January 1, 1983 Apple is launching the Apple IIe, the third model in the Apple II series – and the last before the Macintosh will arrive a year later.
It proves to be a big seller and a positive proof of the sustainable value of the Apple II brand.
Apple IIe: An update that was never planned
Apple IIe has taken over Apple II Plus. Originally, Apple planned to leave the Apple II with that model and replace the Apple III product line. However, the continued popularity of the Apple II and the market failure of the Apple III – largely due to its high price and some obvious engineering flaws – prompted Apple to upgrade its proven hit product for another twist. (Eventually, Apple continued to produce some versions of the Apple II until the early 1990s.)
The Apple IIe has added some of the features that Apple II enthusiasts have already enjoyed as standard, thanks to an impressive number of slots to expand the new model. This includes support for text mode with 80 columns, 64 KB of RAM (expandable up to 128 KB) and, for the first time, lowercase letters!!
The number of chips on the motherboard also dropped from more than 100 to only 31. This enabled Apple to make more profit from every machine sold. In fact, the Apple IIe sold for about three times the cost of the production computer.
Critical and commercial success
The Apple IIe met with a great reception after its release. Byte the magazine described it as “like having an Apple II with all the built-in accessories … with a range of exciting new features and capabilities” for a small extra cost.
The computer showed strong sales in the market, ranging from 60,000 to 70,000 units per month until May 1983. This was about twice the average sales of its predecessor, the Apple II Plus. The Apple IIe continued to be the best-selling Apple II model even after Cupertino announced its successor, the Apple IIc, in 1984.
At a time when other Apple computers, Lisa (released the same month) and Apple III, failed to stop, and the Macintosh was still not a big seller, the Apple IIe was the undisputed winner.
Remember the Apple IIe? Did you have one? Let us know in the comments below.
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.