Since the original Macintosh was released, Mac has had many commercial successes, and some of their computers came out to quite mixed reviews. Once of these with a reception that wasn’t completely warm was the somewhat short lived Macintosh Classic. This personal computer was released by April in October 1990.
The Macintosh Classic was the first time a Mac sold for less than $1,000, but there were variations that sold for more. The lower price (coupled with a supply of educational software available for sale) resulted in many educational institutions scooping up these systems. All in all, the price made this Mac more accessible to more people. The low price was probably the most exciting thing about the system. Now Macs were just as cost effective as MS-DOS systems, but many users were more comfortable using Macs. It was ideal for situations when many separate stations were needed, making ideal for computer labs for writing and basic productivity uses.
This system’s specs were not too different than the preceding systems. The Mac Classic featured a 9” monochrome CRT display that had 512 X 342 pixel resolution. The memory limit of 4 megabytes was similar to older Macs, and it had the CPU and RAM capacity of older models. The system’s processer caused performance to be slow, and there was a lack of performance slots so users were unable to further update their systems, but this lack of speed was known to be a tradeoff for the low price. Even though this became Apple’s new low end computer, there were some improvements over the Macintosh Plus, the system that was previously the cheapest of the Apple line. While slow, it was still faster, and it had a better standard floppy disk drive.
The Macintosh Classic was an adaptation of the Macintosh 128k industrial design. While some elements from the Macintosh SE design were visible, much of the design was reminiscent of the original Macintosh design. It also introduced a curved front bezel that would become a signature for Apple computers for much of the decades.
The Macintosh Classic’s lower end model had 1 MB of memory and no hard disk. The more advanced model had an additional 1 MB of memory and a 40 MB hard disk for $500 more. With an included Apple SuperDrive 3.5” floppy disk drive, the Mac Classic was now able to also read and write MS-DOS and other disks, opening up the abilities of the Mac Classic.
The Macintosh Classic wasn’t the fastest computer or the most advanced of the time, but the price point is what made it most attractive. For the price and the existing technology of the era, it was an excellent value, but Apple could have been well served if they had made it a bit faster. A short-lived release, this computer made computing more accessible to more people, helping to get its system into more hands, setting up brand loyalty that continues today for many.
Frederick is a blogger, interested in mac products, Site2You and social communities.