Referencing Apple products

, by Patrice Freney

Starting a collection is quite easy. We begin by buying an object that we like for various reasons, then a second, a third ...
It is later that it becomes more complicated, where to stop?
It is according to its own criteria. Concerning computer collectors, I know some who stopped at 8 bits machines, or at a particular year, others at some manufacturers, and even in a single manufacturer, some are more generalists (it’s my case), than others who will want to own all different versions of the same product, called revisions, others will only collect laptops, others only all-in-ones, in short, choose your side my friend!

Quelques unités centrales

Collecting items made by a company like Apple is a long, long way, and you have to get it into your head that having all the products is simply impossible. There have been thousands of products sold in the forty-five years of its existence, and it’s far from over.

As I’m working on this article, Apple has just released new 24" iMacs in seven colors, which doesn’t really help the collector that I am. The company took the opportunity to release matching mice, trackpads, but also three different types of keyboards, of course, with the seven colors. In just one day, Apple has released dozens of products. I’ll let you calculate...

Then it gets complicated. How do you know if you own all the products in a family? For example, do I own all the keyboards that Apple has manufactured?
No choice, you have to make a list and check off what you have.
Lists have been available on the Internet for years, it has helped me a lot. Unfortunately, they are sometimes not up to date or incomplete. Some of them even contain errors, repeated from site to site, without really checking.

For Apple computers, iPods, iPhones and others, I can only recommend EveryMac or MacTracker. Real gold mines, regularly updated.
For some products, there are listings on Wikipedia, but they do not always correspond to what a collector like me is looking for. Variations of some products exist, but are not listed. There were several colors for such and such a product, but are they really listed?

I’m going to try, and I wrote try, to make some lists of the Apple products that have been sold.
It’s a long work, because, like any research, you have to cross-reference information. Some sites, held by individuals like me, give lists that are not necessarily correct, and which are copies of other sites, others still propose lists, but incomplete, because they only start with the Macintosh, that is to say since 1984, but Apple exist since 1976.

My collection has been managed for years with a 4D database that I developed. I started it in 1997 and it is still up to date.
I don’t only manage my collection with this database, but I also keep a more or less complete list of what has existed as hardware. I have to admit, my different lists are not complete.
So I decided some time ago to put everything down and to make a real reference.
So I started a long research work. A simple mouse model took me hours to check its existence, its differences, its revisions... It’s even more complicated when I don’t own the object in question. A real work of ant.

Base de données 4D pour la gestion de la collection

After checking the information, the method is quite simple, I verify with my own material. Modestly, I think I have enough to validate this or that information. I prioritized the information according to the models I owned (marked on the product label and/or the box), as well as those given by Apple.
It seems simple, but when I receive donations, there are sometimes hundreds, if not thousands, of items to inventory, not to mention cleaning, checking functionality and taking photographs. A single item can take many hours.

Arrivage de matériels - Juillet 2020
Arrivage de matériels - Juillet 2012

I’m not really up to date with my listings, but I’ve been doing some real referencing for a while. Also, I want every object to be photographed. This seems banal in 2021, but when I started, digital photography was just beginning. I didn’t take the time at this moment to photograph everything, and the successive moves didn’t help either. Except for the computers, the hardware has not been referenced, and not been pictured.

As I wrote a few lines above, this is a long job.

Regarding product variations, so-called revisions, I only list them when a physical difference is visible. Often, there have been very minor hardware revisions, and above all they were not necessarily visible from the outside, for example, the modification of the electronic board. On the other hand, certain details seem to me to be important enough for the object to be declined in several versions.
For example, there were several colours for the same mouse (iMac round mouse), but also a slight change in the colour of the side buttons on the MightyMouse, grey in the original version, white in the next version.
Another example is the ImageWriter II printer, which has had three different versions: a change in colors and serigraphy between the first and second versions, and a change in connector locations between the second and third versions.
So you can see that they are not quite the same product and deserve an extra line in a table.

Stockage des imprimantes

As far as information is concerned, I have placed a label opposite each object:

  • : the material exists. The informations are official from the manufacturer and has been verified by the presence of the equipment (personal, in my environment or otherwise).
  • : some informations are available on the Internet or other sources, but the material existence has not really been confirmed, or not yet. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist...

I have not tried to make a presentation of each product, but rather a list by type of product. The technical specifications can easily be found on the Internet
I made the choice not to show photos for each item, because even if I try to take a picture of them as soon as they arrive, not all of them have been photographed and not all of them have been cleaned. The pictures are more an aid for me to manage my equipment, and they are not necessarily taken in good conditions. Publishing them would not necessarily enhance them. If I add photographs that don’t belong to me, I’ll have to manage the copyright of each one. This is complicated.

Stockage des moniteurs

However, if there is a link in front of the name of the object, it means that photographs have been published on this site. This will be updated as the content of the site is revised. I do not intend to put links to external sites to avoid dealing with errors if the links move or disappear.

So here are the lists that are or will be available. Some of them will be updated, because the product line still exists at Apple, keyboards for example, others should not be, except for correction, because Apple decided not to continue to produce, printers for example.

The lists below will therefore be activated progressively as my research continues. Then again, I’m not going to unveil everything the same day...

  • backups (CDs, floppy drives, hard drives, etc.)
  • digital cameras and video cameras
  • keyboards
  • modems
  • monitors
  • Newton and eMate
  • pointing devices: mouse, joystick, etc.
  • printers
  • scanners
  • speakers
  • WIFI devices

For other Apple products, more known by the general public like the iPhone or the Mac, I refer you to EveryMac or MacTracker.