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Turning an iPad Pro into a classic Macintosh (gingerbeardman.com)
159 points by naetius on April 18, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

> With BasiliskII things are easier as it has a drive mapped to the app’s file sharing folder. You can use the Share Sheet in the same way as Mini vMac, but you can also simply copy/move a file to the BasiliskII folder and it will be accessible inside the emulator.

Hidden inside this innocuous statement is a bit of black magic fuckery.

It's easy enough to present a block device to an emulated system and let the emulated system run its usual filesystem stack on top of raw block storage. That's what Mini vMac does. Basilisk II is a bit different--it installs a filesystem into the guest through the Mac OS filesystem manager on the guest side.

Just take a look at this code:



There doesn't seem to be a direct link in the post but some forum posts by the same author with some more details and pointers to the relevant repos:


I'll be sure to embellish the blog post with some links. I plan to go into more detail on various aspects in future blog posts. Edit: done!

I think "ultimate classic Macintosh" and "iPad Pro" are two fundamentally incompatible phrases, but maybe that's just the old Macintosh fan in me. Kinda like naming an article "we turned my 2019 Dodge Dart into the ultimate 89' Mustang".

I tend to agree. Especially when you consider the implications of the hardware in either case. They're two very different ways of computing and I have a hard time ascribing the "Ultimate Classic Macintosh" as being in the form factor of an iPad Pro regardless of anything else.

That said, it's still worth recognizing the value of being able to create this experience!

I hear you both. For me the core of the classic Macintosh experience is System 7 and the apps I run on that, which is what I brought across to the iPad here. Apple Pencil and iOS interoperability is the cherry on the cake that ultimately makes this a much more modern and enjoyable experience than any of my real classic Macs. Plus I can carry it anywhere really easily!

Yeah but it gives the iPad Pro the advantage of running Mac 68K apps. PowerMacs used to have that option and without it they would never have taken off.

Remind me why we can't find this kind of thing in the app store?

Edit: which clause stops this kind of thing?

It's the clause 2.5.2:

> 2.5.2 Apps should be self-contained in their bundles, and may not read or write data outside the designated container area, nor may they download, install, or execute code which introduces or changes features or functionality of the app, including other apps.


This clause is... "flexible", see for instance Roblox.

Unfortunately like all the rules. There is one that forbids apps to use notifications for marketing, and even Apple breaks it.

And any number of calculator emulators. Pythonista lets you write python code and run it.

Pythonista et al probably fall into the exception of that rule:

> Educational apps designed to teach, develop, or allow students to test executable code may, in limited circumstances, download code provided that such code is not used for other purposes. Such apps must make the source code provided by the Application completely viewable and editable by the user.

Because Apple is endlessly hostile to the end user and will take every precaution possible to reduce user agency.

Who would publish it, Apple? They still own System 7.

Apple made available System 7.5.3 for free download some years ago (1999?) though they have since stopped hosting the files. https://lowendmac.com/2001/abandonware-and-copyright/

Impressively lovely. What's the battery life like while running this? I'm guessing better than my old PowerBook 160, but curious to know.

I've not done any real measurements, but it does deplete quicker than, say, web browsing. Nothing drastic though IMHO. I'll try to figure out a way of doing a measurement. Thanks for the question!

Nice! System 6 is faster btw.

But Systen 7.5.3 is both lightweight and modern enough to even run QuickTime VR backed "multimedia" software and games; and 8.1 can do the rest of software unsupported by the former. Also, running 8.1 in SheepShaver grants another old Classic Mac software stack to be ran.

An emulated 7.5.3 was lightning fast even under an AMD Athlon back in the day.

I guess it is a different experience in the emulator. I had one of those System 6/7 Macs. Really great amazing machines. Lots of waiting with the 800k floppy drive waiting for it to finish grinding out. I don't miss floppy disks at all.

Am I just remembering things through rose-colored glasses or am I really jaded? I just seem to remember those classic Macs as being an experience. Computers now are just meh and don't contain that same the world has changed magic.

I recently tried system 7 and Mac OS 9 and it made me change my understanding of the current macOS file structure. The simplicity of the OS and the Finder windows that remembered their position really is a magical combination. By OS 9, I felt like the magic was already gone.

System 6 is definitely faster. The apps I use run on System 7 and I enjoy the experience more as it's closer to macOS X in a lot of ways whilst System 6 isn't. I run System 6 on my Macintosh Classic for speed-critical apps but 7.1 is my daily driver on that. Using BasiliskII, for the benefits it provides, mean that System 6 isn't an option. But it runs System 7 plenty fast on the iPad Pro.

7.5.3 it's better as it's the minimum requiment for lots of software. For example, QuickTime VR based graphical adventures, and late publishing applications which ran on both 7.5.3 and 8.1

On speed, well. Today a machine based on System7 will run crazy fast as you can set max cycles on BasiliskII I think, as it shares the same core as UAE.


You missed out: modifying source code, deducing and adding optimal screen resolutions, editing and compiling keyboard layout, and more. But thanks for reading!

You should show those changes in your post or elaborate a little bit IMO. I'm being blunt but your blog post is really not engaging because you skip over the most interesting content. Even diagrams showing how you deduced the screen sizes, the changes you made to the code, any problems you encountered etc. I clicked because it was an interesting heading, I skimmed through and gave the TL;DR because it's a 2 minute read that could have been engaging but missed the mark. At the moment the read is essentially compiled an emulator and made some macro keys, you have 1 sentence in the whole post about modifying the source code.

Appreciated. If I'm honest I didn't expect this blog post to be read by this many people or get this level of feedback. It was meant as an overview, with a plan to write about the gory details in other posts. For example I've already written a whole section on automation and how the custom keys trigger things (by sending Apple Events). And I've detailed code changes on the GitHub repo wiki. I just didn't think people would be this interested!

You forgot the most important step:

Wrote an inspiring blog post that made thousands of people happy.

Thank you, it means a lot

Removed two emulators (briefly), opened up my eyes to possibilities.


Do you know you can edit comments?

Yes, but it was long enough that delete and edit were disabled, unfortunately.

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