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By Jason Snell for Macworld
I first touched an Apple product in the early 1980s. The father of my best friend in elementary school was a technology enthusiast, and when I visited their house, I got to lay hands on their Apple II+. What I remember most about it was that you could play video games on it that were more sophisticated than anything you’d find on the Atari console I had at home.
The other oddity about the Apple II+ was that it couldn’t display lowercase letters. Throughout the 1980s, we could identify Apple II+ users on message boards BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS TYPED LIKE THEY WERE SHOUTING. It wasn’t them; it was their computer.
The Apple II captured my attention and started a lifelong connection with Apple products. We had them at school, of course, and my friends and I spent hours of recess and lunch and after school playing Ultima and SSI Computer Baseball and countless other games on the school computers. In early 1984 my parents allowed me to dip into the money they were saving for me to go to college-a bold move since I wasn’t yet in high school!-and buy an Apple IIe.
The IIe was a big update from the II+, with support for both upper and lower case characters, and it could fit 80 characters per line. Or to put it another way,
LIFE WITH AN APPLE II+ MEANT THAT LINES WERE SHORT AND
LOUD, LIKE A SHOUTING PERSON WITH A BREATHING PROBLEM.
Life with an Apple IIe was more elegant. Both kinds of letters, and long lines.