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Picked up an interesting Apple ][ yesterday!

Huxley

Well-known member
I wrote a longer account of this on my website (you can read it here if you're curious), but the short version: after posting here (and on Facebook + Twitter for some ID help) yesterday my family took a ~2-hour drive and bought this Apple II computer, which was built in 1980. Since we were going to be passing by Cupertino on our way home, we took a short detour and stopped for a pic outside Apple's first custom-built headquarters on Bandley Drive, which they used for much of their early history before relocating to their more-famous HQ at 1 Infinite Loop (which itself has been replaced by the massive new Apple Park campus).

After this, we stopped into the Apple Visitor Center at the new campus - it's a sort of combo Apple Store + gift shop + community center + cafe + architectural showcase, and definitely worth seeing if you're ever in the area. We brought the Apple II in with us, and were delighted by the response - dozens of staff and customers stopped by to ask about it, take pics and share stories about their own memories of Apple's early years. Fun!

The machine itself is interesting: the lid identifies it as an Apple ][ (not a ][+ or IIe) and the under-case label is marked "A2S1" (which also indicates that it's a 'real' Apple ][). However, the motherboard is date-stamped to the 44th week of 1980 (which I understand was pretty late in the Apple ][ production run), and from eyeballing it, appears to have been upgraded from the original 'integer' ROM's to the later AppleSoft ROM's which would usually be found in an Apple ][+.

Even more interesting: when we were at the Apple Park Visitor Center someone asked if they could snap a pic of the underside of the machine, so I flipped it over and held it for them. While they were taking their pics, I noticed what I initially thought was a small screw poking through one of the under-case air vents... but upon closer inspection, I realized that it's a tiny toggle switch! I haven't quite figured out what that teeny-tiny switch is doing under there, but from eyeballing the wires that come out of it, I suspect it's in-line with the speaker, and may serve as a sort of mute switch for the internal speaker. Has anyone else seen an Apple II-series machine with a "DIY" modification like that?

In any case, I'm delighted to have this in my "Retro Roadshow" collection - all I need now is an Apple IIc and we can realistically set up a pretty-representative exhibit of all the major machines in the series!

:)

Huxley
 

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olePigeon

Well-known member
Not for sound, but I've seen modified keyboard and video toggle switches. It wouldn't surprise me, though. Some of the Apple ][ games could be quite loud, so having an easy-to-access mute switch would be a nice courtesy for the people around you. :)
 

LaPorta

Well-known member
The earliest machine I have is a II+ made in 1979…interesting that plain IIs were still made into ‘80. Also amazed that they were receptive to you: I always figured if I brought my Mac Portable or something to the local Apple Store, they’d kick me out.
 

Skate323k137

Well-known member
The earliest machine I have is a II+ made in 1979…interesting that plain IIs were still made into ‘80. Also amazed that they were receptive to you: I always figured if I brought my Mac Portable or something to the local Apple Store, they’d kick me out.
I've never taken one by an apple store, but I did take an SE with me to an infosec conference. One of the vendor booths literally asked if we could set it up there and I obliged. I told everyone they could click around or play tetris or whatever, but most people preferred to just admire and share stories. A fond memory, worth hauling an SE (thank God I have the padded flight case and shoulder strap) around for a day or two.

Amazing stuff @Huxley, thank you for sharing!
 

Huxley

Well-known member
The earliest machine I have is a II+ made in 1979…interesting that plain IIs were still made into ‘80. Also amazed that they were receptive to you: I always figured if I brought my Mac Portable or something to the local Apple Store, they’d kick me out.
Based on my experience working with Apple from 2004 through 2011, I can confirm that different Apple Stores (and retail partners) definitely have different "vibes" - some are more welcoming, some are more scattered / stressed, etc. That said, I can attest that bringing something vintage/cool in during a slow day when the staff is bored has a very high-likelihood chance of being a great experience for everyone involved :)

I've never taken one by an apple store, but I did take an SE with me to an infosec conference. One of the vendor booths literally asked if we could set it up there and I obliged. I told everyone they could click around or play tetris or whatever, but most people preferred to just admire and share stories. A fond memory, worth hauling an SE (thank God I have the padded flight case and shoulder strap) around for a day or two.

Amazing stuff @Huxley, thank you for sharing!
That's a great story! I was occasionally repping my current company at security-industry trade shows before COVID hit, and I'd always make sure to bring something pocket-sized and fun - usually my Newton 2100, my TRS-80 Model 100, or an old Palm device. Especially on a crowded show floor with thousands of vendors all desperately vying for attention, it was a great way to strike up conversations with people who were already stumbling around with glazed-over eyes. There's something electric about a familiar object in a totally incongruous setting - that's basically the entire origin-story of my families Retro Roadshow events: setting up some vintage computers in a chill coffee shop sparks peoples brains in a really delightful way!

Huxley
 
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