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, which were reprogrammable, but ran 1.5 times slower and used 250KB more RAM than their permanent counterparts, potentially affecting smoothness of QuickTime playback. The ROM slot uses the same 120-pin configuration as the X-PCI expansion slot.
Like Power Macintosh computers, Pippin ROMs are based on the Open Firmware standard. Pippin consoles access the software contents of their ROM chips through Apple's "Old World" model, unlike "New World" Macs which store their ROM software on the boot drive. The first 3MB contain the Macintosh Toolbox, mostly coded for Motorola 68K processors. The following resource-based drivers are contained within the Toolbox:
|.Display_Video_Apple_Control||ndrv||PowerPC||"Taos" graphics hardware|
|.rdrvr||DRVR||68K||internal 128KB flash storage|
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. 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 commercially released retail titles. These were delivered on units with re-programmable flash memory. 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. Prototype EVT-2 consoles with finalized exterior design were manufactured in December 1995 and initially shipped to developers with a "C3" flash ROM. 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.
Pre-release "Monitoring" and revision 1.0 ROM units were identified by a white label with the name "KINKA". The Pippin platform itself is named after Pippin apples; Hoshi no Kinka is a yellow variety of apple that originates from Aomori, Japan. 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 external SCSI and MO 230 support. American Pippin @WORLD consoles shipped with 1.2 ROMs built in. A Pippin authentication dongle will cause consoles with 1.2 ROMs to bypass authentication. One of the last Software Development Kits to be issued by Apple included Pippin 1.2 ROM Update as a software extension. This extension contains a small amount of code that only applies patches to 1.2 ROMs; it does not update older 1.0 ROMs.
A limited number of Katz Media Player 2000 were released in Europe with 1.3 ROMs that removed the check for authenticated CD-ROMs and supported a wider range of CD-ROM drive mechanisms. However, booting from external drives was not supported.
|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||c. 1995-12||1996-01-28||c. 1996-06|
|Support HDD (daisy-chained SCSI)||Yes||Yes||Yes**||Yes|
|Boot from FDD/external SCSI||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Support Zip 100||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Support MO 230||No||No||No||?|
|Support PCI expansion dock||No||No||No||?|
|Check CD-ROM for authentication||No||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||In development before release of 1.2 ROM|
|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||1996-09-20|
|Support HDD (daisy-chained SCSI)||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|
|Support developer dongle||No||Yes||Yes|
|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.
*** A Pippin developer dongle will allow consoles with ROM revision 1.2 or 1.3 to boot from an external SCSI drive.
**** A Pippin developer dongle will cause consoles with ROM revision 1.2 to bypass authentication.
***** Pippin Kickstart 1.1 will allow all retail consoles to bypass authentication and support booting from external SCSI devices.
- Useful Notes / Pippin, TV Tropes. Accessed 2017-04-12.
- Hacking the Pippin by Phil Beesley, Vintage Macintosh. 2007-10-22. Archived 2017-08-17.
- FDユニット自作 その１ (Japanese) by Kankoba, MAISON PiPPiN, GeoCities. Archived 2002-03-05.
- Exploring the Pippin ROM(s) by Keith Kaisershot, Blitter.net. 2018-06-07.
- Documentation: Macintosh ROM Version Numbers by McOS Re, SourceForge. 2008-01-25.
- Apple Macintosh · ROM Version Numbers, MyOldMac. Accessed 2019-01-25.
- I have on loan a *very* early Pippin ROM by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2017-07-25.
- 開発用PIPPIN (Japanese) by みすてぃく, PIPPINであそぼ～. Archived 2002-11-07.
- お宝Old Mac発見!?〜Pipin@atmark(prototype), Apple Noir (Japanese). 2008-05-18.
- "Disco?" Tonight's curious discovery: by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2018-10-17.
- Well I certainly didn't expect to see this today. :D by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2018-11-07.
- About ROM, Let’s play with PIPPIN (Japanese). Archived 2008-01-16.
- Bandai Pippin FAQ, The Mac Geek. Accessed 2017-04-14.
- Biotechnology and apple breeding in Japan, Breeding Science. 2016 Jan; 66(1): 18–33.
- That's it. by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2019-06-18.
- PEASE Turbo Support Page, Maki Enterprise. Accessed 2017-04-16.
- Did you know: Apple provided ADB dongles to Pippin developers that allowed them to bypass the security check at startup., by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2019-05-27.
- Un lecteur CD plus rapide dans la Pippin (avec la ROM 1.3) (French) by Pierre Dandumont, Le Journal du Lapin. 2016-10-22.
- Well, there it is. by Keith Kaisershot, Twitter. 2018-11-07.
- Exploring the Pippin ROM(s), part 5: Open Firmware by Keith Kaisershot, Blitter.net. 2018-09-24.
- Katz Media Begins Shipping Pippins in Europe, Katz Media SARL. 1997-03-17. Archived 1997-07-17.
- Pippin Kickstart 1.1 by Keith Kaisershot, Blitter.net. 2021-02-09.
- How to identify ROM at Let’s play with PIPPIN (Japanese, archived 2007-12-08)
- Les ROMs de la Pippin by Pierre Dandumont at Le Journal du Lapin (French, 2016-07-02)
- Cloning the Pippin Flash ROM board at 68k Macintosh Liberation Army
- Pippin Disassembly Guide by joewhk at Flickr (2017-02-05)
- Apple Pippin: ROM-BIOS at Wikipedia