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Uploaded to YouTube by easyplex, this commercial makes a comparison between the consumer and home-focused Apple IIc and IBM’s similar computer.
Its shortcomings notwithstanding, the IBM PCjr. had a leg up on the Apple IIc in a few ways. The decision to buy wasn’t as easy as this ad implies. But Apple has always been masterful at manipulation of reality through marketing. (I say this as a modern Mac and iOS user, so no “IBM fanboy” comments, please.)
The market rejected it, sure, because it was indeed a heavily self-compromised system compared to its daddy. Weak hardware support (thanks to uselessly esoteric I/O ports), limited expansion via sidecard bus, the original chiclet keyboard. We could spend an hour listing the Jr.’s shortcomings.
But here’s where the Jr. surpassed the Apple IIc:
• Better graphics capability
• Three channel audio
• The CPU was actually the 8088, essentially an 8086 with 8 bit data bus. But it ran at 4.77MHz (a little over 3.80Mhz was the actual useable speed) and did retain 16-bit registers
• A more robust Basic built-in
• Cartridge ports
• Infrared keyboard
• “Almost” PC compatible whereas the IIc was zero compatible
It’s popular in geek culture to pooh-pooh the PCjr. It was, indeed, a mess. But jumping on the critical bandwagon often blinds tech enthusiasts from seeing the areas in which it shined.
Thanks for the comments. In my 2013 perspective, the PCjr and IIc are really for different audiences, and should really have not been compared to each other as print magazines tended to do in the day.
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