Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Some Progress, Some Distraction

I spent some time last week working on a Google Sketchup rendition of my hypothetical Apple IIb. The idea is to solve some of the problems with the Apple II+ as a incremental update. It is clear from the Apple II+ design that some of these fixes were deliberately removed from the design late in the process, possibly to keep cost down and possibly because the Apple III was on the horizon. For instance, the odd keyboard decoder arrangement and missing switch clearly contemplated lowercase and a keypad, but the final design did not include either. Here are my specs:
  • 80 columns. This is difficult without a full terminal card, which was how most Apple II+s were upgraded.
  • Upper/lower case keyboard. Shouldn't be too hard, other than a new character ROM.
  • Separate keyboard with numeric keypad. This didn't catch on until after the Apple III, but it should be a relatively easy addition.
  • Integrated disk drives.
  • Integrated monitor. I'm indifferent here. Although I really think the Tandy TRS-80 Model III and Apple Lisa are some of the best looking retro computers.
  • Two serial ports, and a parallel port. This just requires a few expansion cards.
So, mostly a standardized, well equipped, Apple II+ with a few conveniences we have come to expect. Here is my first rendering with elements borrowed from Lisa I and Apple IIe Google Sketchups:
So, that's the progress. The distraction is work on my Apple IIGS Upgrade. Rather than take on another project (Apple II+ logic board), I decided to dive head first into fixing the IIGS. After replacing some of my previous repairs with copper tape, and a lot of soldering, it looks pretty good. The solder mask is curing under UV light, so I will have pictures tomorrow.

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