If you are one of the lucky few who owns a vintage Apple I computer thatis in working order, you either have deep pockets or an uncle who recently cleaned out his attic and discovered it. In either case, there are some who are envious of your good fortune, but if you are one of the envious ones, you might want to start searching in your own relativesi attics.
If that doesnit turn up one of these units, and you still want to play with a bit of history, you may have reason to still take heart: If Vince Briel has his way, you may soon be able to buy a brand new Apple I clone for US$200. Thatis not bad considering the fact that a real one is going for between US$15,000 and US$50,000. In an article by Leander Kahney titled Rebuilding a Mac From the Past,Wired News is reporting that the Mr. Briel, a computer technician, intends to build and sell his Apple I clones from his garage.
Briel has designed, built and is currently testing a replica of the Apple I. If all goes well, he hopes to go into production by next spring.
"There is a growing market for collecting rare and hard-to-find models," Briel wrote in an e-mail. "The Apple I is king of the hill. Realizing I could never afford one, I decided to design a replica."
Appropriately, Briel will build the replicas in his garage. The original Apple Iis were hand-built by Appleis co-founders, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, plus a handful of others, in Jobsi parentsi garage. Priced at $666.66 -- a figure that got the fledgling company into trouble with Christian fundamentalists -- only 200 were made.
Briel plans to build his replicas to order, and to charge between $150 and $200.
"There is probably as big a market for a replica as there was for the original," said Briel. "My intent is only to get more people involved in the history of personal computers, not make a profit -- circuits are in my blood."
The article goes on to note that Mr. Briel has some distance to cover before he sells his first unit.
Briel still has a couple of technical and legal hurdles to overcome. His prototype has a couple of hardware glitches that need to be ironed out, and his plan hasnit yet been cleared with Apple or Woz.
Apple likely holds copyrights on the machineis design. And although Briel redesigned the motherboard because some of the chips are hard to find, he may still need to license the ROM -- a set of hard-wired instructions necessary to run original Apple I software. Apple didnit respond to requests for comment.
If Briel gets Appleis consent, the replica will be the first Apple clone since the company killed clone licenses in 1998.
Check out the full article, which has photos of Mr. Briel and his Apple I clone prototype, at Wired News.