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


Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 19, 2013
The Lisa computer

The Lisa computer

January 19, 1983: Apple, Inc. announces the creation of a personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI). Lisa began as LISA, an acronym for Logical Integrated Software Architecture. Steve Jobs, originally on the development team, has a daughter named Lisa and it may be a backronym in her honor instead. The project began in 1978 and was conceived as a way to improve business computing. The computer was finally introduced after Jobs had been removed to the Macintosh project, but the name stuck.

The Lisa computer was the first commercial personal computer to have a GUI and a mouse. The “brains” of the computer was a Motorola 68000 CPU with a 5 MHz clock speed and 1 MB RAM. There were two floppy disk Apple FireWare drives which read 5 ¼ inch double sided disks with a capacity of 871 kb (kilobytes or 0.85% of 1 MB) of data. The floppy disk drive was modified a year later. Optional external drives were available and cold hold 5 MB of data. Eventually 10 MB external drives were offered.

The cost of the original Lisa computer was $9,995 or about $22,200 in 2009 currency. The computer underwent hardware revisions and by January 1984 Lisa 2 was on the market for less than half the price. The software included an operating system capable of multitasking and with virtual memory. Files were organized in hierarchical directories and the computer came loaded with Lisa Office System, a suite of programs with text, image, spreadsheet, and database capabilities. Lisa was not commercially successful but did have historical significance.

Today (please see update), Steve Jobs is Chairman and CEO of Apple, Inc. running the company with more than $48 billion in revenues for 2008. Lisa gave way to Macintosh using the Mac OS. Today, Apple markets a host of products including the iPod and iPhone along with a range of desktop and laptop computers for personal and business use. They claim the highest brand and repurchase loyalty of any computer manufacturer. The company logo began with Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree and moved, in 1976, to the multicolored striped apple with a bite out of the side. Since 1998, the apple has been in silhouette.

“He got me invested in some kinda fruit company.” – Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump

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

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011 at the age of 56. He had battled pancreatic cancer, first diagnosed in 2003. He valiantly fought the disease and after a liver transplant made his way back to Apple to work. However, due to health concerns he resigned as CEO on August 24, 2011. Apple remains a thriving company with a revenue exceeding $156 billion in 2012. They employed nearly 73,000 (full time) and over 3,000 (temporary) people as well and had a net income of over $41 billion in that same year. They are the company producing Macs, iPads, iPods, and iPhones as well as Apple TV and software applications.

Also on this day: Electrifying – In 1883, Roselle, New Jersey became the first electrified community.
Not Commando – In 1935, Marshall Field and Company first sold Samuel T. Cooper’s new product – the Jockey brief.
Liquid Fire – In 1915, a patent was granted for a neon lamp.