Vectronic's Apple StyleWriter Printer
Originally Published: July 8, 2007
Apple StyleWriter printers, beginning with the StyleWriter, were the last attempt by Apple to place their badge on a consumer home-use printer. Apple StyleWriter printers were a mix of re-branded printers from HP and Canon and worked well on both Macintosh and PC computers. Apple discontinued all StyleWriter printers in 1995. Apple computers were able to print to the majority of printers sold to PC users, thus the branding of third-party printers with Apple labels became unnecessary and served to pull Apple away from its primary home computer business. The StyleWriter represents the first generation of Apple inkjet printers. Later StyleWriter models include: StyleWriter II, StyleWriter 1200, Apple Color StyleWriter Pro, Apple Color StyleWriter 1500, Apple Color StyleWriter 2200, Apple Color StyleWriter 2400, Apple Color StyleWriter 2500, Apple Color StyleWriter 4100, Apple Color StyleWriter 4500, and Apple Color StyleWriter 6500.
Designed for individual or home use, the StyleWriter printer provides "near-laser-quality" print at 360 dots per inch (DPI) while using thermal inkjet technology. The Image utility allows conversion of 300 DPI halftone images in PICT format for printing at 360 DPI, which is the maximum resolution of the StyleWriter printer.
The StyleWriter's thermal inkjet technology delivers high-quality printed results, both text and graphics, at very low cost. It has a very quiet operation. A single user-replaceable ink cartridge prints up to 500 pages of text and graphics. The StyleWriter is capable of printing in black and white only. It uses Apple StyleWriter Ink Cartridges (M8041G/B) manufactured by Canon. The StyleWriter can use Canon-branded ink cartridges BC-01, BC-02, and BC-20.
Thermal inkjet printers like the StyleWriter, use print cartridges with a series of tiny electrically heated chambers. An image is produced by running a current through the heating elements causing a steam explosion in the chamber to form a bubble. This propels a droplet of ink onto the paper. Canon called its own branded printers "Bubblejet" printers. Canon actually invented this type of inkjet printer in 1977.
The StyleWriter has a detachable sheet feeder that automatically feeds up to 50 sheets of paper into the printer. Two latches on both sides of the printer must be pushed back to unlock and detach the sheet feeder. The printer can be operated without the feeder. Without the feeder, front and rear manual feed options simplify the printing of single sheets of letterhead, envelopes, labels, or transparencies for overhead projection. A manual feed slot on the rear of the printer is used to feed single sheets or envelopes.
Along with driver software, Apple shipped the StyleWriter with a 3.5-inch floppy disk containing four TrueType fonts. Apple's TrueType advanced font technology was created in cooperation with Microsoft in an effort to avoid paying high royalties demanded by Adobe to license the use of PostScript fonts. The TrueType disk contains four font families: Times, Helvetica, Courier, and Symbol. Additional compatible TrueType fonts were available from other suppliers, including headline, text, symbol, and novelty designs. TrueType, in conjunction with the Apple StyleWriter, allowed for the creation of documents containing equations and formulas. Virtually any type size and a wide range of styles could be used.
The StyleWriter uses QuickDraw, to generate bit-mapped graphics and fonts. QuickDraw is the Mac's native graphics language in Classic Mac OS. QuickDraw was the Mac's underlying graphics display system, which allowed programs to create and manipulate graphical objects. QuickDraw makes it possible for the StyleWriter printer to generate a WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") print out of what the user sees on the Mac's screen.
The StyleWriter requires a Macintosh with 1 MB of RAM and Mac OS 6.07 to Mac OS 9. The Macintosh must have a mini-DIN serial port. The StyleWriter does not work with the Apple IIe or earlier Apple II computers. The Apple IIgs with GS/OS 6.0 or later will support the StyleWriter.