This article is from the Apple II Csa2 FAQ, by Jeff Hurlburt with numerous contributions by others.
We have, it seems, reached the situation narrowly averted only three years ago. Hobbled by inept generalship and beset by swarms of power-packed IBM clones, the II world is moving to an inevitable consensus: Apple has lost the 'Mandate of Heaven'; II leadership is up for grabs. I believe most users would like to see the company rediscover its hacker/experimenter roots and become a 'serious player'; it had better. What remains of the Empire (fat, contented Macsville) is already scheduled for plundering by hordes of '486-based monsters. The 'bad news' is that, as the battle over speed, graphics, disk I/O, and other needed advances heats up; it will, for a time, become difficult to present software designers with a 'standard II'. Clones, plug-in upgrades, and third-party motherboards (along with firmware and operating system mods) will add to the confusion; some established II suppliers will fold; etc., etc.. (It ain't gonna be pretty, Pilgrim.) Indeed, once it becomes clear what revolutionaries mean by having to "break eggs to make an omelet", more than a few users are sure to bail out and head for the relatively peaceful IBM clone realm. On the positive side, just such a state of flux is most likely to produce fierce competition, lower prices, increased opportunities for developers, and significant leaps in performance. One way or another, you WILL get your upgrade. If all this sounds interesting-- even, like it might be fun-- then hang on. You have the 'right stuff' for the II Revolution! Note: Bill Mensch's semi-informal "IIgs Working Group" plans one or more meetings this summer. To offer comments, ideas, etc., or to otherwise 'get involved', contact Andrew Hall at the address listed in "Vendors".