Apple has a pretty long history of PC envy. Even before the Mac, Apple made direct comparisons between itself and the PC. Here’s an ad showing why an Apple IIc was a better choice than a PCjr.


The year is 1984. The Macintosh is on the horizon but isn’t quite out yet. IBM is poised to conquer the home computer market just like it did the business market with its new sensation — the IBM PCjr. Apple’s newest computer in the Apple II line is just coming out. This commercial shows how Apple decided to deal with the PCjr.

Looking back after nearly 25 years, it’s easy to see that the PCjr was doomed to failure. When it debuted, however, the future wasn’t so clear. Other home computer vendors like Commodore, Atari, and TI were running scared. Within a few short years, the latter two would be completely out of the market, although only TI ran for the hills scared of the PCjr itself.

Apple took the challenge of the PCjr directly. The new IIc line was an integrated unit meant to be more portable than earlier Apple IIs. Additionally the IIc was backward compatible with previous Apple IIs, giving it a large library of programs. The PCjr was only semicompatible with the real IBM PC as it was, and it didn’t have nearly the software for home that Apple did.

That’s what makes this ad pretty effective. For the next 25 years, you find instances of Apple making side-by-side firsts with IBMs, and eventually Microsoft Windows. But this ad seems to be where it all started.

Coming up

We’ve already cracked open an IBM PCjr. We’ve now got our hands on an Apple IIc. That will be the next Classics Rock Cracking Open candidate.