A look back at Apple's printers

Macs weren't the only hardware to come out of Cupertino before the iPod and iPhone came along. For nearly two decades, Apple offered its own line of printers as well. Here's a look back at some of the more memorable models.

Apple Printers Through the Years

From a period between 1980 and 1999, Apple sold numerous Apple-branded printers designed especially for use with its computers. A few were tailored for early machines like the Apple II, III, and Lisa, but the majority worked with Apple’s longest-running computer line, the Macintosh. Here’s a look back at some of the printers Apple produced over the years.

Apple Silentype (1980)

Apple designed the Silentype printer, which used special heat-sensitive paper, to work with the Apple II and Apple III computers. As a rebranded Trendcom Model 200 thermal printer, it required a custom interface designed by Apple. (Photo: Apple)

Apple Dot Matrix Printer (1982)

Apple derived its first dot matrix printer, seen here, from a model made by C. Itoh Enterprises. Apple marketed it for use with the Apple II, III, and Lisa computers. Around the same time, the company also offered a “letter quality” daisywheel printer (not shown). (Photo: Apple)

Apple Color Plotter & Apple Scribe (1984)

Apple released its first and only Apple-branded plotter (a type of printer that uses pens to draw lines on paper) around the same time as the first Macintosh. That same year, Apple also released the Apple Scribe to coincide with the Apple IIc’s introduction. It used a unique thermal wax transfer ribbon that consumers found expensive over time. (Photo: Apple)

Apple ImageWriter (1984)

>The ImageWriter, a modified C. Itoh 8510, marked a big step in Apple printers. Promoted primarily for use with the first Macintosh, Apple designed this popular dot-matrix to easily print the Mac’s rich on-screen graphics as well as text. (Photo: Apple)

Apple ImageWriter II (1985)

Only a year after the first ImageWriter, Apple offered a significant update. The ImageWriter II proved faster and sturdier than its precursor, and it modernized the printer’s design to match the Snow White design language. Despite the heavy Apple design, it still used internal C. Itoh mechanisms. (Photo: Apple)

Apple LaserWriter (1985)

The first LaserWriter marked Apple’s entry into the Laser printer marketplace and, along with the Macintosh, sparked the desktop publishing revolution. (Photo: Apple)

Apple LaserWriter II Series (1988)

All members of the LaserWriter II series of laser printers shared the same main body style; most (like the IISC, IINT, and IINTX) were simply the same printers with swapped motherboards. (Photo: Apple)

Apple StyleWriter (1991)

Apple’s first inkjet printer, the StyleWriter, offered excellent graphical printing quality for a relatively low price compared to laser printers. (Photo: Apple)

Apple Personal LaserWriter NTR (1992)

In the early 1990s, Apple introduced a series of smaller laser printers with the “Personal” moniker. They provided less performance than their bigger (impersonal?) brothers of the main LaserWriter line, but were also much less expensive. (Photo: Apple)

Apple StyleWriter II (1993)

Apple improved upon its original inkjet printer with the StyleWriter II in 1993, which doubled the first StyleWriter’s printing speed. Soon, Apple would offer many other StyleWriter models — some in color. (Photo: Apple)

Apple Color Printer (1993)

Apple’s first color printer, seen here, was an inkjet model based on the Canon P691 Color Bubblejet printing engine. It proved expensive and relatively unpopular. (Photo: Apple)

Apple Color StyleWriter 6500 (1997)

During the mid-1990s, Apple released a number of Color StyleWriter printers that were simply rebadged members of the HP DeskJet 600 series, like the Color StyleWriter 6500 shown here (ironically, in black-and-white). (Photo: Apple)

The Final LaserWriters (1996, 1997)

The Apple LaserWriter 12/640 PS, Apple Color LaserWriter 12/660 PS, and Apple LaserWriter 8500 represent the end of the line for the LaserWriter series, and ultimately, with the 8500, the end of Apple-brand printers in 1997. It seems unlikely that Apple will ever re-enter the printer market, but stranger things have happened.