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Palm-sized Apple II Computer (vintageisthenewold.com)
88 points by pgarcia on June 16, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

I've wanted, for years, to have an "Oric-1/ATMOS" on my wrist. It was something I fantasised about, in 1983, while hacking and bashing on the actual hardware.

So to me, this story represents a unique kind of harmonic bundle. Not only is it about the architecture of the era, long since abandoned but not entirely useless, but its also about the here and now.

Maybe we don't really need a Cray on our wrists, people.

I, myself would be perfectly happy checking my email, as it were, on my wrist, on much, much less powerful computing platforms.

What better than those that already offer a larger software base?

(* - Oric-1/ATMOS: http://oric.org/)

I must admit, the Atmos looks like something straight out of Neuromancer.


The Oric was a sadly neglected computer at least in the UK where Spectrum and Commodore 64 ruled, but it had a really great tape of demo software

Its still getting great new software written for it, so its not as neglected as it once was:


There was also Acorn and their contract with BBC for the Micro.

Never mind Amstrad.

As it stands i get the impression the Oric-1 at least was pretty much a Spectrum clone. And likely not completely compatible.

It was definitely not a Spectrum clone, but rather an equal competitor - with a different processor, but similar price range, and (imho) a better onboard BASIC.

But, its history now, but for a few of us who keep our machines alive.

I bought an HP 12c to have the very limited experience of programming in a nice form-factor device with the classic keys. It is also faster to use thus calculator in the desk than opening it in the desktop.

I gave away my HP 12C when I bought a 19B back in 1990 and regretted it some years later. Recently I've been using a 12C on my phone and am now seriously craving a real HP 12C again. There's something about that calculator.

There's a Swiss company making impeccably high-quality versions of the HP Voyager calculators, based on a modern ARM processor. Well worth checking out if you're in the market for a 12C.


There was a little bit of discussion about that company here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10571218

I think it's one guy doing it.

These look pretty good indeed. However, I think they are still making the HP 12C? If so, I'll probably go for that.

Anyone else notice the "congo bongo" startup screen, with all the cracking groups that pirated that version? I think that even had a bbs number.

Midwest Pirates Guild! Wow, that brings back memories.

Someone ought to hack an iPhone the size of a desk.

Well there is a GameBoy the size of a desk:


I seem to recall someone made a "smartphone" the size of an adult as a marketing stunt. It was meant for advertisement but was fully interactive.

That's very cool. Google isn't finding it for me, however :(

I was a tad disappointed that the keyboard wasn't functional.

And I was disappointed that it was an Apple II emulator, not a downsized Apple II.

Same. Also that they didn't consider it in the idea for improvement at the end of the video.

It wouldn't mimic the look, but gutting an old 2 way Motorola pager would make for a neat enclosure with a functional keyboard. One of these things: http://www.teco.edu/hcscw/sub/111.Day/pagewriter.gif

The repo mentioned in the video: https://github.com/Cupcakus/AppleIIMini

One of my favourite "doodle projects" is a dumb computer the size of a slim diary which does nothing except type and print. The UX is the main state-of-the-art feature.

Course the smallness will mean that the typing experience will be compromised to some degree. But I've got a matching keyboard for my iPad mini and got used to that. I've seen some of these digital typewriters on Kickstarter but they lack a little something ... I guess a product of this type must have a real endearing value about it. If it's possible to sell mental business plans huh ;)

Why would you want it to be so small? How do you do the printing? Why not just use a literal diary?

Allow me to defend my unicorn project:

Typewriters have some psychological usefulness. It's single function-focused (writing.) And objects which have strong emotional value can be very desirable too - hop over to Instagram.

And this one .. can be easily slipped in the pocket, like Nintendo DS.

With e-ink, even better. Longer battery life too.

You might be able to hook it up to a larger monitor.

As for printing. Micro-printers aren't new, some are as slim as rods. Abhorrently expensive though. Or alternatively that Polaroid pre-inked paper. Or just wireless printing.

One of the best advantages of storing writing in a computer is preservation. And if there's a tree-like elegant notebook installed (CherryTree is quite nice) even better.

I kinda like your unicorn.

My preferred size would be 8 to 10 inches. I think 10 inches would be a sweet spot, for me personally. Especially since I would want to use the eink screen as a reader as well as a screen for editing. You'd lose pocketability, but gain some additional flexibility and greater readability.

My wish list:

Eink screen, 360 hinge so the thing could be used as a book, backlit keyboard as a stretch goal.

Super user friendly & distraction free writing interface, but with Linux underneath and maybe a checkbox in advanced options to open the shell / vi / emacs for use. One very nice feature would be allowing split screen between two editors, or the editor + pdf / epub. Removes the potential distraction of looking away from the editor when you need to reference something. But no web browser, since that would encourage procrastination, even on a slower eink screen.

Wifi with automatic backups to the major cloud providers or user specified private servers. Plugged into USB and it shows up as simple storage.

Anyways, thanks for the fun idea which led to some fun thoughts. I hope we see something like this one day.

So effectively a PalmPilot?


Note btw that it ran on 2xAAA...

Well, I am intruiged.

I say this because i've found recently i can focus and produce much better without a keyboard, but rather a pen and paper. George R R Martin uses DOS/word perfect, IIRC. Many have used typewriters, pens, pencils, etc etc. I find a writer's tools to be interesting in themselves.

Someone please fix the title, it's "DIY" not "DYI". Or change it to match the title of the page which doesn't say DIY at all: "The cutest palm-sized Apple II Computer (it actually works!)".

Thanks! Updated.

do yt iourself.

Do Apple and similar companies have rights to the design of cases like this (and the full size version) as well as products like the original Mac? Or do those expire?

If Apple wanted to enforce this IP, it would be protected under a design patent (which would be long since expired) or trade dress (probably won't be enforced; Apple has completely different trade dress these days so an Apple II lookalike is unlikely to be confused with anything Apple sells today).

The enclosure is the best part. So cute. How do people have so much time?

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