Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe was the first person to purchase a iDisk for Apple II and he’s kindly sent us several pictures and a short write-up on it.

The announcement on comp.sys.apple2 of the availability of the iDisk card for the Apple II, the first dual USB Bluetooth/Disk controller/Disk image archive for our platform, has been more than surprising as nobody was aware of it. The card is divided into two parts: one that fits into the computer which contains the two USB ports and the second external card which offers disk switching operations.

Installation on a //GS (ROM 01) is straightforward and takes less than a minute but requires you to cut off your chassis for the two USB cards to be reachable. It is recommended to install the card into slot 6 to restrict compatibility issues with some disk images.

The internal card recognizes USB Bluetooth dongles as well as USB Flash drives formatted with FAT16 thus limiting their size to 2GB. It is very well-designed despite the fact that the chassis be cut. A further release will correct that drawback.

The external card can be seen as the remote controller of the iDisk offering disk switching and status as well as the mandatory reset feature.

Press the reset button, turn your computer on and release the button, the iDisk menu is displayed and allows you to browse through your .DSK disk images or access the Bluetooth features which have not been tested yet. The menu is simple but lacks simplicity as key shortcuts are not user-friendly (P to exit, 2 to enter a folder, and so on) I would like to see a firmware update to correct these minor issues.

Once you have your disk images selected and have pressed P to exit and boot, the disk images load magically from the USB disk. Several images have been tested (Zaxxon, Thexder, Master.dsk) with no issues and what is surprising is that the images load at the original Disk II speed!

Despite the design issue that will be corrected soon, that card introduces USB connections to the Apple II family which, if the firmware permits, will open a new world of USB devices if the few remaining programmers use it.

Priced at NTD 6500 (32 NTD = 1 USD) for an iDisk and a Bluetooth USB dongle, at NTD 8005 (USD 245) with taxes and s&h, it is an expensive item which will have to find its way among Compact Flash card readers and the newly introduced Carte Blanche.

Gallery:

iDisk 1
iDisk 2
iDisk flipside
iDisk Control Dongle
iDisk Control Dongle flipside
iDisk goodies
iDisk closeup
iDisk installed
iDisk User Menu
Running Zaxxon
In slot 6
In slot 5