Apple Announces 68030 Macintosh IIx With High Density Compatible Drive
By John Cook and Carol Cochrane
September 19, 1988
Cupertino, CA -- Apple Computer Inc. Monday will introduce the Macintosh IIx computer, an extension to the company's highly successful Macintosh II line, during a press conference to be held at the Herbst Theatre.
Designed to provide the performance and flexibility to serve a variety of demanding applications, it is the first Macintosh II computer to use Motorola's 68030 microprocessor and its 68882 math co-processor. It is also the first Macintosh to provide a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive that can read and write to MS-DOS and Apple II formats.
The Macintosh II with its powerful 68020 microprocessor broke new ground in meeting users' needs for high-speed performance, color, sound, flexibility and expandability.
The Macintosh II has been widely accepted across the business, education and government markets as a platform capable of supporting a broad spectrum of advanced applications including productivity, desktop presentations and computer-aided design.
With the introduction of the Macintosh IIx, Apple has extended the functionality of the Macintosh II line in two significant areas -- performance and multi-vendor integration.
The combination of the 68030 microprocessor and 68882 math co- processor running at 16Mhz provides users with an additional 10 percent to 15 percent performance improvement over the Macintosh II.
In addition, virtually all Macintosh II- compatible software runs without modification on the Macintosh IIx.
The Macintosh IIx gains a new level of multi-vendor co-existence by incorporating Apple's new 1.44MB floppy disk drive (FDHD --floppy drive high density). The drive's capability to read and write MS- DOS, OS/2 and ProDOS files in conjunction with the Apple File Exchange utility enable Macintosh IIx users a convenient means of exchanging information between different computers.
"As our first 68030-based system," said Randy Battat, vice president of product marketing, "the Macintosh IIx is a significant step forward in the evolution of Macintosh technology. It reinforces the company's commitment to provide our customer with a smooth transition to higher performance.
"It advances efforts to integrate Apple's systems into multi- vendor environments and it provides A/UX users with increased performance and a built-in memory management unit."
Additionally, Battat said, "the Macintosh IIx underscores Apple's philosophy of consistently responding to customer needs by providing ongoing improvements to our technology."
The Macintosh IIx comes standard with a 1.44MB floppy disk drive, and its support circuitry. The system also comes standard with 4MB of RAM enabling users to run advanced applications while taking full advantage of capabilities of MultiFinder, Apple's multi- tasking operating system for the Macintosh.
The Macintosh IIx continues to use the outstanding features of Macintosh II, including its 256K ROM, high-resolution color, graphics, sound and NuBus. It also uses the SCSI interface which allows up to seven, high-speed peripheral devices to be daisy- chained to the system.
The microprocessor is a Motorola 68030 along with an 80-bit- precision 68882 math co-processor, both running with a 16MHz clock. The 68030 has separate 256-byte caches for data and instructions plus a built-in page memory management unit (PMMU) used by advanced multitasking operating systems such as A/UX.
The two caches speed up system operations by providing rapid access to the most recently used data and instructions. The new Motorola 68882 co-processor which shares the same instructional set as the 68881 and is capable of performing at up to two times the speed of the 68881.
Therefore, all software written to take advantage of the 68881 can automatically take advantage of the 68882. System ROMs have been mounted in SIMMs (single in-line memory modules), making the new system easier to service and configure.
"The Macintosh IIx is an evolutionary extension of the Macintosh line," said Charles M. Boesenberg, senior vice president of U.S. sales and marketing, "and will reinforce our position in key business and higher education markets.
"Our new FDHD answers our business customers' requests for easy access to MS-DOS and OS/2 documents and files. And the improved performance and the added capacity of the system have obvious benefits for advanced users in both the business and education markets."
Apple's new FDHD floppy disk drive can store 1.44MB of data on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. Along with the new controller chip, (SWIM, for Super Wozniak Integrated Machine) the drive can also read, write and format 400K and 800K disks from existing Macintosh computers and read files created under Apple II ProDOS operating system.
The FDHD can also read and write 3.5-inch MS-DOS or OS/2 diskettes, and with the help of Apple File Exchange (part of System 6.0.2) shipped with the Macintosh IIx, can transfer files to Macintosh disks. The new drive supports both 720KB and 1.44MB formats.
Many leading Macintosh applications can already read and write many of the popular MS-DOS file formats. A Microsoft Excel file, for instance, can read and write the .WKS format used by Lotus 1-2- 3.
Apple File Exchange, when used in conjunction with any of the available third-party translators, helps translate many of the other popular MS-DOS files into their Macintosh counterparts. Thus, users can take WordPerfect files from their Zenith portables and convert them to Word 3.0 documents on their Macintosh IIx.
The 1.44MB FDHD will also be available as an upgrade for Macintosh II owners later this year.
There are four upgrade levels for owners of Macintosh II computers:
-- A PMMU chip which provides upgraded memory management for Macintosh II computers, is available and in stock at Apple dealers. The PMMU chip is required for the A/UX operating system and will be used by future versions of the Macintosh operating system.
-- A 1.44MB Floppy Disk Drive Upgrade Kit for the Macintosh II, including drive, system ROMs and the SWIM chip, lets the user add an FDHD either as a replacement for their existing 800K drive or as a second drive. It will be available from dealers during the fourth calendar quarter.
--The Macintosh IIx Logic Board Upgrade Kit provides a Macintosh II user both the functionality associated with the built-in MMU and the improved performance associated with the 68030 and the 68882.
By replacing the logic board and adding the FDHD kit, a Macintosh II customer can achieve full system equivalence with the Macintosh IIx system.
A 4MB/80MB (RAM/Hard disk) Macintosh IIx system, including a mouse, System 6.0.2 (includes Apple File Exchange), HyperCard and all documentation has a suggested retail price of $9,369. A 4MB/FDHD system has a suggested retail price of $7,769.
Macintosh IIx systems will be available in quantity at Apple dealers in October.
The Logic Board Upgrade Kit will bear a suggested retail price of $2,199 and includes the trade-in of current logic board; the FDHD Upgrade Kit (includes new ROM chips as well as the SWIM chip) has a suggested retail price of $599; the PMMU chip is priced at $499.
Note: Apple, the Apple logo, Macintosh, A/UX , HyperCard and ProDOS are registered trademarks of Apple Computer Inc. FDHD and MultiFinder are trademarks of Apple Computer Inc. NuBus is a trademark of Texas Instruments. Microsoft and MS-DOS are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. dBase MAC is a trademark of Ashton- Tate. WordPerfect is a trademark of WordPerfect Corp.
Copyright Business Wire 1988