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Apple III

Just a few pictures and words about my Apple III system -- probably the least loved computer that Apple have ever made. I can't even find any consistent manufacturing dates for it...

The hardware is a development from the original Apple II series, retaining the 8 bit 6502 processor but speeding it up a bit. Unlike the Apple II or original IBM PC where you bought a computer and had to buy a floppy drive, disk controller card, 80 column card, serial card and parallel card to make it useful, the Apple III had all of the basic functionality built-in. The Apple III was essentially a system for the business user and Apple expected that users would invest in a Profile hard disk. Take a deep breath before you scroll down to look at the prices.

Significant features included:

The full specification is available from Apple Tech Info Library Article ID 6950.

Apple III system

May 1982 UK prices:

Basic Apple III plus (monochrome) Monitor III


Second floppy drive


5Mb Profile hard disk


(In 1992, you could buy a reconditioned Apple III with a brand new Monitor III for about 450 US dollars from Sun Remarketing.)

Apple III Profile drive

Inside the ProfileThe Profile drive was designed for Apple's business oriented systems -- the Apple III and the Lisa -- although it will also work with the Apple II. The Apple II and III require adapter cards which are quite difficult to obtain; the Lisa has a built-in Profile interface and can access more than one Profile if it is fitted with the parallel expansion card.

Click on the thumbnail image (left) to see what is inside the drive case.

Apple III software

SOS KitThe Apple III also had a new disk operating system, SOS, which officially stood for Sophisticated Operating System. Click on the thumbnail of the disk set (left) to view the larger image.

Note the supplementary disks for Apple II Emulation and for Business Basic. Variations in Basic and different Apple operating systems between the Apple II and III complicated the porting of programs. Apple II Emulation was limited and many programs, particularly games, would not run in this mode. This gave birth to add-in cards from Titan Technologies to provide more complete Apple II+ and IIe emulation.

The reverse of the SOS disk jacket has a neat profile view of the Apple III base unit.DiskIII Reverse

For basic office tasks, the Apple III is actually quite a nice computer to use. I don't have a great deal of Apple III software but Three EZ Pieces -- an integrated package with word processor, spreadsheet and database -- is pretty handy. This package was developed into AppleWorks for the Apple II family and many enthusiasts continue to write add-ons for it. The AppleWorks name lives on with new iMacs being supplied with an integrated package of that name (formerly Claris Works).


The Washington Apple Pi group maintains a library of software and support resources for the Apple III at UK readers with any spare Apple III hardware or software are encouraged to get in touch with me.

Copyright information: If you wish to use any images on these pages, please contact the author, Phil Beesley on