Apple was one of the first manufacturers of personal computers. The Apple IIe was so early in the computing game that some call it the “original personal computer”. The later 5150 from IBM is said to have copied some of the aspects of the Apple IIe. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the ones who introduced the Apple II to the world at the West Coast Computer Faire back in 1977. The Apple IIe version was introduced in 1983. The “e” designation stood for the word “enhanced”. The Apple IIe was a very successful venture for Apple and was manufactured for nearly ten years. It was modestly priced and sold well.
The town of Mountain View has become synonymous with computing and the internet. It is no coincidence that Steve Jobs grew up there. But the Apple IIe that he and Steve Wozniak created would be built in Los Altos. It was user friendly and came with its own built-in programming language called “BASIC”. It became popular enough to become one of the better selling brands in the global computing market. It came with a color monitor as well and the the Apple IIe presented the popular “over and under” model of having the monitor sitting on top of the computer case. The similar beige color was chosen for the case of the Apple IIe as it was for many personal computers of the day. It looked similar to early versions of the Commodore 128, with a flat appearance and the keyboard integrated into the computer case.
So what was under the hood of the the Apple IIe case? The heart of the machine was a MOS 6502 microprocessor that devoured data at just over one megahertz. It was also used in other personal computers of its day. The motherboard was equipped with 64 kilobytes of random access memory ( RAM ). The graphics were enhanced on the the Apple IIe over its predecessor. For those who needed more RAM, the motherboard came with eight internal expansion slots. The system used a total of 9000 transistors to deliver its digital abilities. The I/O methods consisted of a joystick input and a cassette tape output. The system bus was 8 bit. Removable storage consisted of two 5.25 inch floppy drives.
The operating system of the the Apple IIe was either DOS 3.3 or ProDOS. The upgrade was necessary to accommodate the new hardware coming into the world. The Apple DOS system would only support the 5.25 floppy disks and needed patches to be able to use peripheral devices such as hard disk drives and external 3.5 inch floppy drives. Some of the Apple IIe computers were shipped with both DOS 3.3 and ProDOS systems. An interesting addition to the ProDOS version 1.01 was a check to see if it was running on an original Apple computer. The operating system would start up normally on an Apple IIe clone, but if it did not find the word “Apple” in the firmware, ProDOS would lock up the computer at the splash screen.
The Apple IIe is very collectible, especially among Apple fanatics. Quite a few were made so they are not that difficult to find. But, those in excellent working condition with either upgrades or a lot of accessories can fetch a high price. The brown carrying case shown above can sell for over $250.00 alone. Top end Apple IIe’s will sell for around $500.00 if they include the monitor, software, disk drive and other accessories. A bare unit will sell for about $150.00 to $200.00.