By Owen W. Linzmayer, MacworldMar 30, 2006 12:00 AMprintSINGLE PAGE
Editor’s Note: You’ve read our timeline of Apple’s first 30 years. To put those events in perspective, our sister publication Macworld UK tapped Apple Confidential 2.0 author Owen W. Linzmayer to pick the 30 most pivotal events in each of Apple’s 30 years of existence. This article is reprinted from Macworld UK ’s April 2006 issue.
1976: Jobs and Woz Found Apple
On April Fools’ Day, Apple Computer Company is founded in a residential garage by Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, both college drop-outs. Fearing financial ruin, the third co-founder—Ronald Wayne—relinquishes his 10 percent stake in the partnership for only $800 less than two weeks later.
Honorable Mention Markkula Writes Business Plan: In November, chip industry veteran Mike Markkula helps Jobs write a business plan, predicting sales of $500 million in 10 years.
1977: Apple II Introduced
In contrast to the $666 Apple I, a kit computer with limited appeal, the $1,298 Apple II is the first personal computer designed for the mass market, thanks to its attractive low-slung case that was complete with standard keyboard, power supply, and color graphics capability.
Honorable Mention Scott Named President: Markkula’s former Fairchild Semiconductor co-worker Michael Scott brings professional management and corporate infrastructure to Apple.
The Apple IIe
Image ©John Greenleigh
1978: Apple Disk II Introduced
The Apple Disk II external drive stores 110K on 5.25-inch floppy disks. At $495, Woz’s creation is half as expensive as competitive floppy drives, and much more reliable than cassette tape storage systems.
Honorable Mention Apple III Project Starts: Anxious for a follow-up hit to the popular Apple II, Apple launches the ill-fated Apple III project with engineer Wendell Sander at the helm.
1979: Apple Visits Xerox PARC
Engineers from Apple get a peek at the future of computing when they visit the labs of their Silicon Valley neighbor. Lisa and Mac projects soon adopt graphical user interfaces.
Honorable Mention Personal Software Releases VisiCalc: The world’s first spreadsheet runs exclusively on the Apple II, sending Apple’s hardware sales through the roof.
1980: Apple Goes Public
In the largest IPO since Ford went public in 1956, Apple debuts on the stock market with a valuation of $1.8 billion. Of Apple’s 1,000 employees, more than 40 became instant millionaires thanks to their stock options.
Honorable Mention Apple III Ships: Priced from $4,340 to $7,800, the Apple III is supposed to be the firm’s flagship business computer, but instead flops badly due to reliability issues.
1981: IBM Introduces the PC
IBM introduces its $1,565 personal computer. Though it sports unimpressive technical specifications, the masses don’t care, and within two years IBM’s market share eclipses that of Apple.
Honorable Mention Apple’s First Shakeup: Following the “Black Wednesday” firing of 40 employees, Markkula replaces Scott as president, Jobs becomes chairman, and Woz takes a leave of absence.
1982: Microsoft Begins Mac Development
Microsoft begins developing mouse-based applications for Apple’s secret Mac project, but also begins work on a graphical user interface (Windows) for the IBM PC and its clones.
Image ©John Greenleigh
Honorable Mention Raskin Resigns: Recognizing that Jobs has wrested control of the Macintosh project away from him, Jef Raskin resigns.
1983: Sculley Named President, CEO
John Sculley, president of Pepsi-Cola, succumbs to Jobs’ promise of a “chance to change the world” as president and CEO of Apple.
Honorable Mention Lisa Introduced: The $9,995 Lisa is the world’s first commercial computer with a mouse and GUI, but it bombs due to high cost, slow speed, and incompatibility.
1984: Original Mac Introduced
The original Macintosh