The Apple-1 Registry

List of all original Apple-1. If you are a first time visitor and not familiar with iconic Apple-1 computers, please read all the information first.

Go to previous entry #1   -   Go to next entry #3
Note: This is the 2th entry in the list and not the 2th Apple-1 produced. The Apple-1 does not have a serial number.

'Production prototype Computer A' Apple-1 - number 2 in the Registry

25 pictures published.

Version

Pre-production

Serial number, stamp, label

no number on the back

Location

USA

Verification

Existence verified. Known to registry caretaker or expert. Auction.

Condition

Not working

Website(s)

Article by Harry McCracken.
Auction in 2022.


Description

The image in McCracken's article shows a unique motherboard with some unique components.
From the image, it looks like originally that regulated + 12 and - 12 was provided to the edge connecter. The production unit supply unregulated +12 and -12 to the edge connector. Woz doesn't remember any of the details surrounding those changes.

The mainboard is very different from the production units. The 6800 area is populated. There is no switch board above the 74154. No connector. Orange capacitors. The logo is different. Chips are arranged the same way like in the production units but trace lines are very different. For unknown reason it was changed. According to screenshots the prototype was working.


From a historical point of view some very interesting facts were found in 2022 about the Apple-1 production prototype. Before the Apple-1, there was an ‘Apple Computer A’.

Paul Terrell (founder of the Byte Shop) gave Achim Baqué (curator of the Apple-1 Registry, a list of all Apple-1 computer) some information recently. Thanks to Paul’s support and his Polaroids of an early Apple-1 it was a great surprise to zoom into the pictures from 1976. The photos were taken when Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs first showed the Apple-1 to Paul at the Byte Shop. The Polaroids were already published in low resolution, but some characteristics were not noticed so far.

It was not easy to get even a tiny bit of information about the production prototype. Achim Baqué asked Woz, Wendel Sander, Bill Fernandez, Chris Espinosa, Daniel Kottke and Paul Terrell about the production prototype and got answers from all of them. It was not possible to clarify all open questions. Howard Cantin, the designer of the Apple-1 mainboard, may have some answers. Unfortunately, it was not possible to get in touch with him.

Confirming various assumptions took some time and a lot of research was needed. No one remember the prototype. We have only some pictures.
1. In the left center is on all Apple-1 the text “Apple Computer 1”. However, the prototype states "Apple Computer A © 76". This could be done to mark it as a prototype or maybe the idea was to name the final version this way? Woz doesn't remember why the name was changed.
2. It is an Apple 1 prototype with a different board layout than the later final production series. It was already clear earlier that there are some differences. Thanks to the detailed pictures by Paul Terrell, it is now clear that there are many differences. Some traces are different. There is just a very small jumper section in the middle (above the IC 74154). The small caps are the same used for the 2nd batch. And so on. Unfortunately, only the front side is known/visible.
3. The Apple-1 prototype has all the extra components of the 6800/6501 CPU instead of the 6502. Woz was sent a photo of the circuit board by the Apple-1 Registry in early 2012 and commented about the production prototype: “This Apple I below was probably about the first Apple I on an Apple PC board. I had left the 6800 space because it was needed for the $20 6501 instead of the $25 6502. The difference was strong clock driver transistors. Paul Terrell may well have gotten a sort-of prototype since his order is really the reason we built Apple I’s with parts installed. We built a couple with the 6501 but by real production time we could get the 6502 for the same cost”.According to this, the prototype was built with a 6501 CPU. For a 6501 you need the same additional components as for the 6800 CPU. The Woz monitor in the PROMs works without modification. That Paul Terrell was shown a prototype coincides with the book Little Kingdom by Michael Moritz.

Achim Baqué will continue to search for information about the prototypes. Well, last years he collected all information but not much is known. Steve Wozniak mentioned a fire in his garage and maybe the prototype(s) were in this garage. This would have been a terrible loss. There is a chance, that the prototypes still exist. Achim Baqué has some clues as to the whereabouts, but nothing certain.

In every story about the first Apple computer, Woz bought the 6502 and built around it the Apple-1. Not the 6501 CPU. At least for the production prototype it was the MOS 6501 CPU.


History

The current location of any of these pre-production boards, if any still exist, is unknown.
Woz indicates that there were probably about 3 prototypes made to verify the board layout.
They were not wave soldered
Woz isn't sure, but they were probably soldered by Steve Jobs, thoughWoz may have done the soldering


In 2022 Achim Baqué again received indications that the prototype(s) still exists. But as soon as you get closer to the matter, you face a wall of silence. Probably more will come to light at some point.
Achim Baqué published an article about the 'Computer A' in 2022 and just some weeks later it showed up at auction. Unfortunately the mainboard is broken and only the left part exist. What happened to the right part is unknown.

It was sold at auction (RR Auction) in August 2022 for US$ 677,196.


Auctioned

August 2022


Components

White ceramic MOS MCS 6501 CPU (not 6502!), purple ceramic PIA, 4 KB ceramic Mostek DRAM. 3 big orange SPRGAUE ATOM capacitors. Small silver-colored capacitors. More information under 'Description'.


Equipment

Amkey keyboard


State

Unique mainboard. Prototype. No slot. Badly damaged. Unfortunately the mainboard is broken and only the left part exist. What happened to the right part is unknown.


Remarks

About the auction in August 2022: It is most likely due to erroneous reporting in blogs and newspapers that the prototype was not auctioned off for far more than a million US$. It started with a reporter who asked Woz about the prototype. Since this reporter obviously had little knowledge of Apple-1 computers and the prototypes, he asked Woz about the hand-soldered prototype. However, this is a completely different prototype.

The prototype that was auctioned off was the one that was industrially manufactured. Woz made corrections to this prototype by hand-soldering. Laymen and said reporter now mixed the information from the prototype from production with the hand-soldered prototype. And so, doubts spread.

Many blogs picked up the alleged story in the eternal search for clicks or, as usual, copied the text 1:1. And that, unfortunately, also as usual, without checking or researching anything. It was the victory of those who have no idea but like to have a hasty opinion on everything. For those involved in the field, it was terrible to see such a historical object being denigrated. It is the first production prototype of the most valuable company in the world. That should be enough to recognize its historical significance.


Last update

Aug 22, 2022


Change log (since March 20, 2018)

Nov 17, 2018: Components (shortlist). Components. State. Description
Nov 16, 2020: 1 picture(s) added
Feb 16, 2022: Description of picture(s)/video(s)
Feb 16, 2022: 3 picture(s) added
Mar 12, 2022: Description
Mar 12, 2022: Additional information. Components. State.
Mar 25, 2022: Description. History
Mar 29, 2022: Description
Jul 22, 2022: Working condition
Jul 22, 2022: Verification status. Website(s). State. History
Jul 23, 2022: 10 picture(s) added
Jul 23, 2022: 6 picture(s) added
Jul 23, 2022: Location. Auctions
Jul 23, 2022: Description of picture(s)/video(s)
Jul 25, 2022: Description
Aug 09, 2022: 2 picture(s) added
Aug 19, 2022: Description of picture(s)/video(s)
Aug 19, 2022: History
Aug 19, 2022: 3 picture(s) added
Aug 22, 2022: Remarks added


Change log for all Apple-1.


We appreciate your help:
Please spread the word about the Apple-1 Registry by adding a link to your social media account and/or website. Contact us, if you have new information about any Apple-1 or Apple-1 (parts) for sale.

You can link to the Apple-1 Registry. Any form of reprint or reproduction (including excerpts) only with written permission of the Apple-1 Registry. Here you find press releases and images free to use under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Contact the Apple-1 Registry.
Home   Terms & Conditions   Privacy   Legacy   Contact