Plus: The Macintosh Plus

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From Google+ monday to plus-size models yesterday, we move to the Macintosh Plus computer, which came out in 1986. This one is particularly close to me because it was one of the first computers I ever used. I know, I know, showing my age here, but that's what my computer lab at school had - and in those days, it was something special! With 1MB internal RAM standard, it was a big jump over the previous Mac, which only came with 512K.

I don't know how much my University paid—they probably got a whole pantload of them at a discount—but the average person had to shell out about $2,500 for the first Mac ever to include an SCSI port, which opened up a whole new world of peripherals. It was also the first Apple to use the double-sided 3.5 floppy disc, which doubled the external memory from 400KB to 800KB.

It was also the last of its kind in many respects. How so? Well, it was the last Mac to use that twisty phone cord to plug in the keyboard. It was also the last Apple to use the VGA-esque D9 connector cable for the mouse. All Macs that came after it used the newer 4-pin Apple desktop bus connector.

Even though the Mac SEs came out the following year, the Plus stayed in production as the cheaper alternative to the news computers for 4 years, which is pretty long in digital life-cycles. Also here's something you probably didn't know: According to WIKI, Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint were actually developed and released first for the Macintosh, and similarly Microsoft Word 1 for Macintosh was the first time a GUI version of that software was introduced on any personal computer platform. In fact, it seems that the exclusive availability of Excel and PageMaker on the Macintosh were noticeable drivers of sales for the platform. Hard to believe, right?

For me, personally, spending long nights in the computer lab, the Macintosh Plus was a love affair right from the start. I remember writing some of my first fiction on it, as well as my first songs and using MacPaint to doodle up artwork for the covers of tape demos I was producing. How about you all? Any fond memories of the Plus or any of the early Macs? Leave your comments below and start the discussion!

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July 13, 2011 - 12:29pm
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