In the June 1977 issue of BYTE magazine I saw an advertisement stating you could order an Apple II and it had a price list. One of the columns was titled "Apple II Board-only". The price for that column was significantly less than the "Apple II System" column.

It was my understanding the Apple II never came in kit form (unlike its predecessor the Apple I).

So, my assumption is that you could have bought just the motherboard (fully populated) and you supply the case. Is this correct or could you also buy the empty board and solder the chips in yourself like you could with the Apple I?

I feel that even a populated board that you had to mount in a case with a PSU could be considered a "kit".



I wanted to mention that the ad I saw appears to be from Apple. Further down the page (this is from a PDF I saw) the address you send the money to was Apple. It does appear that you could buy the board with memory populated. I'm assuming the rest of the board would also be populated. So maybe I answered my own question. Perhaps they didn't consider it a kit. More of a replacement motherboard.

  • 1
    I think selling a kit of the Apple ii was in contrast with the new Apple Computer Company politics. They had taken an accord with Byte Shop to sell fully assembled and ready to use Personal Computers. Feb 22, 2017 at 23:23
  • 1
    That's what I thought but there appears to be some evidence that the Apple II did come in kit form. At least in the very beginning. I would be interesting to see how long that lasted in an "official" policy.
    – cbmeeks
    Feb 23, 2017 at 15:07

4 Answers 4


Apple II is also available in board-only form for the do-it-yourself hobbyist. Has all of the features of the Apple II system, but does not include case, keyboard, power supply or game paddles. $598.

 — Apple Computer Inc. advert, p.~15 Byte Magazine Volume 02 Number 06.

This could just have been an ad, and never followed through, but anecdotally:

A friend of mine bought a board only Apple II. It was the first Apple Computer that I ever saw.

 — Techtalkz Apple board - II Board only - Feb 2008.

There are several other tales of board-only purchases there, so I'd say it likely was available for a while.


The "Red"[1] reference manual says this on the "unpacking" page

If you bought an Apple II board only, see the hardware section in this manual on how to get started.

Pages 107 & 108 then go into some detail (about the PSU requirements etc) and exactly what you'll get from Apple (i.e. no keyboard, but again this seems to be available on it's own).

I'm guessing from this that bare boards were sold, and I think the manuals were written after the first systems shipped...

[1] I have an "odd" orange coloured version of this manual, I suspect it might have come with an ITT2020 at some point.


I'm surprised I haven't seen this thread before, and I know it's a while afterwards.....

While I was very young at the time, I believe it was mid 80's where my older brother had saved enough money from mowing lawns and shoveling sidewalks that he purchased a kit for an Apple II. I've asked him where he got it, but he barely remembers himself. He went to a summer computer camp, that was on a nearby college campus in upstate NY. I guess our father paid for a few hundred dollars for the purchase, but we're unsure if it was from the college campus, the company running the computer camp, or some other third party seller.

What I do remember, is that it had no case. I think we had a monitor that it was able to connect to. I do remember my brother making his own case out of wood pieces from an old dresser, and the keyboard was held in with just a couple of roofing nails. I do remember lifting up the keyboard one time, reaching in to touch some of the parts, and accidentally touching contacts on the power supply. That's the first time I remember ever getting an electric "bite". That little buzz immediately made me respect electricity for the rest of my life.

It's also hazy if the floppy drive came with the kit, or if it was an additional item our father purchased. I do know it was an Apple II, and not an Apple I. I know it does not definitively answer if the Apple II was sold as a kit or not, but it was an Apple II, that required some assembly and had no case. It was brand new parts. At one time, I thought my brother may have still had the computer, but he apparently got rid of it about 20 years ago. It was a little sad, as it was a big memory in my childhood.

  • You should really read the tour; I can tell that you're relatively new to Stack Exchange. Unusually, your story has stayed on-topic throughout and does answer the question; despite hating fun I have to congratulate you on a great first answer. :-)
    – wizzwizz4
    Jul 14, 2018 at 19:32

I'm not aware of the Apple II ever being sold (legally) as a kit; however, I do know that at one point Bell & Howell had a study-at-home course which involved building your own Apple II (as they were shipped with a black case, rather than the standard Apple beige, they were popularly called "Black Apples"). I suppose that it's not impossible that some of the Black Apples 'escaped', either with or without Apple's knowledge/approval.

  • Thanks, that's a good answer. However, I forgot to mention that the ad I saw appeared to be a genuine Apple advertisement.
    – cbmeeks
    Feb 21, 2017 at 14:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .