Apple Computer

First Apple computer

Since the release of its first innovative product, the Apple I computer, Cupertino, California-based Apple has been providing leading-edge electronic devices for creative professionals, developers, small businesses, scientists, educators, and consumers everywhere. But now, more than 30 years after its founding, the company is not only a premier computer developer, as its name change, from Apple Computer to Apple, reflects. The company is also a digital media powerhouse, providing best-selling portable music and video players as well as revolutionary mobile phones.

It all began when “the two Steves,” Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, scrounged together the parts to build 50 “hobby computers” of their own design—pre-assembled computer circuit boards with no keyboard, case, sound, or graphics—for a local computer store called the Byte Shop. With money from the sale in hand, the two then quickly improved the design, with a better TV display interface, graphics, and a keyboard that made the computer ready to run. After joining with investor Mike Markkula and founding Apple Computer, in 1977 Jobs and Wozniak launched the Apple II, with the goal of changing the way people used information to work, learn, and play.

Just a few years later, a group at Apple started to design a new computer that would ignite the personal computer revolution.

After studying Xerox PARC’s research into the new GUI computer interface, Apple engineers developed the company’s first GUI-based, rather than text-based, interface. The innovative Lisa computer had Apple’s now-well-known windows and icons, but it was Apple’s Macintosh line, which followed in 1984, that took a giant leap forward, making personal computing both user friendly and simple.

In 1991 Apple continued to build on its founders’ guiding principle—that the individual, not the mainframe, should be at the center of the computing universe. The company introduced a portable Mac, the Powerbook, which set the standard for the modern, ergonomic laptop, and in 1993 launched its first consumer device, the PDA called the Newton. In 1994 the company made available its Power Macintosh line, which incorporated IBM’s high-performance PowerPC processor.

The end of the ‘90s saw yet another Apple breakthrough computer. The iMac provided not only power and ease of use, but its streamlined, translucent body reflected Apple’s growing emphasis on design and aesthetics. The iMac, as well as the rest of the Mac line, now features such pluses as iLife software, for easily working with music, photos, and video; the capability to run all major operating systems; Apple’s state-of-the-art Mac X operating system; security from viruses; and the latest Intel chips, all in a sleek, distinctive design.

Since the turn of the century, Apple has continued its innovative, successful streak. Apple Stores now dot the U.S., Asia, and Europe, providing the latest Apple products as well as customer support through the company’s Genius Bars. The iPod portable digital music player is a smash hit with consumers, and Apple’s newest consumer product, the revolutionary iPhone, which provides leading-edge phone, video, and Internet capabilities, is already sought after by consumers and professionals alike. Apple’s history has been revolutionary, but its future promises to be as great.

This history was written in 2008 by the Silicon Valley Historical Association.

Apple Computer website