Apple //e and Cat (This Page)

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Third Party

Speed!

Redshift

ARM (and a 32 bit orphan)

Other 6502

 

Jef Raskin's Apple //e from Information Appliance 

This is Jef's personal //e with the prototype of the patented palm rest/carry handle that became part of the Swyft and was intended for the Canon Cat. Note the wood keys for a narrow space bar and wider OA/CA keys for Leaping. A Swyftcard is in slot 3 for autoboot of EDDE if a Swyft formatted disk is in a drive. If a non Swyft disk is found, processing is handed to the normal boot process. Typical configuration for this setup included a drive controller card and a printer card. The Apple 80 column card is required.

 

 

 

The palm rest easily attaches with the case screws under the front edge of the Apple. I still use this unit occasionally. The Apple //e has an excellent sculpted keyboard that is far more typing friendly than the IBM style (German DIN) keyboard.

 

The Swyftware is entirely contained in the ROM on the Swyftcard. This hardware intercepts the startup process and checks for a Swyft disk in a drive. The Swyftware takes advantage of the Apple disk controller IWM (Integrated Woz Machine) that allows total control of the read/write head electronics. A special format was developed so that Swyft disks can not be recognized by the normal boot process or read/written by standard software.

 A cut down version of the card was used in-house and sometimes sent out for evaluations.

It all culminated in the Swyft and the commercial Canon version called the Canon Cat. The 9" Swyft with its patented palm rest/carry handle was very handy and my favorite. The door hides a 3.25" floppy but was built originally to take the 5.25". Prices were changing so fast that it was hard to keep up with the best choices.

 

 

The Swyft was built for us by a Korean company. The only shortcoming had to do with manufacturing. The Korean company insisted beyond all reason on using certain video circuits or design tradeoffs that our designer (the same person who designed all of Apple's Mac video circuits) did not approve. As a result, a working Swyft is very hard to find. This one will start up briefly before the video power supply emits a high pitched whine and processing and video display quits. I should fix it one of these days.

 

 

The Swyft is smaller and has a more robust appearance and feel than Cat.

 

 

We tested a full complement in a writing class in the San Jose School District. Due to the very short learning curve and no mouse, they proved a huge success.

 

 

Eventually Canon (the typewriter division?) bought the design and the large number of discrete logic components became a few gate arrays.

 

The Cat had superior video circuitry but due to the short production run of 10 or 15 thousand (accounts differ), the bugs were not worked out and the Cat suffered a higher than expected video failure rate. I have one that works perfectly and one with video readout with odd or even lines missing.