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The APPLE III (often styled as APPLE ///) is a business-oriented personal computer produced and released by Apple Computer in 1980. It was intended as the successor to the Apple II
Apple II
series , but was largely considered a failure in the market.

Development work on the Apple III
Apple III
started in late 1978 under the guidance of Dr. Wendell Sander. It had the internal code name of "Sara", named after Sander's daughter. The machine was first announced and released on May 19, 1980, but due to serious stability issues that required a design overhaul and a recall of existing machines, it was formally reintroduced in the second half of 1981. Development stopped and the Apple III
Apple III
was discontinued on April 24, 1984, and its last successor—the III Plus, was dropped from the Apple product line in September 1985.

The Apple III
Apple III
could be viewed as an enhanced Apple II
Apple II
– then the newest heir to a line of 8-bit machines dating back to 1976. However, the Apple III
Apple III
was not part of the Apple II
Apple II
line, but rather a close cousin. The key features business users wanted in a personal computer were a true typewriter-style upper/lowercase keyboard (as opposed to the Apple II, which only supported uppercase letters) and 80-column display. In addition, the machine had to pass U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) radio frequency interference (RFI) qualifications for business equipment. In 1981, International Business Machines (IBM) unveiled the IBM Personal Computer (IBM PC) – a completely new 16-bit design soon available in a wide range of inexpensive clones. The business market moved rapidly towards the PC DOS / MS-DOS platform, eventually pulling away from the Apple 8-bit computer line.

After numerous stability issues and a recall that included the first 14,000 units from the assembly line, Apple was eventually able to produce a reliable version of the machine. However, damage to the computer's reputation had already been done and it failed to do well commercially as a direct result. In the end, an estimated 65,000–75,000 Apple III
Apple III
computers were sold. The Apple III
Apple III
Plus brought this up to approximately 120,000. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak stated that the primary reason for the Apple III's failure was that the system was designed by Apple's marketing department, unlike Apple's previous engineering-driven projects. The Apple III's failure led to Apple reevaluating their plan to phase out the Apple II, and eventual continuation of development of the older machine. As a result, later Apple II
Apple II
models incorporated some hardware, such as the Apple Scribe Printer, a thermal printer, and software technologies of the Apple III.

CONTENTS

* 1 Timeline of Apple II
Apple II
family models

* 2 Overview

* 2.1 Design * 2.2 Software * 2.3 Peripherals

* 2.4 Revisions

* 2.4.1 Apple III Plus

* 3 Design flaws

* 4 Reception

* 4.1 Commercial failure * 4.2 Legacy * 4.3 In popular culture

* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links

TIMELINE OF APPLE II FAMILY MODELS

See also: Timeline of the Apple II
Apple II
family See also: Timeline of Macintosh models and Timeline of Apple Inc. products

OVERVIEW

DESIGN

The Apple III
Apple III
was designed to be a business computer and an eventual successor for the Apple II. While the Apple II
Apple II
contributed to the inspirations of several important business products, such as VisiCalc , Multiplan and Apple Writer , the computer's hardware architecture, operating system and developer environment were limited. The Apple III addressed these weaknesses. According to Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak
, VisiCalc and Disk II had caused the Apple II's popularity, with 90% of sales going to businesses as opposed to the hobbyists that were its original market. Apple management intended to clearly establish market segmentation by designing the Apple III
Apple III
to appeal to the business market, leaving the Apple II
Apple II
to home and education users. Management believed that "once the Apple III
Apple III
was out, the Apple II
Apple II
would stop selling in six months", Wozniak said.

The Apple III
Apple III
is powered by a 1.8 MHz Synertek 6502A or B 8-bit CPU and, like some of the later machines in the Apple II
Apple II
family, uses bank switching techniques to address memory beyond the 6502's traditional 64KB limit, up to 256 K in the IIIs case. Third-party vendors also produced memory upgrade kits that allow the Apple III
Apple III
to reach up to 512 KB. Other Apple III
Apple III
built-in features include an 80-column, 24-line display with upper and lowercase characters, a numeric keypad, dual-speed (pressure-sensitive) cursor control keys, 6-bit (DAC) audio, and a built-in 140 KB 5.25" floppy disk drive. Graphics modes include 560x192 in black and white, and 280x192 with 16 colors or shades of gray. Unlike the Apple II, the Disk III controller is part of the logic board.

The Apple III
Apple III
is the first Apple product to allow the user to choose both a screen font and a keyboard layout: either QWERTY
QWERTY
or Dvorak . These choices can not be changed while programs were running, unlike the Apple IIc , which has a keyboard switch directly above the keyboard, allowing switching on the fly.

SOFTWARE

An advertisement for access to health information through the Apple III
Apple III

A major limitation of the Apple II
Apple II
and DOS 3.3 is the way it addresses resources, which makes it highly desirable for peripherals to be installed in standardized locations (slot 5 and 6 reserved for storage devices, slot 2 reserved for serial communication interfaces, etc.) This forces the user to identify a peripheral by its physical location, such as PR#6, CATALOG, D1, and so on. The Apple III introduced an advanced operating system called Apple SOS , pronounced "apple sauce". Its ability to address resources by name instead of a physical location allows the Apple III
Apple III
to be more scalable than the Apple II. Apple SOS also allows the full capacity of a storage device to be used as a single volume, such as the Apple Pro File
File
hard disk drive. Also, Apple SOS supports a hierarchical file system (HFS). Some of the features and code base of Apple SOS were migrated into the Apple II's ProDOS and GS/OS operating systems, as well as Lisa 7/7 and Macintosh
Macintosh
system software .

With a starting price between $4,340 to $7,800 US, the Apple III
Apple III
was more expensive than many of the CP/M -based business computers that were available at the time. Little Apple III
Apple III
software was available besides VisiCalc, and because Apple did not view the Apple III
Apple III
as suitable for hobbyists, it did not provide much of the technical software information that accompanied the Apple II. Originally intended as a direct replacement to the Apple II
Apple II
series, it was designed to be backward compatible with Apple II
Apple II
software. However, since Apple did not want to encourage continued development of the II platform, Apple II
Apple II
compatibility existed only in a special "Apple II Mode" which was limited in its capabilities to the emulation of a basic 48 KB Apple II+ configuration. Special
Special
chips were intentionally added to prevent access to the III's advanced features such as its larger memory.

PERIPHERALS

The Apple III
Apple III
has four expansion slots, a number that inCider in 1986 called "miserly". Apple II
Apple II
cards are compatible but risk violating government RFI regulations, and require Apple III-specific device drivers; BYTE stated that "Apple provides virtually no information on how to write them". As with software, Apple provided little hardware technical information with the computer but Apple III-specific products became available, such as one that made the computer compatible with the Apple IIe . Several new Apple-produced peripherals were developed for the Apple III. The original Apple III has a built-in real-time clock, which is recognized by Apple SOS. The clock was later removed from the "revised" model, and instead was made available as an add-on.

Along with the built-in floppy drive, the Apple III
Apple III
can also handle up to three additional external Disk III floppy disk drives. The Disk III is only officially compatible with the Apple III. The Apple III Plus requires an adaptor from Apple to use the Disk III with its DB-25 disk port.

With the introduction of the revised Apple III
Apple III
a year after launch, Apple began offering the Pro File
File
external hard disk system. Costing US$3499 for 5MB, it also required a peripheral slot for the ProFile controller card.

REVISIONS

Apple III Plus

Once the logic board design flaws were discovered, a newer logic board design was produced – which includes a lower power requirement, wider traces, and better designed chip sockets. The $3,495 revised model also includes 256 KiB RAM as a standard configuration. The 14,000 units of the original Apple III
Apple III
sold were returned and replaced with the entirely new revised model.

Apple III
Apple III
Plus

Apple discontinued the III in October 1983 because it violated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, and the FCC required the company to change the redesigned computer's name. It introduced the APPLE III PLUS in December 1983 at a price of US$2995. This newer version includes a built-in clock, video interlacing, standardized rear port connectors, 55-watt power supply, 256 KiB RAM as standard, and a redesigned, IIe-like keyboard.

Owners of the Apple III
Apple III
could purchase individual III Plus upgrades, like the clock and interlacing feature, and obtain the newer logic board as a service replacement. A keyboard upgrade kit, dubbed "Apple III Plus upgrade kit" was also made available – which included the keyboard, cover, keyboard encoder ROM, and logo replacements. This upgrade had to be installed by an authorized service technician.

DESIGN FLAWS

According to Wozniak, the Apple III
Apple III
"had 100 percent hardware failures". Former Apple executive Taylor Pohlman recalled this:

There was way too short a time frame in manufacturing and development. When the decision was made to announce, there were only three Apple IIIs in existence, and they were all wire-wrapped boards.

The case of the Apple III
Apple III
had long since been set in concrete, so they had a certain size logic board to fit the circuits on ... They went to three different outside houses and nobody could get a layout that would fit on the board.

They used the smallest line circuit boards that could be used. They ran about 1,000 of these boards as preproduction units to give to the dealers as demonstration units. They really didn't work ... Apple swapped out the boards. The problem was, at this point there were other problems, things like chips that didn't fit. There were a million problems that you would normally take care of when you do your preproduction and pilot run. Basically, customers were shipped the pilot run.

Steve Jobs insisted on the idea of no fan or air vents, in order to make the computer run quietly. Jobs would later push this same ideology onto almost all Apple models he had control of, from the Apple Lisa
Apple Lisa
and Macintosh 128K to the iMac . To allow the computer to dissipate heat, the base of the Apple III
Apple III
was made of heavy cast aluminum, which supposedly acts as a heat sink. One undeniable advantage to the aluminum case was a reduction in RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), a problem which had plagued the Apple II
Apple II
series throughout its history. Unlike the Apple II
Apple II
series, the power supply was mounted – without its own shell – in a compartment separate from the logic board. The decision to use an aluminum shell ultimately led to engineering issues which resulted in the Apple III's reliability problems. The lead time for manufacturing the shells was high, and this had to be done before the motherboard was finalized. Later it was realized that there wasn't enough room on the motherboard for all of the components unless narrow traces were used. Apple III Plus showing the RFI shield over the floppy drive and the cast aluminum case

Many Apple IIIs were thought to have failed due to their inability to properly dissipate heat. inCider stated in 1986 that "Heat has always been a formidable enemy of the Apple ///", and some users reported that their Apple IIIs became so hot that the chips started dislodging from the board, causing the screen to display garbled data or their disk to come out of the slot "melted". BYTE wrote, "the integrated circuits tended to wander out of their sockets ". Apple advised customers to tilt the front of the Apple III
Apple III
six inches above the desk, and then drop it to reseat the chips. Other analyses blame a faulty automatic chip insertion process, not heat.

Case designer Jerry Manock denied the design flaw charges, stating that tests proved that the unit adequately dissipated the internal heat. The primary cause, he claimed, was a major logic board design problem. The logic board used "fineline" technology that was not fully mature at the time, with narrow, closely spaced traces. When chips were "stuffed" into the board and wave-soldered , solder bridges would form between traces that were not supposed to be connected. This caused numerous short circuits, which required hours of costly diagnosis and hand rework to fix. Apple designed a new circuit board, with more layers and normal-width traces. The new logic board was laid out by one designer on a huge drafting board, rather than using the costly CAD -CAM system used for the previous board, and the new design worked.

Earlier Apple III
Apple III
units came with a built-in real time clock. The hardware, however, would fail after prolonged use. Assuming that National Semiconductor would test all parts before shipping them, Apple did not perform this level of testing. Apple was soldering chips directly to boards, and could not easily change out a bad chip if one was found. Eventually, Apple solved this problem by removing the real-time clock from the Apple III's specification rather than shipping the Apple III
Apple III
with the clock pre-installed, and then sold the peripheral as a level 1 technician add-on.

RECEPTION

COMMERCIAL FAILURE

The Apple III's technical problems made marketing the computer difficult. One distributor's representative described the computer as "a complete disaster", recalling that he "was responsible for going to every dealership, setting up the Apple III
Apple III
in their showroom, and then explaining to them the functions of the Apple III, which in many cases didn’t really work". Pohlman stated that Apple was only selling 500 units a month by late 1981, mostly as replacements. The company was able to raise monthly sales to 5,000, but the IBM PC 's successful launch encouraged software companies to develop for it instead, causing Apple to shift focus to the Lisa and Macintosh. By early 1984 sales were only to existing III owners, Apple itself—its 4500 employees had about 3000-4500 units—and some small businesses. Despite formerly devoting the majority of its R -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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Apple III
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Business Computer". The picture above is 07:31 into Side 1 of the CED movie TRON, where Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is using an