Background and Identification
The Apple IIe is the third model in Apple’s line of Apple II desktop computers. It shares the same flat box design and sloped keyboard as it’s predecessors, the original Apple II and the Apple II Plus; thus, the main differentiating feature of the IIe is that many of the discrete chips used on the previous models were consolidated into fewer custom-made chips. By reducing the number of chips on the motherboard from 120 to 31, Apple improved the reliability of the computer and lowered its cost to $1,395. Apple was not originally planning to make the Apple IIe, but decided to change their course after the failure of the overheating Apple III.
Apple also graced the Apple IIe with a few new features, including support for displaying all ASCII characters (upper and lowercase), two new Apple modifier keys on the keyboard, and auto-repeating keys. Inside, the IIe has 64 KB of memory as standard, with an auxiliary expansion slot that could allow you to install up to 1 MB of memory. Another use of this expansion slot was to add a 80-column text card, which would enable the IIe to display text on-screen with 80 characters side-by-side on a single line. Many of the chips in the IIe were socketed to allow the user to replace them if they went bad, but some machines produced later in the IIe’s lifespan had their chips soldered directly to the motherboard.
In 1985, Apple updated the IIe to the “Enhanced IIe.” This version had four different chips inside; most notably, Apple changed the processor from the 6502 to the slightly more advanced 65C02. Users could buy an upgrade kit with the four new chips to change their machine to the newer revision. The Enhanced IIe models are almost identical to the original IIe except that they have a small “Enhanced” or “65C02” sticker over the power light at the bottom of the keyboard.
You can identify the Apple IIe by looking for the badge that reads “Apple //e” on the upper case of the machine. Apple also released a platinum-colored version of the IIe in 1987. This revision has a built-in number pad to the right of the regular keyboard, and has the model name “Apple IIe” written directly on the plastic of the case.
- 6502 microprocessor
- or 65C02 microprocessor (only on the Enhanced IIe)
- 1.023 MHz
- 64 KB of memory (socketed or soldered on later units)
- Expandable up to 1 MB via a card in the first expansion slot
- 40 and 80 column text mode
- Low resolution: 40x48 with 16 colors
- Double low resolution: 80x48 with 16 colors (only after the revision B)
- High resolution: 280x192 with 6 colors
- Double high resolution: 560x192 with 6 colors (only after the revision B)
- Built-in speaker
- NTSC video output (via an RCA jack)
- 3.5 mm mono audio jack for cassette input
- 3.5 mm mono audio jack for cassette recording
- DE-9 joystick connector
- Internal game I/O socket
- Internal RF modulation video output (4-pin Molex)
- Internal numpad connector (11-pin Molex)
- One auxiliary slot (60 pins)
- Seven Apple II bus slots (50 pins)