Main article: History of Apple
See also: Apple Inc. litigation
1976–1980: The early years
The Apple I, Apple's first product. Sold as an assembled circuit board, it lacked basic features such as a keyboard, monitor, and case. The owner of this unit added a keyboard and a wooden case.
Apple was established on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. They were hand-built by Wozniak and first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club. The Apple I was sold as a motherboard (with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips)—less than what is today considered a complete personal computer. The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 and was market-priced at $666.66.
Apple was incorporated January 3, 1977 without Wayne, who sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Mike Markkula provided essential business expertise and funding of $250,000 during the incorporation of Apple.
The Apple II was introduced on April 16, 1977 at the first West Coast Computer Faire. It differed from its major rivals, the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, because it came with color graphics and an open architecture. While early models used ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, they were superseded by the introduction of a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive and interface, the Disk II.
The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first "killer app" of the business world—the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. VisiCalc created a business market for the Apple II, and gave home users an additional reason to buy an Apple II—compatibility with the office. According to Brian Bagnall, Apple exaggerated its sales figures and was a distant third place to Commodore and Tandy until VisiCalc came along.
By the end of the 1970s, Apple had a staff of computer designers and a production line. The Apple II was succeeded by the Apple... [continues]
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