Apple IIe Card

The Apple IIe Card is a compatibility card which allows compatible Macintosh computers to run software designed for the Apple II series of computers (with the exception of the IIGS). Released in March 1991 for use with the LC family, Apple targeted the card at its widely dominated educational market to ease the transition from Apple II-based classrooms, with thousands of entrenched educational software titles, to Macintosh-based classrooms.

Apple IIe Card[1]
Apple IIe Card.jpg
The PDS-based Apple IIe Card, featuring a 65C02 CPU, Mega II, IWM and 256 kB of RAM
DeveloperApple Computer
Typecompatibility card
Release dateMarch 1991; 30 years ago (1991-03)
Introductory priceUS$250 (equivalent to $469.28 in 2019)


Apple asked the media to call the peripheral the "Apple IIe option board", as earlier "emulator" cards were not successful. Like the Apple IIe itself, the Apple IIe Card uses an onboard 65C02 CPU.[2] The CPU is software-configurable to run at the Apple IIe's native 1.0 MHz speed or at an accelerated 1.9 MHz. Video emulation (text and graphics) is handled through software using native Macintosh QuickDraw routines, which often results in operations being slower than a real Apple IIe except on higher-end machines. Any Macintosh that supports the card can be switched into 560×384 resolution for better compatibility with the IIe's 280×192 color High-Resolution graphics (essentially doubled in both directions on the Macintosh) and 560x192 monochrome double-high-rez/80 column text mode (doubled horizontally), using the card's onboard 17.234mhz oscillator in place of the usual video clock thanks to the local bus nature of the PDS slot. This was particularly applicable to the Color Classic which is otherwise fixed at 512×384 resolution; the monitor scan rate remains the same, but horizontal pixel density (and total pixel clocks per scanline) is increased by 10% to fit the greater resolution in the same width.

The IIe card has 256K RAM; half is used to emulate the Extended 80-Column Text Card's 128K of memory, and half stores the IIe's ROM. Macworld reported that because Apple IIGS engineers helped design the IIe Card, all copy-protected and other software except for "a few very esoteric games" are compatible.[2] The host Macintosh emulates or provides native access to many of the expansion cards and peripherals one might install in a bare Apple IIe. These services provided to the IIe card makes the simultaneous running of the host's System 7 impossible. Hardware services include a 1.44 MB 3.5" SuperDrive, mouse, 1 MB RAM, 80-column text and graphical monochrome or color display, clock, numeric keypad, two hardware serial ports (in addition to the emulated serial necessary for the IIe mouse), SCSI hard drive, and AppleShare file server. An included "Y-cable" enables the attachment of up to two external 140 KB floppy disk 5.25" Drives, an 800 KB "intelligent" 3.5" UniDisk drive, and a joystick or paddle control for use with the Apple IIe emulator. 800 KB 3.5" Drive and 1.44 MB SuperDrives are not recognized when attached via the Y-cable due to the Disk Controller on the IIe card lacking support. (chip labeled U1A located in zone A1 of card – lower left as pictured above)

The product included an owner's manual, Y-cable, and two disks: the Apple IIe installer disk and the Apple IIe card startup disk. 2.2.2d1 is the latest version of the startup disk. Version 2.2.1 and a patch to reach 2.2.2d1 are available at Apple Support Area.


Apple claimed that the LC helped the company regain educational market share lost to inexpensive PC clones. As of May 1992, about half of the LCs sold to schools used the IIe Card.[3]

Technical specificationsEdit

  • LSI Logic Mega II ("Gemini" chip); a complete Apple IIe on a single microcircuit – minus RAM, firmware and CPU
  • IWM (Integrated Woz Machine) for floppy control functions
  • 256 KB RAM built-in (128 KB for Apple II memory, 128 KB reserved for Macintosh)
  • 65C02 processor running at either 1.023 MHz or 1.9 MHz
  • High-density 26-pin connector with "Y-cable" supports joystick/paddles and two Apple 5.25" or UniDisk 3.5" floppy disk drives
  • Ability to access up to 1 MB of native Macintosh RAM
  • All Apple IIe text and video modes supported, via QuickDraw software emulation

Notes: When emulating the Apple IIe, only a full-screen mode is available and all native Macintosh functions are suspended while running (a proprietary graphical control panel, running outside MacOS, is available for configuring the virtual Apple II slots and peripherals; however, both native and emulated computer function are suspended during this activity). Macintosh functions and control resume only once emulation is completely shut down and exited.

Host system compatibilityEdit

The card plugs into the PDS slot in many of the LC-series Macintoshes, but not all models and system software combinations are supported. Apple's Tech Info Library article #8458 lists the following models as Apple IIe Card-compatible: Color Classic, Colour Classic II, LC, LC II, III & III+; LC 475, 520, 550, 575; Quadra 605 and Performa 4XX, 52X, 55X, 56X, and 57X. However, other models that have an LC-compatible PDS slot and support 24-bit memory addressing are compatible with the Apple IIe Card but are not officially supported. Systems 7.0 through 7.5.5 support both 24- and 32-bit addressing on suitable Macintosh models. (From System 7.6 onwards, Macintosh system software does not support 24-bit addressing.) To enable 24-bit addressing on supported systems, use the Macintosh Memory control panel.

Timeline of Apple II family models

PowerPC 600#PowerPC 603Macintosh LCMacintosh IIMacintosh PlusMacintosh 128KApple LisaApple IIe CardApple IIc PlusApple IIe#The Platinum IIeApple III PlusApple IIGS#Updated ROM 3, The Apple IIgs with 1 MB of RAMApple IIc#Memory Expansion IIc .28ROM version .E2.80.983.E2.80.99.29Apple IIe#The Enhanced IIeApple III#RevisionsApple II PlusApple IIGSApple IIcApple IIeApple IIIApple IIApple I

Timeline of Macintosh LC models

Power MacintoshMacintosh QuadraMacintosh CentrisMacintosh PerformaMacintosh II seriesMacintosh LC 630Power Macintosh 5200 LCMacintosh LC 580Macintosh LC 575Macintosh LC 550Macintosh LC 520Macintosh LC IIIMacintosh LC 475Macintosh LC IIIMacintosh LC IIMacintosh LC

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Advert:The Macintosh LC., InfoWorld, 12 Nov 1990, Page 81, ...And, with an optional Apple(tm)IIe Card, it runs thousands more Apple II applications as well...
  2. ^ a b Spencer, Cheryl (December 1990). "Mac LC". Macworld. pp. 180–187.
  3. ^ Heid, Jim (May 1992). "More for Less: An Updated LC and LaserWriter Duo". Macworld. p. 136.

External linksEdit