by-numbers PC clone. The Macs needed a power card replaced at a rate of about one every six weeks, at a cost of $149 each. They ran the company with their word processing and terminal emulation, and were easily networked to a $4K Canon mono laser printer, but they couldn't do any real work due to lack of application software.

mount-burke
mount-burke

Boy, what memories. I was in charge of a community college lab with 30 Mac Classics. We started with System 6 and eventually upgraded to System 7. However, you didn't "crack it open"! They are tricky unless you know where all the screws are! I opened them all - upgrade memory, replace the occasional defunct hard drive and minor surgery. Unfortunately, I don't have one of them, but I do have a working SE with System 4. Also have a lime green IMac and now a MacPro. I appreciate the present technology, but somehow...I miss the old guys!

Robert Graham
Robert Graham

I've got an original 128 Mac, bag, printer, software, 300 Baud modem, paper, everything... thought I would put it on eBay and make a fortune... now I see that everybody has one in their closet. Damn.

cccgsmith
cccgsmith

I remember my computer science instructor using a MAC during the summer of 1986, 4 years before the featured Classic. What makes that MAC different than the Classic?

jhaadsma
jhaadsma

Talk about a pack rat. These are in my drawer here at work: Multi-Plan (spreadsheet) MacPaint MacWrite Some helicopter game Folkker Triplane

marquis
marquis

I found one of those last summer at a garage sale, and bought it for a dollar bill. Complete with the bag, manuals, some software, and a printer. Turned around and sold it for $300 to a Mac addict. But now I'm wondering... Who got the better deal?

Darklon
Darklon

To answer your question, the Mac was first introduced in January 1984, when the infamous 'Big Brother' commercial was supposed to run during the 1984 super bowl. Just about anything you want to know about the various Mac models can be found on this site: http://everymac.com/ The site is always up to date and includes information on pretty much any Apple product you can name. I believe (if I remember correctly) the Mac 'Classic' was the Mini of its day. Apple was trying to address the 'Macs cost more than PCs crowd'. The Classic was, essentially, a repackaged Mac SE brought in at a lower price point. When I purchased my SE in 1987, it cost roughly $3700. I had to take out a student loan to purchase it. The classic in 1990 Cost between $1000 and $1500. Quite a difference. If you compare the specs for those two models, you?ll see they are very, very close. As I recall, Apple caught some flack from Mac users because the 68030 processors were already widely in use (as well as a lower cost 68020) and many people complained that Apple could have released a retooled SE/30 (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_classic/st ats/mac_se30.html) with its more advanced features, for the same price as the Classic. But, the 68030 was a no show until the ?Classic II? in 1991. And of course, the Classic II opened up a whole nother can of beans. :-). The whole thing was pretty much about money. Macs have traditionally been more expensive than PCs for simple reasons. Apple generally doesn't buy motherboards and proprietary chips off the rack. They have to recoup the money they spend in development costs for hardware and software since they control the platform so closely. Sorry if this was more than you wanted. :-)

galley
galley

Remember the famous commercial? The tag line was something like "Why 1984 won't be like 1984" And, that's "Mac", not "MAC". :-)

bo9b
bo9b

I actually have 2 of these in the attic in soft cases. One has an external 20 Meg hard drive! One is the original with the signitures i=on the plastic case. the other is a PLUS! wow - real power . . .