Apple I

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The Apple I motherboard.

The Apple I, originally released as the Apple Computer and also known as Apple-1, is an 8-bit home computer designed by Steve Wozniak and first sold by Apple on 1976-04-11. The computer uses a MOS 6502 clocked at 1 MHz for its CPU, shipped with 4 KB of RAM standard (upgradable to 8 KB internal or 48 KB external), and 256 bytes of ROM. Display used a Signetics 2513 which allowed for 40×24 characters with hardware scrolling. The board has a keyboard controller, but didn't ship with a keyboard, which must be purchased separately. Storage required an expansion card to read and write to an external cassette recorder. Wozniak also wrote a custom BASIC interpreter for his computer called Apple BASIC.

Production only lasted for a little over a year. On 1977-06-10, the Apple II was introduced, which was far more successful. In order to help eliminate support calls, Apple gave a trade-in discount for the Apple II before finally discontinuing the Apple I on 1977-09-30. Most of the computers that were traded in were destroyed which makes the Apple I especially rare with only 62 confirmed to still exist. The computer is now fully emulated and many hardware clones exist.


I never knew anything about the Apple I growing up, and only inferred its existence from the number on the Apple II. I heard a little bit about it from computer documentaries I watched in my teens, but that was about it. In my 30s, I discovered that MESS could emulate the Apple I, and I booted it up and played around with it for a few minutes, but I couldn't find any interesting software for it. The more I've become interested in computer hardware development, I've become more interested in the board, but I still haven't done much with it.




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