[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple II SwyftCard

March 30th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Jef Raskin Steve Wozniak Information Appliance Swyft Card SwyftCard Apple II advertisement  - Personal Computing - March 1986Paid for by SwyftCard Veterans for Truth

From the land of exotic Apple II accessories comes the Information Appliance SwyftCard, a plug-in peripheral card that gave the Apple IIe a built-in suite of ROM-based productivity tools, all unified around a novel scroll-based [PDF] user environment called SWYFT.

SWYFT was the brainchild of former Apple employee Jef Raskin, who originally spearheaded the Macintosh project. After disagreements with Steve Jobs over the direction of that project, Raskin left Apple and founded Information Appliance, Inc. (consequently, Jobs took the Mac project in a completely new direction).

The SwyftCard originated as an Apple IIe-based prototype for a dedicated machine centered around Raskin’s SWYFT environment, but it proved so effective and compelling that it became its own product. The dedicated concept would later emerge as the Canon Cat in 1987.

SwyftCards are very rare (I’ve never seen one in person over 20 years of collecting Apple II hardware), so Apple enthusiast Mike Willegal has provided instructions for building your own. Pretty neat!

P.S. I emailed this ad to Steve Wozniak (who is featured in the ad) and he said, “Cool reminder!”

[ From Personal Computing, March 1986, p.163 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Jef Raskin vs. Steve Jobs: Who do you identify with the most?

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple II SwyftCard”

  1. Geoff V. Says:

    Jef Raskin vs. Steve Jobs: Who do you identify with the most?
    Steve Wozniak

  2. idisjunction Says:

    ^ What he said.

  3. Moondog Says:

    I am still amazed by the variety of products for the Apple II and how resourceful the designers of these products were. Looking back it’s interesting to to see how designers would get around the hardware and software limitations through add-on cards, yet make it work seamlessly inside the regular operating environment. The “emulators” which contained the equivalent of a stand alone pc also amuse me.

  4. cozfer Says:

    ^ I third that

  5. Jistuce Says:

    What everyone else said.
    I don’t know much about Raskin.
    The more I learn about Jobs, the more I dislike him, and I wasn’t a fan in the first place.
    But Wozniak is my kind of people.

  6. Geoff V. Says:

    Why do I get an uneasy feeling when people agree with my opinion?

  7. Matrix Says:

    Raskin vs Jobs? Neither.

    Doug Engelbart 🙂

  8. Dramon Says:


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