Remembering My Story of Owning a Macintosh Plus — 1986

After owning the original Macintosh for less than a year, Apple launched the Macintosh Plus in 1986. When the Macintosh Plus was announced, it later came in a different colour, grey instead of beige, but the model name was always written on it, on the front, on the right of the multicoloured Apple logo. The change of colour happened in 1987. I remember that people didn’t like that because it didn’t reflect Steve Jobs’ mantra. Having an upgraded 128K Mac equivalent to the Macintosh Plus but with a beige colour and lacking the “Macintosh Plus” label was quite cool in some respects. It was unique.

The Macintosh 128K upgraded to a Macintosh Plus - same look but updated internals
The Macintosh 128K upgraded to a Macintosh Plus – same look but updated internals

Owners of the original Macintosh could upgrade their machines and get the same features. With Apple’s Macintosh Plus upgrade kits, I took the opportunity to upgrade mine. I bought the kit from the local authorized Apple dealer, for which I would eventually work as a salesperson. I remember my father paying for the upgrade, but only once I did get all the required money first. It was his way of teaching me the value of money. I thank him for that. The price tag was around 500 CAN$. It was a lot of money for a student like me.

The upgrade kit was, in fact, a motherboard replacement of the Macintosh with a more powerful one containing a “whopping” 1 MB of RAM, it came with an enhanced 128K ROM and a SCSI interface. The updated ROM had an enhanced QuickDraw and added support for the higher capacity 800K floppy disk drive (which I later bought). As a result, the Mac was noticeably faster, but not by a wide margin.

The 800K external floppy drive
The 800K external floppy drive

The new 800K floppy disk drive sounded differently when it was operating compared to the 400K version. It was a more technical sound, while the 400K was more organic. The little boxy design felt a small departure compared to the Macintosh itself. Later on, besides the external 800K floppy, I got the Macintosh 20 MB hard disk which was based on a serial interface. It was a lot of capacity for the time, but man, this was a slow device. It looked closer to the original Macintosh than the 800K external floppy drive from a design perspective. I wonder if two different teams designed them. The Apple logo fit in a square shape, while the Apple logo on the 800K external floppy drive lacked the same square shape. I preferred the latter.

Curiously, I don’t remember exactly how I got rid of my Mac.

So, there you have it, the second Apple computer of the series “Remembering The Story Behind Every Apple Computers I Ever Owned.” Stay tuned for the next one: the Macintosh SE.

Artifacts & references

I wrote this little story of me with my upgraded Mac in 1986 on my Numeric Citizen Introspection Friday notes series.

Images

The original 400K external floppy drive
The original 400K external floppy drive
The slow 20MB external serial-based hard drive
The slow 20MB external serial-based hard drive

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