Some of the earliest commercial microcomputers were single-board “trainers,” bare-bones systems designed to teach people computer basics. They were crude and often had only a hexadecimal keyboard for input. Trainers appealed mainly to people who already had some technical background such as ham radio operators.
By the 1980s, some of those trainers became more polished and accessible to folks who weren’t so technically inclined. The Micro-Professor is a good example. The Micro-Professor I (MPF-I) was based on a Z80 (an 8088 was available later). It came in a case that opened like a book and was targeted to the education market.
Perhaps to strengthen the appeal to education, the MPF-II had a 6502 CPU and was compatible with the Apple II. It came in a book-sized case with a chiclet keyboard, but it did not open like the MPF-I. Multitech also sold a Chinese-language version called the MPF-IIC.
The MPF series sold reasonably well and examples often come up for sale. They are still a good way for someone to introduce themselves to 8-bit computing. Multitech is still in business, too, having rebranded as Acer in the US in 1987.
Original Retail Price: $399
Base Configuration: 6502 CPU, 64K RAM, built-in 49-key keyboard, cassette storage, Centronics port, speaker, 12K BASIC
Video: 40 characters x 25 lines, 6 colors
Important Options: thermal printer, joystick