Apple III

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Apple III
Manufacturer The Keyboard Company
Keyswitches Alps SKCC Cream
Alps SKCC Tall Cream
Alps SKCC Lock
Alps SKFF Double Action Black
Alps SKFF Double Action White
Datanetics DC-50 series
Years of production 1980–1983
Precedes Apple III Plus

The Apple III (III written in italics or using slashes) is a microcomputer from Apple. It is notable for being one of the few (if not the only) computer keyboard to feature double action switches.


Like its predecessor the Apple II, the keyboard has a Control key to the left of 'A', with an Alpha Lock key in the bottom-left corner. There are two Apple keys next to the Alpha Lock key. There is a 3×5 numeric keypad with a minus sign and Enter key but no calculator keys. Notably, it has no (backwards) Delete key, instead having backslash in that position.

The cursor keys are in a backwards-L configuration. Notably, they use double action switches to achieve auto-repeat, as these machines likely precede the point that Apple introduced software auto-repeat (see also the REPT key on the Apple II).

The computer was plagued with numerous problems[1] and discontinued in 1983. It was succeeded by the Apple III Plus, which was cheaper and had a different keyboard — with a Delete key and no special switches for the cursor keys.[Citation needed]


Datanetics switches

The original keyboard used Datanetics DC-50 series switches. At the time of writing, this keyboard has not been observed, and the repeated mention of "SARA" against it in the bill of materials (the product's codename) suggest that it may be the keyboard from the prototype machines. The following switch details are from the bill of materials for the Apple /// in the service documentation:

  • 705-0004: "SWITCH DC51-31" (most keys)
  • 705-0011: "SWITCH, DC51 ALT ACTION (SARA)"
  • 705-0012: "SWITCH, DC51 DUAL ACTION (SARA)"

Datanetics DC-51-31 was also used in Apple II computers, which may be why it is not denoted "SARA" here.


This is the keyboard typically found on the Apple III. Most keys use either Alps SKCC Cream with height adapters or Alps SKCC Tall Cream. Alpha Lock uses Alps SKCC Lock. The arrow keys arrow keys use Alps SKFF Double Action White or Black, with the latter replacing the former.

The bill of materials within the service documentation lists the switches as "KCC" (momentary and alternate action) and "KFF" (double action).


This keyboard is for the Apple III Plus; it uses Alps SKCC Tall Cream switches for most keys, Alps SKCC Lock for Alpha Lock, and the arrow keys use Alps SKFF Double Action Black.



External links