Apple IIGS
Introduced:September 1986
Discontinued:December 1992
Price:US $999 without monitor
US $1498 with RGB monitor
CPU:WDC 65C816 @ 1.0 or 2.8MHz
RAM:256K, 8Meg max
Display:text: 80 X 24 maximum
graphics: 640 X 200, 16 colors max
Ports:2 serial, ADB (Apple Desktop Bus)
External floppy port, joystick port
RGB and composite video output
Expansion:7 internal slots
Storage:External 800K 3.5-inch disk drive
OS:Apple GUI, ProDOS

Released on Apple's 10th anniversary, the first 10,000 Apple IIGS computers (GS = graphics + sound) have the signature of "Woz" on the front. Woz is Steve Wozniak, who single-handedly designed the first Apple computers, the Apple I and the Apple II.

The IIGS is a continuation of the earlier Apple II computer line, and is designed to be backwards compatible with Apple II software and hardware. The IIGS CPU even has built-in MOS 6502 emulation, which is the CPU in the Apple II line of computers.

The IIGS was the first Apple computer system to utilize the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB). The ABD is a low-speed bi-directional serial bus that connects input devices, such as keyboards, mouse devices, and graphics tablets to the IIGS. It was later incorporated into the Macintosh line of computers, from the Macintosh II and up. ADB was eventually phased-out in favor of the more standardized USB (Universal Serial Bus) in the late 90's.

As the Apple with the best color graphics, the IIGS also has the best sound. It utilizes an Ensoniq sound chip, which has an entire 64K of RAM dedicated to it and is capable of playing 15 simultaneous sounds.

The IIGS has a GUI (graphic user interface) in 16 colors (up to 4096 colors in special graphics modes), a slow but powerful 16 bit CPU, great sound, and was loved by Apple fans everywhere. Sounds like a success - but by this time Apple was spending all its time and effort marketing the Macintosh line of computers, and the IIGS died a slow and uneventful death.

Ever since the Macintosh in 1984, Apple has focused on making small computers, sometimes too small. Few computers cost as much as a IIGS, while having no built-in floppy drive or other type of data storage.

In any case, seen here is my maxed-out Apple IIGS, with barely room left for air flow!

Expansion slots from left to right:
  1. empty
  2. Computer Eyes - video digitizer, from Digital Vision Inc.
  3. Zip GSX (ver 1.0) - processor accelerator, from ZIP Technology.
  4. Sonic Blaster - stereo playback and recording card, from Applied Engineering.
  5. Apple II 3.5 disk controller, from Apple.
  6. empty
  7. Apple II High Speed SCSI card, from Apple.
  8. RAMkeeper, from Applied Engineering with GS-RAM Plus memory card.

Easter Egg: The IIGS with ROM version 3 has an audio recording built-in. Upon booting, when you see the "Open Apple" move back and forth on the screen, press <Control> <Open Apple> <Option> <N>. You will hear the IIGS design team shouting "Apple 2". Apple Museum has an actual sound sample on their IIGS page that you can listen to.

On older sytems with ROM version 1, you will see developers credits.

Related Links

  • Apple IIGS from The Unofficial, Unauthorized, Apple Online Museum
  • Connect your Apple IIgs to the Internet
  • Apple IIGS from

  • History of the Apple Computer Corporation

    • 1973: Stephen Wozniak joins Hewlett Packard.
    • 1976: Wozniak proposes that HP create a personal computer. He is rejected.
    • 1976: March - Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs finish work on a computer circuit board, that they call the Apple I computer.
    • 1976: April - Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak form the Apple Computer Company, on April Fool's Day.
    • 1976: July - The Apple I computer board is sold in kit form, and delivered to stores by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Price: US$666.66.
    • 1976: August - Steve Wozniak begins work on the Apple II.
    • 1976: October - Wozniak remains at HP, but is soon convinced that he should leave and join Apple Computer.
    • 1976: December - Steve Wozniak and Randy Wigginton demonstrate the first prototype Apple II at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting.
    • 1977: March - Apple Computer moves from Jobs' garage to an office in Cupertino.
    • 1977: April - Apple Computer delivers its first Apple II system, for $1295.
    • 1977: May - 10 months after its introduction, 175 Apple I kits have sold.
    • 1978: Apple Computer begins work on an enhanced Apple II with custom chips, code-named Annie.
    • 1978: Apple Computer begins work on a supercomputer with a bit-sliced architecture, code-named Lisa.
    • 1979: June - Apple Computer introduces the Apple II Plus, with 48KB memory, for US$1195.
    • 1979: September - Apple Computer sells 35,000 Apple II computers for the fiscal year.
    • 1979: October - 2.5 years after the introduction of the Apple II, 50,000 units have been sold.
    • 1979: Apple Computer begins work on "Sara", the code name for what will be the Apple III.
    • 1980: May - Apple Computer introduces the Apple III. Price ranges from US$4500 to US$8000.
    • 1980: September - Apple Computer sells over 78,000 Apple II computers during the fiscal year.
    • 1980: Apple Computer ships the first Apple III units in limited quantity.
    • 1980: Apple Computer begins project "Diana", which would become the Apple IIe.
    • 1981: September - Apple Computer introduces its first hard drive, the 5MB ProFile, for US$3499.
    • 1981: Apple Computer officially reintroduces the Apple III, with improved software and a hard disk.
    • 1982: Sales of Apple II Plus to date: 45,000.
    • 1982: Sales of all Apple II systems to date: 750,000.
    • 1982: Apple Computer becomes the first personal computer company to reach US$1 billion in annual sales.
    • 1982: Franklin Computer Corp. unveils the Franklin Ace 1000, the first legal (at the time) Apple II clone.
    • 1983: January - Apple Computer officially unveils the Lisa computer. Its initial price is US$10,000. During its entire lifetime, only 100,000 units are produced.
    • 1983: January - Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIe for US$1400.
    • 1983: June - The one millionth Apple II is made.
    • 1983: June - Apple Computer begins shipping the Lisa.
    • 1983: June - Video Technology introduces the Laser 3000, an Apple II workalike microcomputer.
    • 1983: June - Unitronics shows the Sonic, an Apple II workalike microcomputer.
    • 1983: July - Apple Computer officially begins marketing the Lisa computer.
    • 1983: December - Apple Computer introduces the redesigned Apple III as the Apple III+, for US$3000.
    • 1983: December - Apple unveils the new Macintosh to the press.
    • 1983: Franklin shows an operating Franklin Ace 1200 Apple II compatible for US$2200.
    • 1984: January - Apple releases a new version of the Lisa computer, the Lisa 2. It uses all new software, as well as the Macintosh operating system.
    • 1984: January - Apple Computer's Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Macintosh.
    • 1984: April - Apple Computer unveils the Apple IIc, priced at US$1300.
    • 1984: April - Apple Computer retires the Apple III and Apple III+, with only 65,000 units sold in total (90,000 made).
    • 1984: May - Apple Computer announces that 70,000 Macintosh computers have been shipped in the first 100 days since its announcement.
    • 1984: September - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh 512K for US$3200.
    • 1984: November - The 2 millionth Apple II computer is sold.
    • 1984: Apple sells the 250,000th Macintosh system.
    • 1985: January - Apple Computer officially renames the Lisa the Macintosh XL.
    • 1985: March - Apple Computer introduces the Apple Enhanced IIe.
    • 1985: April - The Macintosh XL (formerly called Lisa) is dropped from Apple Computer's product line.
    • 1986: January - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Plus. Price is US$2600.
    • 1986: April - Apple Computer discontinues the original Macintosh and the Macintosh 512K.
    • 1986: April - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh 512K Enhanced, for US$2000.
    • 1986: July - Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh XL.
    • 1986: September - Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIGS, with the Apple 3.5 drive, for US$1000.
    • 1987: January - Apple Computer introduces the Apple Platinum IIe.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer introduces the open architecture Macintosh II, US$3900.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer makes its 1 millionth Macintosh personal computer.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer introduces the expandable Macintosh SE for US$2900.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh 512K Enhanced.
    • 1987: Apple Computer begins shipping the Macintosh II.
    • 1988: September - Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIc Plus for US$1100.
    • 1988: September - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh IIx computer, base price is US$7770.
    • 1989: January - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh SE/30, US$6500.
    • 1989: September - Apple Computer announces the Macintosh Portable, for US$6500.
    • 1989: September - Apple Computer announces the Macintosh IIci, for about US$8700.
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

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