Apple II series

Designed by Steve Wozniak, the Apple II series was both one of the first mass-market 8-bit microcomputers and the longest-lived. The machines exemplified Wozniak's design sensibilities of not including hardware when software can perform the same function, and of being wide open for expansion. Elements of the II's design influenced many later computers; PCs today have expansion slots in part because the Apple II did, for instance.


  • Apple II (1977 - driver name apple2)
- The original machine. Includes a 6502 CPU, 8 expansion slots, up to 48KiB of RAM on the motherboard, cassette and game controller I/O, a 1-bit speaker clicker, and video modes including 40x24 text, 40x48 16-color "lo-res" graphics, and 6 color (8 but there's two blacks and two whites) 280x192 "hi-res" graphics. In addition, lo or hi-res graphics could be displayed along with 4 lines of text at the bottom.
  • Apple II Plus (1979 - driver name apple2p)
- Mostly a ROM change; Wozniak's Integer BASIC was replaced with a licensed version of Microsoft BASIC, and the system's firmware was extended to be able to auto-boot from cards with a certain set of signature bytes in their firmware ROM.
  • Apple IIe (1983 - driver names apple2e, apple2ee, apple2ep)
- Condensed a large portion of the previous systems (which were primarily off-the-shelf 74-series TTL chips) into two custom ICs, "IOU" and "MMU". Slot 0, which on the II and II Plus normally contained a 16K "language card" to expand the system to 64 KiB, was eliminated and 64 KiB is on board in a configuration compatible with the language card. The system also supports a second 64 KiB of RAM for a total of 128 KiB, and brings in a series of double-resolution video modes inspired by the ill-fated Apple ///. These include 80x24 text, 80x48 16-color "double-lo-res" graphics, and 560x192 16-color "double-hi-res" graphics.
The IIe was later "enhanced"; this replaced the 6502 CPU with a WDC 65C02 that included additional instructions, and added GUI-drawing characters to the built-in text font. Finally, a "platinum" IIe was released that came in a revised gray case (instead of the previous beige) and had the keyboard expanded to include a numeric keypad.
  • Apple IIc (1984 - driver names apple2c, apple2c0, apple2c3, apple2c4)
- This was an enhanced IIe with 128 KiB of RAM packed into a small "pizza box" style form factor. Because there was no room for slots, the IIc included hardware equivalent to two serial cards, a mouse card, and a floppy disk controller and drive.

Later versions of the IIc included support for external 3.5" disk drives and a memory expansion slot which provided the equivalent of the 1 MiB Apple II Memory Expansion Card.

  • Apple IIGS (1986 - driver names apple2gs, apple2gsr0, apple2gsr1)
- The 16-bit Apple II. Built around a WDC 65C816 CPU (which had a full 65C02 emulation mode) running 3 times faster than earlier machines, the IIGS is 99% compatible with the enhanced IIe but was also capable of running new 16-bit software that could directly access up to 8 MiB of RAM. The ROMs included a full optimized 65C816 port of the Macintosh's Toolbox APIs and Mac apps written in Pascal or C could be ported over with almost no code changes. The IIGS introduced the concept of switchable slots, where each of the 7 slots could be switched between a built-in function and using a card plugged into the slot. This provided the integration of the IIc combined with the expandability of the IIe.

Built-in hardware included two serial ports, a detachable keyboard and mouse supported by the then-new Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), 5.25" and 3.5" floppy support, a 32-oscillator Ensoniq sample-playback synthesizer chip, and new video modes: 320x200 "Super Hi-Res" with 16 unique colors per scanline, and 640x200 "Super Hi-Res" with 4 unique colors per scanline. Unlike previous Apple IIs, these new modes were not built on NTSC trickery and provided real full-color images with no bleeding or other artifacts.

  • Apple IIc Plus (1988 - driver name apple2cp)
- This was a final-configuration IIc (with the memory expansion slot) with the internal 5.25" disk drive swapped for a 3.5" one and a licensed copy of the 4 MHz Zip Chip accelerator included.

The default configurations