The Evolution of Apple Computer
Let’s take a trip back in time and review the evolution of a computer company. It’s not IBM or Microsoft. This company is Apple Computers, Incorporated.
In the year 1976, before most people even thought about buying a computer for their homes. Back then the computer community added up to a few brainy hobbyist. So when Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs sold a van and two programmable calculators for thirteen hundred dollars and started Apple Computers, Inc., in Jobs garage, the reach for success seemed far.
But these two young business men, Wozniak 26 years old and Jobs 21 years old, had a vision. “Computers aren’t for nerds anymore,” they announced. “Computers are going to be the bicycle of the mind. Low cost computers for everyone.”
From the first day on the founders of Apple kept their vision intact, and they spoke it at every turn. They only hired people into the company that had the same visions as they did.
In early 1976 Wozniak and Jobs finish work on a preassembled computer circuit board. It has no Product keyboard, case, sound or graphics. They call it the Apple I. They form the Apple Computer Company on April Fool’s Day and sold the Apple I board for $666.66 at the Home brew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.
In 1977 the Apple II is available to the general public. Fully assembled and pretested, it includes 4K of standard memory, and comes equipped with two game paddles and a demo cassette. The price is $1,298. Customers use their own TV set as a monitor and store programs on audio cassette recorders. Compare this price with computers today. The price about the same, but the computer has changed tremendously.
In 1979 Apple II+ is introduced, available with 48K of memory and a new auto-start ROM for easier startup and screen editing for $1,195. Apple II Pascal is also released.
In 1980 Apple FORTRAN introduced and proves to be a catalyst for high-level technical and educational applications. Apple III announced at the National Computer Conference. It has a new operating system, a built-in disk controller and four peripheral slots priced at $3,495, the Apple III is the most advanced system in the company’s history. Product
In 1981 Accessory Products Division formed to handle production of printers, modems and other peripherals. The Apple Language Card is introduced. It allows Apple II users to run programs in either Pascal, FORTRAN or Pilot. The IEEE-488 interface card is announced and allows Apple II computers to be linked to over 1,400 scientific and technical instruments.
International Business Machines came on the PC scene in August of 1981 with the IBM Personal Computer. Apple greets its new competitor with a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal with a headline that reads, “Welcome IBM. Seriously.” Apple’s first mass storage system was also introduced this year, the 5MB ProFile hard disk, priced at $3,499.
In November of 1983 AppleWorks, an integrated package containing word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications all in one, is introduced and will soon become the world’s best selling software.
In February of 1985 Jobs and Wozniak receive National Technology Medal from President Reagan at the White House. The ImageWriter II, HD-20 hard disk and Apple Personal Modem were also introduced this year.
In January of 1987 Apple introduced a new desktop communications products including the AppleShare file server software and AppleTalk PC Card. They are priced at $799 and $399. Also introduced in 1987 is the AppleFax Modem, priced at $699. Now you get a fax modem with the purchase of an Apple computer.
In February of 1988 Apple introduces AppleCD SC, an optical storage device that gives access to huge amounts of information. Priced at $1,199, a single CD-ROM disc can store up to 270,000 pages of typewritten information. Also in 1988 Apple files suit against Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard to protect its Macintosh audio visual display. The lawsuit is seen as having industry wide implications regarding copyright laws. In late 1988 Apple introduces the Macintosh IIx computer, priced at $7,769. It is the first Macintosh II computer to use Motorola’s 68030 microprocessor and 68882 math co-processor. It is also the first Macintosh to incorporate FDHD, Floppy Drive High Density, Apple’s new 1.44MB floppy disk drive that can read and write to MS-DOS, OS/2 and ProDOS formats. Also a new configuration is announced for the Macintosh SE. The new unit features two megabytes of RAM and an internal 40 megabyte hard drive. It retails for $5,069.
From April till July of 1989 Apple II Video Overlay Card is introduced. It provides video overlay capabilities for the Apple IIGS. Also introduced was Apple’s 32-Bit QuickDraw that allows Macintosh personal computers to process and display photo-quality documents, images and visualizations with exceptional color clarity. Apple also unveils more than a dozen new networking and communication products this year to increase Macintosh compatibility in multi vendor environments, including DEC, IBM, OSI and TCP/IP. In July of 1989 Apple IIGS System Software 5.0 is announced. It is the first 16-bit operating system for the Apple IIGS that operates over the AppleTalk network system.
In the early year of 1991 Apple petitions the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to let computers transmit and receive information over radio waves, paving the way for a new industry, called Data Personal Communications Services(Data-PCS). In October of 1991 Apple, IBM, and Motorola finalize milestone technology alliance. The alliance consists of five distinct technology initiatives:
1.) Better integration of Macintosh PCs into IBM’s networks;
2.) A new family of RISC microprocessors for PCs and entry-level workstations;
3.) PowerOpen-a new open systems environment derived from AIX (IBM’s industry-standard version of UNIX);
4.) Kaleida-a new multimedia joint venture that will create and license new multimedia technology;
5.)Taligent-a next-generation operating environment based entirely on object-oriented technology.
In May of 1992 IBM, Motorola and Apple formally dedicate a new facility that will serve as the focal point of design and development efforts for the PowerPC family of single-chip, reduced instruction set computing (RISC) microprocessors.
In 1993, during the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple demonstrates a prototype Macintosh computer running on an 80 MHz PowerPC 601 processor, achieving a new performance level in the industry. The company also demonstrates PowerPC-compatibility with existing Macintosh applications software.
In the beginning of 1994 Apple unveils Power Macintosh 6100/60, 7100/66 & 8100/80 a new line of Apple Macintosh computers fueled by the PowerPC microprocessor. The Apple Power Macintosh line trounces Pentium processor-based PCs in an independent study conducted by Ingram Laboratories. In the end of this year leading industry developers announce support for second-generation Power Macintosh with PCI (Personal Component Interconnect).
In January of 1995 Apple Ships QuickTime VR, bringing virtual reality to Macintosh and Windows personal computers. The Power Macintosh 6100/66, 7100/80 and 8100/100 eclipses fastest Pentium-based systems by an average of 38% reports Ingram Laboratories. In the mid-year of 1995 Apple hails FCC decision to allocate 10 Megahertz of radio spectrum for low-power, wireless data communications, “Data-PCS.” Also this year Pioneer licenses Apple’s Mac OS for use in Pioneer’s new line of personal computers. Multimedia user experience enhanced with new Apple CD 600e quad speed CD-ROM player. Apple provides interactive TV set-top technology for a six state trial of interactive educational programming with Light span Partnership, Inc. Apple and IBM agree to provide multi-platform application development tools to enable users to build custom applications using OpenDoc technology. Apple unveils the next generation of Mac OS at its Worldwide Developers Conference. AT&T and Apple sign multimedia communications agreement to provide video conferencing and desktop collaboration capabilities using QuickTime Conferencing technology and WorldWorx Network Services. Apple Petitions FCC once again to create unlicensed high-speed wireless “National Information Infrastructure Band.”
I hope you change the way you think about Apple computers since you know a little bit of history on the company. When I say a little bit. I mean this 6 page term paper was only one eighth of the information that I gathered on this company.
Reference To Articles In Monthly Magazines
John C. Dvorak, “Last Rites,” MacUser, (April 1994), p. 210
John C. Dvorak, “Time’s A-Wasting,” MacUser, (December 1994), p. 222
John C. Dvorak, “Welcome To WIMP,” MacUser, (January 1995), p. 192