Apple, in an extravaganza at San Francisco's Moscone Center yesterday, formally introduced their new personal computer, the Apple lie. Discussion with over one dozen dealers revealed a reaction which was uniformly positive, with the only concern being, "What about the Apple IIe?"
Significantly, Apple's massive entry into the home and educational computing market, backed by an initial advertising push in excess of $15 million is being handled by their existing dealer network. While some units will be sold through department store or chain outlets, the majority will flow, unbundled, through Apple's dealer group. The rationale given for not bundling the system was that dealers would be better able to customize the system for prospective purchasers.
During the course of all of this, Apple revealed that they have now sold almost 2 million Apple II's since its introduction, and over 50,000 Macintoshes. By the time you read this, the external drive should be available for the Macintosh, and many dealers will have Apple IIc's in stock… or at least flowing through their stores. Impressively, both of Apple's recent major announcements have been coupled with the actual shipment of the computers being introduced.
Apple expects the lie to be a forceful competitor in the home market, and stresses that the product is specifically targeted for the serious personal computer user. Will the He succeed? Pricewise, it's competitive with the high-end PCjr system from IBM. It contains the same amount of RAM (128K), and built-in BASIC in ROM (albeit a smaller version with less power than that in the Cartridge BASIC of the PCjr). The IIc has one built-in disk drive, a keyboard that's a bit more standard than the frequently criticized keyboard of the PCjr, and an available software library of over 10,000 Apple II programs that will be compatible with the IIc.
By the fall, Apple will be shipping a $600 flat panel display for the lie which will display 24 lines by 80 characters, and fully complement the already integrated design of the rest of the unit. The disk drive, for example, is built into the side of the combination computer/keyboard housing.
ProDOS, the operating system, is fully compatible with Apple DOS 3.3, and with a very minor change, DOS 3.2. Almost two dozen leading software vendors were exhibiting products for the IIc at the introduction, and Apple indicates that it's working with more than 100 vendors at present.
Has Apple come home? For now, it certainly appears that way. You can anticipate a rapid expansion of COMPUTERS editorial coverage to include the industry's latest entry into the field of home and educational computing. Next month we'll have a full feature on the IIc, and further analysis of its future.
Until then, enjoy your issue.
Editor In Chief