Little Bits of History

April 11

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 11, 2017

1976: The Apple Computer 1 comes to market. Also known as Apple I or Apple-1, it was the first computer released by the Apple Computer Company. On March 5, 1975 Steve Wozniak attending the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club, an early computer hobbyist group from Silicon Valley which was in existence from that day until December 1986. Wozniak was inspired and began immediately to build his own computer. He and his friend, Steve Jobs, worked together to make a model and once they were successful, the gave out schematics to interested club members. They even helped some members build the computer in order to test out copies.

Jobs thought they should sell a single etched and silkscreened circuit board (no electronic parts included) and people could use these motherboards to build their own computers. Wozniak determined that creating the design layout would cost $1000 and each board would cost $20 in parts. They believed they could sell $40 boards to 50 people and recoup their costs. In order to finance this first venture, Jobs sold his car and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator (the first magnetic card/programmable handheld calculator with a list price of $795 (about $4,100 today). They were in business.

Jobs managed to sell 100 completely built computers to The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California at $500 each. They needed to raise capital to buy parts and managed to do so. The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 for $666.66 each. Wozniak said he did not know the significance of the number, but liked repeating numbers and it was ⅓ above the $500 wholesale price. About 200 units were produced and 175 them were sold in under a year. Computers were usually sold as kits but this new product came fully assembled and the board contained over 60 chips already in place. It was not a working computer, however, and the buyer still had to add a case, power supply transformers, power switch, keyboard, and video display.

The Apple I was unique with its built-in computer terminal circuitry and with a keyboard and inexpensive television set, the user was ready to begin computing. Other computers of the time needed extra hardware in order to be able to connect to terminal or teletypewriter machine. Apple I was innovative and with sales increasing, the price was dropped. In April 1977 the Apple II was introduced but the Apple I was still sold until August of that year. There are over 50 of the original Apples still around today but only six have been verified to still be in working condition. Today, working or not, they are collector items.

Your first projects aren’t the greatest things in the world, and they may have no money value, they may go nowhere, but that is how you learn – you put so much effort into making something right if it is for yourself. – Steve Wozniak

Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window. – Steve Wozniak

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. – Steve Jobs

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people. – Steve Jobs