The Apple IIe in the Annals of History

Apple IIe

By Simon Naylor
May 5, 2020

The Apple IIe was the Apple II’s mid-life rejuvenation to an already wildly successful computer for the masses. Why would Apple do this? To sell to schools and researchers to get people used to Apple technology at a time when computers were expensive. The “e” stands for the enhanced version of the Apple II. 1 What this meant was that the machine was simplified with more modern technology. This simplification made the machine faster and more up to date, but more importantly, it made it strong and rugged. 2 The off-white shell of the rhombus case was now perfect for rougher environments such as around a bunch of kids as well as in laboratories.

Apple was in the forefront of getting their devices into the hands of the younger generations regardless of income. Where do you create such an environment? Schools. Apple started marketing to schools at a discount to not only educate students on computers, but to get them familiar with the brand itself. 3

These rugged machines were good for kids, but also amazing in laboratories. The new “enhanced” hardware was very good at processing lab results, so it made it into many research papers as a quiet hero. To name some examples, there are many sets of instructions still on the internet today on how to program the Apple IIe to do research-related stuff such as quickly analyzing DNA sequences from 1986! 4 At the end of the day, Apple succeeded in what they wanted to do. They saw a generation that would have to use computers for everyday life in the future, and introduced them to Apple first, before any competitors could really do the same. This allowed Apple to stay in business and become the company it is today.

  1. Robin Moore, “Apple’s Enhanced Computer, the Apple IIe,” Byte Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 02 (February 1983), 68, https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine-1983-02/mode/2up/search/IIe.

  2. “Apple IIe,” Old-Computers.com, https://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=83&st=1.

  3. Doug and Denise Green, "Apple IIe: New, Enhanced Version of the Apple II," InfoWorld, Vol. 5, No. 30 (July 25, 1983), 49-52, https://books.google.com/books?id=9S8EAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA4&ots=jrljP-7wgd&pg=PA49#v=onepage&q&f=false.

  4. Christian Marck, “Fast Analysis of DNA And Protein Sequence on Apple IIe: Restriction Sites Search, Alignment of Short Sequence and Dot Matrix Analysis,” Nucleic Acids Research 14, no. 1 (1986): 583, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/14.1.583. ?