Apple II recently got its first operating system update in 23 years

prodos apple ii software update 14607864772 d4a4c5ece1 o
Matthew Pearce
Given that Apple helped pioneer the business model of getting customers to upgrade their computers (and, later, their smartphones and tablets) every few years, the term “built-in obsolescence” is sometimes thrown around by critics looking to bash the Cupertino company.

That phrase couldn’t be used to describe the Apple II, however — which not only still has an enthusiastic fanbase of users 39 years after the first model rolled off production lines, but recently got its first software update in almost a quarter-century.

Called ProDOS 2.4, it wasn’t issued by Apple, but rather is a fan-created operating system update made by coder John Brooks. Having since gone onto a successful programming career — including coding Sega Genesis games for Electronic Arts — Brooks told Digital Trends that the Apple II kicked off his love of computer coding.

“I got my first Apple II+ in 1979 when I was aged 10,” he said. “At the time, we had no way of storing our programs in our household. I had a book called 101 Games in Basic, and I used to type in the programs one at a time, and then when I got bored of one game I’d move onto programming in the next one. I had to do that for nine months or so, before my family could afford to buy a disk drive. That’s what put me on my path toward understanding how computers work.”

The release notes for ProDOS 2.4 read like those for a new MacOS or iOS over-the-air update, circa 2016. There are bug fixes, speed boosts and a handful of new features, just like you’d expect from any other Apple update. The difference, of course, is that rather than being an update for software released last month or the month before, ProDOS 2.4 is an update to ProDOS 2.0.3, which first shipped way back in 1993 — when Bill Clinton took over as president, Jurassic Park was running wild in theaters, and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You swept the music charts.

You can check out the whole list of updates here and, if you don’t happen to have an Apple II model of your own, the same page lets you boot it as a webpage emulator too.

But while this news will likely prompt the fondest reaction from people old enough to remember the glory days of Apple’s original breakout hit computer line, John Brooks said that the machines still have something to offer younger users today.

“Older computers like the Apple II offer a great introduction and set of training wheels for anyone wanting to learn about programming,” he said. “I’m a big fan of the Raspberry Pi, but it’s so much more complicated by comparison. I think a throwback to those earlier computers could help people discover coding.”

Somewhere, Steve Wozniak just punched the air in agreement!

Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Mount Everest is now home to the world’s highest weather station

A team of scientists has created a new record with the installation of the world’s highest weather station atop Everest. Data from the expedition will help researchers better understand the effect of climate change on the region.
Home Theater

Spotify’s Your Daily Drive playlist could crush terrestrial and satellite radio

Spotify is debuting Your Daily Drive, a playlist that combines short-form news podcasts from major media outlets with a personalized selection of music to create a custom radio station that is different for each listener.
Gaming

Defense-focused Wattson may change the Apex Legends meta for Season 2

Wattson was revealed at EA Play 2019 as the new character for Apex Legends. Wattson's skills include the ability to create electric fences and a pylon that can intercept incoming projectiles, for a character that may change the metagame.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.