I have heard of an add-on system for the Commodore 64 that will allow you to use any of the Apple hardware and software on the 64. What is it?
When the 64 was first introduced, there wasn't very much software available for it, but Apple had thousands of programs available on just about every subject imaginable. It wasn't long before rumors began circulating about an Apple emulator which plugged into the 64 and turned it into an instant Apple. Some companies even advertised them and took orders. As far as we know, none was actually delivered.
The problem of one computer emulating another is complex. Besides having to duplicate the functions of the operating system of the computer being emulated, you must also have a disk drive which can read the other system's disks. Commodore's 1541 normally can read only those disks formatted on disk drives compatible with the 1541, not Apple disks. Hence, you'd need an Apple-compatible disk drive. Even though both the Apple and Commodore use a 6502-family microprocessor, you must still have Apple DOS and a different operating system. All that remains of your original 64 is the keyboard, some RAM chips, and the microprocessor. Therefore, an Apple emulator for the 64 would end up costing almost as much as an Apple purchased outright.
There's also a possible legal complication. Apple has been very aggressive in bringing lawsuits against vendors who market products with ROMs that Apple feels are close copies of its own operating system. For example, Apple successfully fought a long legal battle with the makers of the Franklin Ace computer. Since the emulator would have to provide an operating system that closely resembled Apple's, it's quite possible that the manufacturer would end up in court.
Moreover, new programs for the 64 have been published or released commercially on almost a daily basis since the 64 was introduced. By now most of the original Apple library has been translated for the 64, with enhancements to take advantage of the 64's more advanced sound and graphics capabilities. Thus, much of the original impetus for the development of an emulator has dwindled. In fact, with the booming library of original software for the 64, a 64 emulator for the Apple might prove more popular.
Nevertheless, one Apple emulator is currently being advertised in COMPUTE!, though at this writing it is not yet available. Mimic Systems Inc., 1112 Fort St., Fl. 6M, Victoria, B.C., Canada V8V 4V2, has announced an Apple emulator and plans to have it ready for the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in January, with sales to begin early in 1985. Mimic's current price estimate is around $600. For comparison, the Apple IIe is presently available for about $800.