The Apple Jonathan

I enjoyed this story by Stephen Hackett on Apple’s unrealized modular computer project, “Jonathan”, from the 1980s. I remember when the idea of a modular computer was in vogue. It makes sense. Everything back then was super expensive and letting users construct their hardware by plugging the right pieces together was a popular dream. The first time I saw this go to market was with the truly dreadful Timex Sinclair.

However, I have no recollection of modular computing ever actually working. I can imagine a lot of reasons for this. Getting hardware to work in a modular fashion has never been easy, and available ports back then were slow. Instead, the market for this sort of thing drifted into build-your-own PC, which doesn’t surprise me. The only people interested in this were nerds and there was nothing nerdier than building your own PC.