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This month in tech history: April - Apple

1 April 1976 - Apple Computer Company officially formed

It seems almost foolish to try to imagine a time without Apple and its iStuff, and I personally enjoy the irony that the now multinational company (whose market cap is now above $765billion, and at the end of February managed to pull off the rare feat of being worth at least double any other publicly traded U.S. company), was formed on 1 April, April Fool’s Day, in 1976. But how did the Apple success story begin?

Steve Jobs and Steve “Woz” Wozniak first met in 1971, introduced by a mutual friend. The “two Steves” were college dropouts (Reed College and UC Berkeley respectively), and at the start of 1976, Wozniak was working at Hewlett-Packard, while Jobs was working at Atari, along with the third Apple founding member Ronald Wayne, who sold his share of the newly created Apple for just $800 just two weeks after the company was officially founded. Ouch.

In March, Woz built his first computer using a 6502 chip released by MOS Technology that year. As a member of the Homebrew Computer Club, he showed off his creation at one of the meetings, where his old friend Jobs expressed an interest in the commercial potential of the computer, and the Apple I – a computer circuit board without a keyboard, a case, sound, or graphics – was born. Jobs approached a local computer store, The Byte Shop, which expressed an interest in the machine, but only if it came fully assembled. With Jobs sourcing the parts, and Wozniak and Wayne assembling them, they built and sold 200 of the first Apple computer.

The Apple Computer Company was officially formed on 1 April 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Thanks to the Apple I, the two Steves made enough money to invest in their next project - the Apple II. The first PC with colour graphics, not to mention the keyboard, power supply and a case, the Apple II was introduced in April a year later, at the first West Coast Computer Faire. The same month, the company gets a new logo – a silhouette of a bitten apple with six colour stripes – designed by Rob Janov, an art director at Regis McKenna, Apple’s public-relations agency. This design remained the company logo until August 1999.

It was the Apple II that made the money, made the company, and made the two Steves. There was enough interest in their new product to attract venture capital, and Apple was officially incorporated in 1977.

 

Other notable April dates for Apple:

24 April 1984 – Introduction of Apple IIc computer; Announcement of Mac sales numbers (over 60,000 in 4 months); Discontinued Apple III line

28 April 2003 – iTunes Music Stores launched (now the #1 music retailer in the United States)

24 April 2006 – The first MacBook Pro with a 17" display.

3 April 2010 – First iPad (Wi-Fi) released featuring Apple A4 processor, a 9.7" touchscreen display, and Wi-Fi access. Three million iPads were sold during the first 80 days. (The Wi-Fi + 3G iPad was released a few weeks later on 30 April.)

April 2015 – The Apple Watch is scheduled to begin shipping.

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Kate Hoy

Kate Hoy is Editor of IDG Connect

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