September 15, 1988: Apple releases the Apple IIc Plus, the sixth and final model in the Apple II computer series. It’s a great machine, with impressive capabilities, but suffers from poor marketing and support.
With the Mac around, Cupertino simply doesn’t seem interested in the Apple computer anymore.
Apple IIc Plus specs
The IIc Plus was the fastest Apple II model, with a 65C02 processor and CPU speed of 4MHz — an astonishing four times faster than its predecessor. It was essentially a souped-up version of the 8-bit Apple IIc. It was less advanced (but still faster) than the higher-end, 16-bit Apple IIGS, which was also doing the rounds at the time.
The existence of an Apple IIc Plus was a response to the Laser 128EX/2, an Apple II clone developed by Chinese company VTech.
Bring back the 5.25-inch floppy drive
Controversially, the Apple IIc Plus ditched the Apple II’s classic 5.25-inch floppy drive for a built-in 3.5-inch unit. This offered close to six times the storage capacity of the larger floppy disks. It also loaded significantly faster and offered button-activated motorized ejection. (It’s amazing how retro this all sounds today!)
Similar to the furor over the iPhone 7 dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack, the IIc Plus release caused an uproar among Apple II owners. The majority of the software they bought came in the 5.25-inch floppy format. If they wanted to keep using the software, they needed to buy an external disk drive.
In terms of design, the Apple IIc Plus came in Apple’s light-gray platinum color, which made the keyboard and case appear almost as one product. Despite its spec improvements, the computer weighed only about 7 pounds, an impressive half-pound lighter than the IIc.
Apple discontinued the model in November 1990, putting an end to the Apple II line more than a decade after its debut. The Apple IIc Plus was only available in the United States, which makes it slightly rarer to find overseas. It remains fondly remembered by many Apple fans.
Did you ever use an Apple II?
Did you own this particular model (or any other Apple II)? Or did you go straight to the Mac? Leave your comments below.