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97/174/2 Personal computer, with hardware and accessories, Macintosh 128, various materials, designed and made by Apple Corporation Inc, Cupertino, California, United States of America / Japan, 1984. Click to enlarge.

Apple Macintosh 128 computer

The Macintosh was the first product to successfully commercialise the graphical user interface with a mouse. In terms of major shifts in the development of the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) - from purpose built machines to stored programs, interaction based on commands, screen forms and menus brought about the greatest shift in HCI thinking and escalated computer use by consumers.


Object No.


Object Statement

Personal computer, with hardware and accessories, Macintosh 128, various materials, designed and made by Apple Corporation Inc, Cupertino, California, United States of America / Japan, 1984

Physical Description

The Macintosh 128 computer is a beige coloured plastic desktop unit containing a 9" monochrome monitor, a single 8 x 10" motherboard, the power supply and a 3.5" disk drive mechanism. The four-layer motherboard, in the bottom of the case, includes an 8mHz 68000 processor, 128K RAM, 64K ROM, clock/calendar chip and several proprietary VLSI chips. At the rear of the unit are interface connectors for the mouse, a printer port [RS232 connector], modem [RS422], sound output and external disk drive. The interface connection for the keyboard is at the front. There is a small clip on hatch that reveals a space for a 4.5 volt direct current cell at the rear. The system cannot be expanded internally except for the RAM being replaced by 256K chips, providing 512K RAM. The power supply is mounted vertically on the left side of the case and the system has been designed to operate without a cooling fan. The screen displays a 512 x 342-bit mapped screen, using square pixels, that is almost identical to the Lisa screen. The disk drive is a variable-speed, single-sided, 3.5" Sony drive offering 420K of formatted storage. Three more drives can be daisy-chained from the drive extension connector.

The Apple "ImageWriter" dot matrix printer has components of clear and beige plastic. It houses an electro mechanical printing mechanism and uses tractor fed continuous concertina form paper.

The Apple QWERTY alpha-numeric keyboard is beige coloured plastic with brown keys and an apple logo on the left side.

The Apple mouse is a beige rectangular unit and has one brown button on the top and a free ranging roller ball in its base. There is a solid wired cable that exits from the rear of the unit, is approximately 700mm long and finishes in a 9 pin D plug for connection to the 128 computer.

The External disk drive is a squarish beige plastic unit that houses a 3.5' inch disk drive mechanism. There is a solid wired cable at the rear of the unit that connects to the 128 computer.

The four cables are:

1) domestic power plug to Macintosh 128

2) domestic power plug to ImageWriter printer

3) connection cable for the keyboard to 128 (coil telephone type cable)

4) connection cable for printer to 128 (with 9 pin D plug to 25 pin D plug)

The mouse pad is a black rubber mat with a blue fabric covering on one side.

The printer paper is continuous concertina folded plain paper with outer strips that are perforated to fit the tractor feed mechanism of the Apple Image writer printer, in a white cardboard box.



Designed by Apple Computers, USA, 1980-1983.

Example of 1st generation Macintosh machine with first use of small hard disks. Influenced computer interface design.

The components are manufactured in the USA (128, mouse, keyboard) and Japan (ext. disk drive, printer) from late 1983 to early 1984.



The Mac was used primarily by writers, designers, desktop publishers and was very popular amongst academics and students. It was used by people who did not particularly want to get involved with the intricacies of their computer system.

This Macintosh 128 was used by Edwina Menzies in NSW from purchase (1984) to 1991 when it was given to Greg Borschman (bother-in-law). It was used by Greg as a word processor until 1994 when it was superseded by an LCII.
The Macintosh 128 sold for $US2495 in the US. Apple promoted the system to knowledge workers as a personal desktop productivity tool. Apple saw tertiary students as a major market and set up special arrangements for universities in order to effectively enter that market. Universities could become a part of a cooperative if they set up a shop, a Macintosh classroom, and a user group. The University and its students then got a very significant discount (approximately 33%). The education price became the benchmark for the price of second hand Macs.

This Macintosh 128 was owned by Edwina Menzies of Canberra, Australia from 1984 until 1991, when it was given to Greg Borschman who made use of the 128 as a word processor until 1994.


Credit Line

Gift of Peter Henderson, 1997

Acquisition Date

23 June 1997

Cite this Object


Apple Macintosh 128 computer 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Apple Macintosh 128 computer |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}