Back in 1980, Apple Computer developed an upscale version of the Apple II. It looked really cool and it had 80 columns of text (the original apples only had 40) but it was unfortunately designed by committee. The machine was never properly tested, and featured an improved operating system that was incompatible with the more popular, cheaper apple II computer.

For what was to have been a high end machine, it was plagued with major design faults. For example, chips had a tendancy to unseat themselves after the machine had been on for a few hours. Apple replaced any defective machine, no questions asked. It cost $4000 in 1980 and the machine was soon perceived as an expensive paperweight. A fixed version was reintroduced in 1981, after IBM introduced the first IBM PC. Apple's fumblings helped start the PC industry we know today.

Features that it improved over the Apple II:
  • 80 Columns of text
  • up to four 143k disk drives
  • rs-232 port
  • sound
  • hi-res graphics: 280x192 pixels at 4bpp
  • a whopping 256k ram
  • 4 expansion slots
  • Keys that repeat
  • 128 key type ahead
  • Numeric keypad
  • Cursor keys
In total, around 105 machines were built.

This writeup was produced with information from the Apple III FAQ at http://www.wap.org/a3

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