The Apples We Never Knew


This recollection of my encounters with various early Apple Computer models will betray my age. Nevertheless, most people today only know Powerbooks, iMacs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads. How about these?

Model Year Introduced Description (click each picture to enlarge)
Apple I 1976  

I saw this first Apple only in pictures.

CPU: MOS 6502 @ 1 MHz; Memory: 4-48 KB; Video resolution 40X24 character display; Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold the printed circuit board.

Apple IIe 1983
My brother bought this for his kids, so I was able to use this for games and writing whenever I went to their house. 

CPU: MOS 65C02 @1 MHz; Memory: 64-128KB; 80-col display; up to 560×192 resolution; 2 5.25-in floppy drives


Lisa 1983
Apple Lisa with dual floppy drive and hard drive sitting on top of it.

Apple Lisa with dual floppy drive and hard drive sitting on top of it.

I remember that one of my co-workers at the engineering company I worked for in Alaska was so in love with this new thing, but he couldn’t afford the $9,995 price tag. By “coincidence,” Lisa was the name of Steve Jobs’ first daughter.

CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 5MHz; Memory: 1 MB; 80-col display; up to 560×192 resolution; 2 5.25-in floppy drives; 10 MB hard drive; 12″ monochrome monitor, 720X364 resolution; first commercial PC with graphical user interface (GUI)

Macintosh Classic 1983 My first full-time use of a Mac was this model when I worked for an environmental engineering company in Walnut Creek, CA. The first time I brought my office Mac home, our kids were in awe. They’ve never seen a computer that was packed in a bag!







CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 8MHz; Memory: 1-2 MB of RAM; a SuperDrive floppy; 40MB hard drive; Display: 9″ monochrome, 512X342

After two years of using Macs in that company, I knew why Mac people would say, “Once a Mac user, always a Mac user.” Even my kids ridiculed me, “Dad, why do you like Macs?”

iMac G3 1998 In 1999, when I was the computer manager for the newly-established Mindanao International Christian Academy in Davao, the school purchased several H-P PCs and, at the insistence of my Finnish Mac enthusiast, one iMac. His two kids were the only users of the iMac. I was excited to be able to use this amazing computer, with its hardware and OS years ahead of the PCs. 

CPU: 233 MHz PowerPC 750; Memory: 32 MB; HD: 4 GB; 24X CD-ROM; Display: 15-in 800X600 futuristic color

This was Steve Jobs’ first model after he returned to Apple, and was another pioneering model. It was Mac’s first all-in-one model, with no floppy drive, but only with a CD-ROM drive. This model returned Apple to profitability!

PowerMac G4 Cube 2000

This 8-inch cubic model was probably a take-off from the NEXT Computer which Steve Jobs founded and later merged with Apple. I only saw these in the Apple stores. Another intriguing, innovative design, but lasted only a little over a year.

CPU: 450 MHz or 500 MHz PowerPC G4 (7400/7410); RAM: 1-1.5 GB; HD: 20-60 GB; CD-ROM or CD-RW

iMac G4 2002 Of all Apple designs, I considered this the most out-of-this-world, with its 10.6″ half-sphere shape and stainless steel neck supporting a 15″ flat LCD display. I don’t know how I remember my Finnish friend introduced me to this one in 2001, when it was officially released in 2002. 

CPU: 800 MHz PowerPC 7445 (G4); 256 MB-1 GB RAM; 60 GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive; a SuperDrive; 1024X768 display

Mac Mini 2005

If there was ever a first Apple computer I was close to buying, it was this one. Sleek and pretty, 6X6X2 inches, I was thinking of using this as a desktop/notebook combo. It’s as portable as a notebook. Take it to the office or home and plug in the LCD, mouse and keyboard, and it’s a desktop! And at $599, it’s very affordable. But thanks to about 10 people, the Lord blessed me with a MacBook Pro!

CPU: 1.25 GHz or 1.42 GHz PowerPC G4; 40 or 80 GB HD; 256 MB RAM; DVD-RW

About Nollie

Associate Pastor of Trinity United Reformed Church in Walnut Creek, CA. Assigned as missionary to the Philippines. Lives just outside Metro Manila with wife and daughter. Three older boys live and work in CA.