• Own a Piece of Apple History

    image source: euthman via Flickr, Creative Commons license

    Two historically-significant pieces of ancient computer hardware are going on the market. The first Macintosh Plus ever built is going on auction in October, and the owner of one of the last known Apple I units that were built by Steve Wozniak in his garage will be putting it for sale on eBay.

    The 1 MB Mac Plus, serial number F4200NUM0001, was built in 1986 and given as a gift by Wozniak and Jobs to Gene Roddenberry. The auction includes the keyboard, external DS/DD 3.5" floppy drive and the padded carrying case. They're estimating a price of $800 - $1200, which is about half what it sold for new. No indication of whether AppleCare is available for this model.

    The Plus was the first Mac to support SCSI, which would be standard on all Apple computers until 1998. The capability to extend storage beyond the floppy drives was no small innovation: back in the day, Word came on two disks. When it needed code on the other disk, and if your data was on a third disk, you had to eject and swap back and forth. It was awesome.

    Meanwhile, an "82-year-old antique" computer enthusiast wrote into David Einstein's Computing Q&A column on SFGate.com to say he's selling his vintage 1976 Apple I, one of 30 to 50 of the original 200 or so handbuilt by Stephen Wozniak that are thought to still exist.

    The MOS 6502-based computer was distinctive for the time, because you bought it as a fully-populated board rather than a pile of chips. Add a keyboard and a TV, and you were ready to go. The [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800"],[/ame] (Intel 8080-based precursor of the PC/DOS/Windows family), by comparison, had to be programmed by throwing switches, and it talked to you through a row of LEDs.

    When the Apple I first went on sale in July 1976 it was priced at $666.66, because Woz thought it "would be easier to type." Though someone auctioned off an Apple I for $50,000 at auction in 1999, Einstein suggests that $14,000–$16,000 is a reasonable price to expect for it.
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