INITIAL PRICE: $999, $1,998 in 2020
The Macintosh Classic is a personal computer manufactured by Apple Inc. The Classic was an adaptation of Jerry Manock’s and Terry Oyama’s 1984 Macintosh 128K industrial design, as had been the earlier Macintosh SE. Apple released two versions that ranged in price from $1,000 to $1,500. Reviewer reactions were mixed; most focused on the slow processor performance and lack of expansion slots. The consensus was that the Classic was only useful for word processing, spreadsheets and databases. The price and the availability of education software led to the Classic’s popularity in education. It was sold alongside the more powerful Macintosh Classic II in 1991 until its discontinuation the next year.
The Macintosh Classic was prompted by the success of the Macintosh Plus and the Macintosh SE. The system specifications of the Classic were very similar to its predecessors, with the same 9-inch (23 cm) monochrome CRT display, 512×342 pixel resolution, and up to 4 megabyte (MB) memory limit of the older Macintosh computers. Apple’s decision to not update the Classic with newer technology such as a 68010 CPU, higher RAM capacity or color display ensured compatibility with the Mac’s by-then healthy software base as well as enabled it to fit the lower price Apple intended for it. Nevertheless, the Classic featured several improvements over the aging Macintosh Plus, which it replaced as Apple’s low-end Mac computer. It was up to 25 percent faster than the Plus and included an Apple SuperDrive 3.5-inch (9 cm) floppy disk drive as standard.