Urgent upgrade: Apple II gets its first OS update in 23 years

There's a new ProDOS update available for the Apple II, almost a quarter of a century after Apple's last official software release for the machine.

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Software developer John Brooks has produced a new OS update for the Apple II for the first time since 1993's ProDOS version 2.0.3.

Image: Call A.P.P.L.E

If you own a working Apple II computer, there's a new ProDOS update for the first time in 23 years, thanks to software developer John Brooks.

In 1993, ProDOS version 2.0.3 was the last official release Apple delivered for the Apple II series. But on Friday, that was superseded by ProDOS 8 version 2.4, which Brooks released to mark the 30th anniversary of Apple IIGS.

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Steve Jobs introduced the first Apple II computers designed by Steve Wozniak in 1977. The Apple IIGS was the fifth model in the Apple II series, launched on September 15, 1986. Apple continued selling the Apple II series until 1993.

According to Ars Technica, remarkably the update also brings improvements to the earlier Apple ][ and ][+.

For those who don't own a working Apple II model, the Internet Archive's computer historian has set up a ProDOS 2.4 in an emulator that can be run in any browser.

Brooks' enhancements to ProDOS include Bitsy Bye, a new program launcher, and Bitsy Boot, a utility for quick and easy booting of Apple II devices. Ars Technica notes that Bitsy Bye runs in less than 1kB of RAM, while the boot utility runs in under 400 bytes, making them examples of highly-efficient coding.

The release also includes a number of utilities and programs to move files from floppy disks to USB and other disk storage, as well as disk utilities to repair disks, file-management utilities, and an Unshrink tool to expand archives compressed with Shrinkit.

The ProDOS 2.4 disk image is available at the bottom of this post by Brooks on Call-A.P.P.L.E. According to Brooks, the splash page's 16-August-16 date is "because Woz" was probably referring to SWEET16, the 16-bit metaprocessor that Wozniak wrote for and used in the Apple II.

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