Kinka ROMs front

Pippin ROM versions 1.3 (from a KMP 2000, top) and 1.2 (from a late-model Atmark)

Pippin ROMs (read-only memory) contained the BIOS firmware for Pippin consoles, based on a specialized version of Apple Computer's Macintosh Toolbox API.[1]


The firmware is stored on 4MB of ROM chips, which are mounted on a small 120-pin board that plugs into a slot on the Pippin motherboard. These are interchangeable between developer and production units. The earliest board designs used flash memory,[2] which were reprogrammable, but ran 1.5 times slower and used 250KB more RAM than their permanent counterparts, potentially affecting smoothness of QuickTime playback.[3]


The software contents of the ROM chips are based on the Open Firmware standard. The first 3MB contain the Macintosh Toolbox, mostly coded for Motorola 68K processors and accessed from the ROM instead of the boot drive in Apple's "Old World" model. The following resource-based drivers are contained within the Toolbox:[4]

Driver Type Processor Purpose
.AppleCD DRVR 68K
.AppleSoundInput DRVR 68K
.DAVInput ndrv PowerPC
.Display_Video_Apple_Control ndrv PowerPC  "Taos" graphics hardware
.EDisk DRVR 68K
.rdrvr DRVR 68K  internal 128KB flash storage
.Sony DRVR 68K
.Sound DRVR 68K

The last 1MB of the ROM contain a 68LC040 emulator, written by Gary Davidian, along with a dynamic recompiler for the PowerPC processor, written by Eric Traut.[4]


Like classic Macintosh computers, Pippin ROMs can be identified by a ROMBase value at low memory address $02AE. This begins with a checksum, followed by a "major version", a "minor version", and then a sub-release value. The "major version" of all Pippin ROMs is 077D, a value shared by all early PowerPC-based Macintoshes through the beige Power Macintosh G3.[5][6] The "minor version" of all Pippin ROMs begins with 2C and the sub-release value is typically 0001.


Early developer ROMs were unstable and can not launch released retail titles. These were delivered on units with re-programmable flash memory.[7][8] One revision (possibly from an EVT-1 prototype) contained a mountable MFS disk image named "Disco" and could boot a beta version of Pippin OS 7.5.2a3 with System Enabler 1.0b3.[9][10][11] Prototype EVT-2 consoles with finalized exterior design were manufactured in December 1995 and initially shipped to developers with a "C3" flash ROM.[3][12] By February 1996, these were swapped with a "GM" (Golden Master) flash ROM that implemented bug fixes. A WORM version of the same ROM was manufactured in small quantities for market testing of "Monitoring" units. Unlike most consumer retail versions, developer ROMs do not check for authentication of CD-ROMs.[8][12]

Pre-release "Monitoring" and revision 1.0 ROM units were identified by a white label with the name "KINKA".[13] The Pippin platform itself is named after Pippin apples;[14] Hoshi no Kinka is a yellow variety of apple that originates from Aomori, Japan.[15] The Japanese word for Kinka (金貨) translates to "gold coin" and can also refer to the golden master in software development.

Revision 1.2 ROMs were offered in December 1996 to owners of Japanese Pippin Atmark consoles in exchange for their original 1.0 ROMs to add MO 230 support. American Pippin @WORLD consoles shipped with 1.2 ROMs built in.[13][16] One of the last Software Development Kits to be issued by Apple included the Pippin 1.2 ROM Update as a software extension.[2]

A limited number of Katz Media Player 2000 were released in Europe with 1.3 ROMs that removed the check for authenticated CD-ROMs. However, booting from external drives was not supported.[1][2]

Pre-release versionsEdit

Revision "Disco"
(from EVT-1)?
開発用 "C3"
(for Development)
GM Flash
(Golden Master)
(for Monitoring)
Board part number AP2660-02 AP2735-01
Number of chips 16* (flash) 8* (WORM)
Chip labeling Intel N28F020-90
or AMD AM28F020-120JC
341S0241 thru 0245, 0247, 0248, 0250
Chip manufacture date (YR/WK) n/a 9510
ROM software date (YR-MM-DD) 1995-10-20[17] c. 1995-12[12] 1996-01-28
Major-minor-subrelease ID 077D-2CD1-0001 077D-2CC3-0001 077D-2CC6-0001
Checksum DEBFDAED  ? 2BF65931
Support FDD Yes Yes Yes
Support HDD Yes Yes   Yes**
Boot from FDD/external SCSI Yes Yes Yes
Support Zip 100 Yes Yes Yes
Support MO 230  ?  ?  ?
Support PCI expansion dock No No No
Check CD-ROM for authentication No No No
Notes Contains MFS image; can launch Mac OS 7.5.2 beta but not retail CD-ROMs Re-programmable; unstable first ROM in EVT-2 prototype Re-programmable; implemented bug fixes Only 500 shipped; labeled "KINKA"; same contents as Golden Master ROMs

Released versionsEdit

Revision Rev. 1.0 Rev. 1.2 (JP) Rev. 1.2 (US) Rev. 1.3
Board part number AP2777-01 820-0867-01 AP2777-01
Number of chips 4 (mask)
Chip labeling 341S0251 thru 0254 341S0297 thru 0300 341S0309 thru 0312 341S0328 thru 0331
Chip manufacture date (YR/WK) 9609 n/a 9633 9706 / 9747
ROM software date (YR-MM-DD) 1996-01-29 1996-06-28[18] 1996-09-20
Major-minor-subrelease ID 077D-2CF2-0001 077D-2CF5-0001 077D-2CF8-0001
Checksum 2BEF21B7 3E10E14C 3E6B3EE4
Support FDD Yes Yes Yes
Support HDD No Yes Yes
Boot from FDD/external SCSI No No No
Support Zip 100 No Yes Yes
Support MO 230 No Yes Yes
Support PCI expansion dock No No Yes
Check CD-ROM for authentication Yes Yes No
Notes Shipped with early Atmark (JP); labeled "KINKA" Exchanged for 1.0 ROMs to add MO 230 support (JP) Shipped with @WORLD (US) Shipped with KMP 2000 (EU)

* Chips are mounted on both sides.
** Reports of a Zip drive being required for hard drive support were likely related to SCSI termination issues.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Useful Notes / Pippin, TV Tropes. Accessed 2017-04-12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hacking the Pippin by Phil Beesley, Vintage Macintosh. 2007-10-22. Archived 2017-08-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pippin Developer Newsletter No. 5 (Japanese), Atmark Channel. 1996-02-15. Archived 1998-05-08.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Exploring the Pippin ROM(s) by Keith Kaisershot, 2018-06-07.
  5. Documentation: Macintosh ROM Version Numbers by McOS Re, SourceForge. 2008-01-25.
  6. Apple Macintosh · ROM Version Numbers, MyOldMac. Accessed 2019-01-25.
  7. I have on loan a *very* early Pippin ROM by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2017-07-25.
  8. 8.0 8.1 開発用PIPPIN (Japanese) by みすてぃく, PIPPINであそぼ~. Archived 2002-11-07.
  9. お宝Old Mac発見!?〜Pipin@atmark(prototype), Apple Noir (Japanese). 2008-05-18.
  10. "Disco?" Tonight's curious discovery: by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2018-10-17.
  11. Well I certainly didn't expect to see this today. :D by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2018-11-07.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Pippin Developer Newsletter No. 4 (Japanese), Atmark Channel. 1996-01-10. Archived 1998-05-08.
  13. 13.0 13.1 About ROM, Let’s play with PIPPIN (Japanese). Archived 2008-01-16.
  14. Bandai Pippin FAQ, The Mac Geek. Accessed 2017-04-14.
  15. Biotechnology and apple breeding in Japan, Breeding Science. 2016 Jan; 66(1): 18–33.
  16. PEASE Turbo Support Page, Maki Enterprise. Accessed 2017-04-16.
  17. Well, there it is. by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2018-11-07.
  18. Exploring the Pippin ROM(s), part 5: Open Firmware by Keith Kaisershot, 2018-09-24.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit