The Apple III was Apple’s first attempt at a business-class computer. Development began in 1978, the company began development of a new system, code-named Sara. Apple did not launch the Apple III until May 1980.
Although the Apple III could run Apple II software in an emulation mode, it had its own line of business applications and programming tools. That limited the amount of software available for its target market. That and its high price (starting at more than $4,300) resulted in poor sales.
Apple improved Apple III performance and reliability in late 1981. In an effort to boost sales, Apple offered an Apple III Business System configuration in 1983 that included the Monitor III, ProFile 5MB hard disk drive, 256K of RAM, and a software suite for $5,330. Later that year, Apple offered an enhanced version of the Apple III Business System called the Apple III Plus, which had an interlace video mode that doubled screen resolution. With the Apple Macintosh on the horizon, Apple did not further development of the Apple III.
Introduced: May 1980
Original Retail Price: $4,340 to $7,800 (Apple III)/$2,995 (Apple III Plus)
Base Configuration: 1.8MHz 6502A CPU; Sophisticated Operating System (SOS); four slots; 128K RAM (256K max); 4K ROM; 5.25-inch floppy disk drives; NTSC video interface; integral keyboard/keypad; RS-232C, printer, and two game ports; Apple II emulation and utilities disks; Business BASIC; Pascal; SOS and owner’s manuals
Video: 24-line x 80-character text, 560 x 192 graphics, 16 colors
Important Options: External 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 5MB ProFile hard disk drive, Monitor III CRT display, Silentype printer, Apple Daisy-Wheel printer (Apple III Plus)