The Macintosh II was the first personal computer model of the Macintosh II series and the first Macintosh to support a color display. It was announced by Apple Computer with the Macintosh SE on March 2, 1987 but reportedly did not ship until April 1987.
The Macintosh II was the first "modular" Macintosh model, so called because it came in a separate desktop case. All previous Macintosh computers used an all-in-one design with a built-in black-and-white monitor. The Mac II allowed Macintosh users a choice of larger displays, color displays, and even multiple displays.
With the departure of Steve Jobs in 1985, Apple CEO John Sculley assigned Jean-Louis Gassée to head product development. Gassée told engineers to design two new Mac models within 18 months. Ron Hochsprung became the lead hardware engineer and the color graphics hardware was designed by Toby Farrand. Ernie Beernink retrofitted QuickDraw to be able to support 8-bit color. The 13-inch CRT of the AppleColor High-Resolution RGB Monitor was manufactured by Sony.
The Mac II featured a Motorola 68020 processor operating at 16 MHz, paired with a Motorola 68881 floating-point unit. Standard memory was 1 MB (in the form of four 256 KB SIMMs), expandable to 68 MB. RAM could be maxed out to 128 MB if the ROM SIMM was upgraded to the IIx (or FDHD) version.
Drive options included a 40 or 80 MB internal hard disk, as well as a second internal 800 kilobyte 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. Six NuBus slots were available for expansion. At least one slot had to be used for a graphics card, as the Mac II series had no onboard graphics until the IIci.
The Macintosh II was followed by a series of confusingly-named modular Macs including the Macintosh IIx and Macintosh IIfx, all of which used the Motorola 68030 processor. It was possible to upgrade a Mac II to a Mac IIx or IIfx with a motherboard swap.
- Apple Macintosh before System 7 by Eric Rasmussen. Archived 2012-01-09.
- Product Development Is Put Under Tighter Control Than in Steve Jobs Years by Brenton R. Schlender, The Wall Street Journal. 1987-07-16. Mirrored by Tech Insider.
- The Making of the Macintosh II by Steven Levy, Macworld. 1987-01.
- Programming the New Macs by Sue Gooding and Dave Wilson, Mac Tech Magazine. 1987-05. Archived 2000-08-19.
- Macintosh: System Software Version History, Apple Inc. 2012-02-19.
- Macintosh II: Technical Specifications at Apple
- Macintosh II at Apple History
- Macintosh II at the Apple Museum
- Macintosh II (original) specs at EveryMac
- Apple Macintosh II at ForeverMac (archived 2014-05-15, 2012-09-27)
- Mac II at Low End Mac
- Macintosh II Logic Board at Mac Gurus Logic Board Layouts
- Macintosh II at Wikipedia