Introduced: September 1986
Terminated: December 1992
The Apple IIGS was the most powerful in the Apple line. It used a Western Design Center 65C816 processor to run at speeds of up to 2.8 Mhz. It had a 16-bit architecture and increased amounts of RAM-from 256KB to 1MB, which was upgradeable to 8MB. The Apple IIGS could take both 3.5” and 5.25” floppy disks. It had several expansion slots
The “GS” in the name stood for graphics and sound and the Apple IIGS was revolutionary in both. The graphics on the Apple IIGS were superior to any of the other Apple II computers and the GUI took advantage of the fact that the display could make use of an over 256-color palette. A built-in sound system had 32 channels of sound.
The software in the Apple IIGS ran in two parts. The first was 8-bit software that was backwards compatible with the other Apple II line products. The second was 16-bit software that used a GUI that was very similar to that found in the Macintosh line.
The Apple IIGS was the last in the line of Apple II computers. With its color display and Macintosh-like GUI, it was a powerful computer that could be expanded in many ways. The Apple IIGS was a kind of hybrid between the other Apple II computers and the new Macintosh line.
Although it was a powerful machine with many excellent features, Apple was, by this point, focusing most of their energy on the Macintosh line. This meant that there was little in the way of new software programs. The base price of $999 included the CPU, the keyboard and mouse. The display and external disk drives had to be purchased separately.
Interestingly, the Apple IIGS marked the first and only time that Apple used a music synthesizer chip because doing so brought a lawsuit from the Beatles’ Apple Records company. In subsequent computers, Apple would use software-based music synthesizers.
CPU 65C816, 2.8 MHz
RAM 256 KB or 1 MB (expandable up to 8 MB),
OS ProDOS, GS/OS
Although sales were initially strong for the Apple IIGS when it was released in September of 1986, Apple had shifted its focus to the Macintosh line and did not release programs that would have made the Apple IIGS a success. The line was discontinued in December 1992.