pivotal moments in Apple’s history

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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