After the MPF-1 educational systems, Multitech (which eventually became Acer in 1987) conceived the MPF-II computer (MPF stands for Micro-ProFessor) a more advanced computer supposed to be compatible with the Apple 2.
The MPF-II must be the only computer delivered with two keyboards! The first one is located directly onto the system case. It has very small calculator type keys and is really painful to work with. In fact it is the same used with MPF-1 Plus and MPF-1/65 educational computers. Knowing that it wouldn't be enough for the more ambitious MPF-II, Multitech chosed to deliver a larger keyboard with rubber keys, same type used on popular computers of that time like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Even though it was better than the first one, it wasn't still very convenient. There is even a special key labeled with the Multitech logo which function is... nothing. Indeed, nothing happen when you press it!
The main interest of the MPF-II is that it is supposed to be compatible Apple II. In fact only its Basic is compatible with the Applesoft Basic. Thus it is not possible to directly use Apple Software on a MPF-II, even though later, special ROMs modified by enthusiasts were available to turn the MPF-II into a full Apple II compatible system...
Some extensions were available:
- up to 2 disk drives with their controller (5.25", Single Sided - Double Density, 250 KB non formated),
- Multitech thermal printer using special thermal paper (10 cm wide). 150 lines per minute, 120 caracters per second,
- Dot matrix printer
- joysticks, tape recorder, multi-printer interface.
Several optional software provided the MPF-II with Assembly, Pascal, Logo and Forth programming languages.
When it came out in 1982, the MPF-II had excellent reviews since for a reasonable price you had color, high resolution and 64 KB RAM. This offer had nearly no competition... until the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 got more popular with their large software offer.
The MPF-1/65 also From Multitech is very similar to the MPF-II and might be based on it, or vice versa. The MPF-II had a successor, the MPF III, also partially compatible with the Apple IIe.
Taneli Lukka from Finland reports to us:
This computer was sold here in Finland and if I remember correctly it got pretty good reviews from a couple of Finnish computer magazines thanks to it's Apple II compatibility and average design, but it is not common even in Finland. It does seem that it was used in Finnish schools (which means that it was accepted and recommended as a school computer by the Finnish board of education). I found one of these from my school here in the city of Pori when the building was being renovated last year together with a disk drive controller cartridge, but I was too slow to get it back, so now I only have the controller cartridge, the machine went missing soon after. :( It was stored in the biology classroom together with a large old printer , so it must have been used there for some kind of simple biological experiments as a learning tool.
Francisco Morero from Spain adds:
It was also sold also in Spain, but the software included in the "Spanish version" did not include any other language than its 'Apple compatible BASIC'.
Therefore the options were BASIC or Assembler for 6502 microprocessor. Unfortunately its spartan documentation as well as the non-existing users comunity made it the worst choice in Spain.