This weekend, I learned of a pair of Apple computer models that I didn’t know existed before.
As an Apple fan, I knew about the original Apple computer, the Apple // series, the Apple ///, the Lisa, and, obviously, the Macintosh line.
I was surprised to learn was that were two Apple computers that I didn’t realize existed before this weekend: the Apple /// Plus and the Lisa 2.
You can be excused, if like me, you have no recollection of either of these two niche machines.
Apple /// Plus
The Apple /// Plus, released in December 1993, just a month before the original Macintosh, with a base price of $2,995 according to Wikipedia. The original Apple /// suffered from overheating and ran afoul of FCC regulations relating to the about of radio-frequency interference. As a result, Apple was required to make adjustments to the Apple /// and rebranded the revision as the Apple /// Plus. Owners of an original Apple /// were able to purchase upgrade kits, including logic board upgrade kit and a keyboard upgrade kit that included a new keyboard and encoder ROM, and a new faceplate badge. These upgrades needed to be installed by an authorized repair technician.
Apple Lisa 2
The Apple Lisa 2, released along side of the original Macintosh in January 1984, was a revision to the Lisa. Lisa 2 switched from the Apple II-style Twiggy 5.25-inch floppy disk drive to the same Sony 400KB 3.5-inch floppy drive used in the original Macintosh. Other upgrades included boot and I/O ROM replacement chips, and had RAM options of 512KB, 1MB, or 2MB. With the Lisa 2 having been released one year earlier, Apple offered free upgrades to the Lisa 2/5 – a Lisa 2 with a bundled 5MB hard disk. As with the Apple /// Plus, the Lisa to Lisa 2 upgrade needed to be done by an authorized technician. Lisa 2 PCs remained on sale until August 1996. The last version of the Lisa operating system was known as Lisa Office System 3.1.
Apple Macintosh XL
A year later, in 1985, the Lisa 2/10 configuration was rebranded as the Macintosh XL. As with the original Lisa, the Lisa 2 was given an upgrade kit that changed some of the internal hardware and software. Upgraded Lisa 2s were then able to boot into Macintosh mode, running a version of the system software known as MacWorks XL (with Macintosh System Software 1.1 support). The Macintosh XL’s final system software version was MacWorks Plus II (with support for Macintosh System Software 7.5.5 support).
Unlike it’s siblings, the Lisa and the Lisa 2, the Macintosh XL was on sale for just four months, launching in January 1995 and then being officially discontinued in April 1985. It would be eight months before Apple released it’s next all-in-one compact computer; the Macintosh Plus.