Skip to main content

Don’t fancy spending half a million on an Apple I? Build your own with this DIY kit

SmartyKit
(Image credit: SmartyKit)

Original Apple I computers have sold for around the $400,000 mark (around £300,000, AU$580,000), or even close to half a million in recent times, but if you don’t fancy taking out a mortgage to buy one, there’s another option: build your own courtesy of the SmartyKit.

This DIY kit provides you with all the components you need to make a replica Apple I, and it all fits together by simply slotting chips (15 of them) into breadboards and wiring it all up, with no need for a soldering iron.

You’ll then be the proud owner of computer powered by a mighty 1MHz processor, capable of, er, well, not a great deal really, although the provided OS – Steve Wozniak’s tiny Monitor operating system – does let you program in BASIC (and the product maker notes that it’s working on a lightweight version of Python).

The point is more about building the machine, and for this to be an educational tool – and perhaps a fun STEM project – for showing youngsters how a computer fits together, and of course providing a computing history lesson, to boot.

Ports from the past

Bear in mind that you’ll have to cope with ancient connectivity in the form of a composite video port for output to a monitor, and a PS/2 port for hooking up a keyboard (so you’ll want to invest in the relevant adapters, no doubt, unless you still have dusty old peripherals hanging around).

SmartyKit is set to launch later this year for an introductory price of $119 (around £90, AU$175), with the expected build time being a couple of weekends (although we’re talking a few hours spread throughout that time, not four full days of toil).

If you want to register your interest and get notified when the SmartyKit goes on sale, you can sign up here.

Via Tom’s Hardware