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Apple //c

Donors: Vas Polski and Will Willis
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia

Ever since I first put the Apple IIc in the museum as a portable computer, I've heard two things:

  1. It's not portable because you need to plug it into the wall.
  2. It's not portable because it needs a small, but still substantial monitor, that also needs to plug into the wall. (And the LCD screen you claim exists really doesn't.)

Well, you naysayers are wrong! Wrong wrong wrong! Here's a portable Apple IIc system, with a battery pack for use when away from a wall socket, and with the legendary LCD screen. That's right, the screen exists!

Now, granted, the whole setup is heavy, but luckily comes with a custom shoulder bag to help you heft it around. The LCD screen isn't the sharpest, and its contrast leaves much to be desired. But it does work!

  • Side shot of the LCD panel perched on the Apple IIc. It had little ridges on the bottom that mate into the grooves on the top of the Apple IIc.
  • Backside of the panel. The panel has a folding support on the back, to hold it at a variable angle.
  • Screen shot. Hey, it's Dave's Midnight Magic. A great game!
  • Panel label. Just to prove it really is a piece of Apple hardware.
  • Battery pack. The battery plugs into the standard Apple IIc power supply to get charged up. Then it just plugs right into the power port on the Apple IIc. I have no idea how long it will hold a charge, if at all. I also have to admit that the battery isn't Apple equipment.
  • Top view of case. So, how do you carry all this hardware. Why with this soft-sided carrying case, of course. Everything fits, barely.
  • Side view of the case.
  • Case closed. All set to take Apple computing power anywhere, even to the beach in 2010.

Previous Comments

Owner: K. Slettemoen & T. Carlson
Location: Williamsburg, VA

The Apple //c was Apple's portable version of the Apple II series. It's most obvious feature was its small size. It also has a membrane under the keyboard which protected the guts from spills of the liquid variety. The movie 2010 showed a guy using one at the beach. I don't think these had any sort of battery available, so he must have had a long cord. It used a separate monochrome monitor. It was fairly small and had a special stand that sort of wrapped around the back of the unit, so that the monitor hovered over the case, rather than behind it. Also available were a color monitor, and a special LCD monitor. (Anyone ever seen the LCD monitor?) The back has outputs for this monitor, as well as composite video. It could also produce an RF signal using an included adapter. It came standard with a 5" floppy drive.

The best story I know about the Apple IIc involves famous cyberpunk author William Gibson. (He's one of my favorite authors, although I don't think his current work stands up to his earlier stuff.) What alot of people don't realize is that Gibson really knows very little about computers. (Which I think is one of the keys to his writing. He's not constrained by knowledge of present day technological limitations.) In fact, he wrote all his early works on a typewriter. At one point, he finally decided to buy a computer in order to do word processing. So he bought an Apple IIc. When he turned it on, the floppy drive started to make the usual grinding noise as it tried to read the boot disk that wasn't there. Gibson concluded that it must be broken and brought it back. (If I remember correctly, he related this little story in an interview with Timothy Leary. They basically interviewed each other. They spent most of the time talking about Thomas Pynchon.)

  • Side view showing 5 1/4 inch floppy drive. (Gibson's bane)
  • Rear view showing all the various ports, including composite out, RGB out, and using the included adaptor, RF out. Also shows the integrated handle that doubles as a prop. Why is apple the only company to think of building a handle into its laptops. (see the eMate 300)
  • Close-up of label on the underside.

LCD Monitor

Here are some pictures of and information about the LCD monitor, courtesy of Neal Pritchett.

I have an old Apple IIc with the LCD display and just thought you might be interested in seeing it. The display itself is black and white only (heavens!!) and is adjustable. I also have a Prometheus Promodem, which is a small white box that goes into the back of the computer and is a 300 baud(!!) modem. This system was pretty much state of the art when I got it, and I spent many happy hours computing. The little beast was a constant companion on my sailboat, and even now I do some of my word processing on it. If only I could find a way to transfer my appleworks wp files onto my PC and into Word.

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