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Rare Docs Show How Apple Created Apple II DOS 130

Posted by timothy
from the won't-be-big-and-fancy-like-gnu dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to this "CNET story about arguably the most important technical documents in Apple's early history: the source code, contract letters, schematics and notes for the creation of the Apple II Disk Operating System (DOS). From 1977 and 1978, these documents chronicle Apple's first OS and what made the Apple II into a serious computer for the masses, able to support killer apps like Visicalc and build the PC industry."
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Rare Docs Show How Apple Created Apple II DOS

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  • by westlake (615356) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @10:52AM (#43357463)

    From 1977 and 1978, these documents chronicle Apple's first OS and what made the Apple II into a serious computer for the masses.

    The computer for the masses has to be affordable.

    The original retail price of the computer was US $1298 (with 4 kB of RAM) and US $2638 (with the maximum 48 kB of RAM). The original Apple II was discontinued at the start of 1981, having been superseded by the II+.

    An estimated 40,000 machines were sold for its 4-year production run.

    Apple II series [wikipedia.org]

    What cost $1298 in 1977 would cost $4848.66 in 2012. What cost $2638 in 1977 would cost $9854.21 in 2012. The Inflation Calculator [westegg.com]

    Following Visicalc's release, Bricklin and Frankston developed ports for the Atari 800 and Commodore PET, both of which could be done easily due to sharing 6502 CPUs with the Apple II and being able to recycle large portions of code. Other versions followed for the HP 150 and TRS-80 Model I and II. Finally, Visicalc was ported to the IBM PC and became one of the initial pieces of software available for it on its 1981 launch.

    VisiCalc [wikipedia.org]

  • by jythie (914043) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @11:04AM (#43357607)
    'Masses' is a fairly relative concept, as is 'affordable'. Compared to the targeting of the IBM compatible computers it could be argued that the Apple ][ line was more a computer for mass consumers, even if at its price point it was out of the range of many people. It is kinda like today out the Canon 5Dmk3 is a FF camera for the 'masses' in that it is intended (or at least marketed to) 'prosumers' as opposed to professionals and companies. Its price point is still higher then most people can plunk down for a camera, but it is still aimed at the mass market.

    Now, it could be argued there were other 'for the masses' computers also being sold at the time, but that is why it is "A" computer for the masses, not "The" computer for the masses.

    I think people tend to forget how computers were seen and marketed at the time, and how little attention there was on anyone other then hobbyists and professionals. The Apple ][ and other computers like it really were a new push to get usable computers into the homes of a much larger audience.
  • by pamar (538061) <marino@inr[ ].it ['ete' in gap]> on Thursday April 04, 2013 @02:07PM (#43359887) Homepage

    You apparently forgot the fact that Apple published schematics and was built with "off-the-shelf" components, and this soon resulted in a massive "clones" market, offering good if not perfect compatibility (the ROMs were easy to copy, too) at vastly reduced prices.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_II_clones [wikipedia.org]

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