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Macintosh SE
Gestalt ID: 5
Apple Macintosh SE
Model number M5010 (original)
M5011 (FDHD/SuperDrive)
Code name Mac ±, PlusPlus, Aladdin, Freeport, Maui, Chablis
Type Compact Mac
Date released March 2, 1987 (original)
August 1, 1989 (FDHD/SuperDrive)
Date discontinued August 1, 1989 (original)
October 15, 1990 (FDHD/SuperDrive)
Processor Motorola 68000
Operating system System 4.0 (SSW 2.0) - Mac OS 7.5.5
Price at release US$ 3,699

The Macintosh SE was released by Apple Computer as an all-in-one successor to the Macintosh Plus with additional capacity for expansion as a workhorse computer. The original version was sold from March 1987 to August 1989, when it was offered with upgrade ROMs.

Its design utilized parallel grill bars from the Snow White design language introduced with the Apple IIc. It included the option of an internal hard drive with a floppy drive, or two floppy drives. Each supported a double-density 800KB disk; support for 1.4MB FDHD floppies came later. Additional storage could be added through a SCSI port. Unlike its predecessors, the SE (and Macintosh II) adopted the ADB port for connecting the mouse and keyboard.[1]



Apple prototyped the SE in transparent plastics to visualize how the components would fit together in a compact package.[3] This also allowed smoke testing to view how air would travel through the system for cooling. According to collector Hap Plain, 20 units were built, with 8 to 10 of them fully functional as bootable systems.[4] Photos of the engineering team were later found hidden within the ROMs.[5]


In January 1989, a version with a newly designed logic board was released as the Macintosh SE/30 with a 16 MHz 68030 processor that offered about 4 times the performance of 68000-based compact Macs and support for a new floppy drive high density (FDHD) mechanism, known as the "SuperDrive".[6]

The ROM of the original SE was updated in August 1989, requiring a minimum operating system of System 6.0.3 to support the new FDHD drives. The ROM ugrade was available to existing SE owners, or in new units marked Macintosh SE FDHD. Later that year, they were renamed Macintosh SE SuperDrive. It was discontinued in October 1990, when it was superseded by the Macintosh Classic and LC.[7]


  1. Classic Macs #2: The Mac SE by Neale Monks, MyMac Magazine. 2005-05-11. Archived 2005-05-24.
  2. PDS: The Processor Direct Slot by Daniel Knight, Low End Mac. 2000-01-13.
  3. Transparent Mac Prototypes Reveal How Apple Builds its Iconic Products by Usman Qureshi, iPhone in Canada. 2014-01-23.
  4. Prototype Transparent Mac SE by Hap Plain, 68k Macintosh Liberation Army. 2013-04-20.
  5. Ghosts in the ROM by Trammell Hudson, NYC Resistor. 2012-08-21.
  6. Classic II vs SE/30 by Adam Engst, TidBITS. 1991-09-16.
  7. Macintosh SE “Superdrive”, The Apple Fool. Accessed 2021-01-06.

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Macintosh   Early Compact Macs

Prototypes | Macintosh 128K | 512K | 512Ke | Plus | SE | SE/30 |
Classic | Classic II | Color Classic | Color Classic II

Superseded by the Macintosh LC 500 series in June 1993