Remembering the Apple I

It wasn't Apple's greatest computer, or the most interesting one. It was just the one that started it all--35 years ago this month.

Posted by  | Friday, April 8, 2011

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Thirty-five years ago this month, a couple of geeky young members of Silicon Valley’s Homebrew Computer Club founded a company to sell a new type of device–which almost nobody had heard of yet–known as a personal computer. The geeks were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, the computer was the Apple I, and the rest is history. Only two hundred or so Apple Is were built; maybe a quarter of them survive. But it was an significant machine in its day, and everything about it–how it was designed, how it was sold, how it was marketed–foreshadowed Apple devices to come, all the way up to the iPad.

Return with us now to April 1976, won’t you?

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Slides: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

22 Comments For This Post

  1. @studiomondeo Says:

    "Sadly, this historic spot is now an adult video store."

    "Sadly"? Sounds like this place had a happy ending.

  2. Dave Says:

    My first computer was an Apple 2+ with dual floppy drives. Have great memories of playing games on it like Zork, Mask of the Sun, Taipan, Wizardly 1, Gruds in Space, and Conan.

  3. Patricia Miller Says:

    I have one of those belt buckles – it is solid brass and probably weighs more than my iPad…

  4. sittininlab Says:

    The dude in the last ad took lemonade stand very seriously.

  5. Jaime Frontero Says:

    The guy in the ad on page 13 is wearing his wristwatch on his left wrist – he is therefore right-handed.

    And yet he is typing one-handed with his left hand.

    Funny, the things you notice…

  6. rick Says:

    I wear a watch on either hand (more so on my left) i write lefthand, throw a football left-handed, baseball right-handed. oh yes use a fork with left hand. I guess i am a odd ball

  7. chris Says:

    I wear no watch, although I used to wear one on my left hand. I write right handed, eat and drink with either hand. I also type with either hand but usually if I am only using one it is usually my left as my right is usually on the mouse.

    What does that make me?

  8. Chris Says:

    He is also writing. Notice the pen in his right hand. Which supports the assertion that he is right handed.

  9. phil Says:

    If only this web page was hosted on something with the power of an Apple 1, they might not have had to split the article into 13 half page sized chunks.

  10. tech84 Says:

    This made me remember the movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley", loved that movie. Even though I don't know if it was 100% accurate about history between Steve and bill. lol

  11. Vulcan Tourist Says:

    @phil: Inventing the notion of splitting articles into 13 chunks for the sake of ad revenue is exactly the sort of thing that Steve Jobs would “invent” while the other Steve is busy inventing something useful.

  12. ARC Says:

    The real classic design is in slide #13, on the counter below the picture of a red apple. The KitchenAid stand mixer. We gave my mom one for Christmas last year (at her request). Now that’s a classic piece of design. I don’t think I can see any change at all in this admittedly so-so photo.

  13. KitchenAid lover Says:

    KitchenAid mixers rock! They are the best

  14. Myself Says:

    Ah, so the last image is where the 'Go back to the kitchen and make me a sammich' meme originated from!
    And to think that today the majority of Apple computer users are in fact women…

  15. Don A in Pennsyltucky Says:

    It sold for $666.66? Explains a LOT.

  16. Aaron Says:

    I think the really amazing thing is that the wooden-case Apple that's in the Smithsonian was made without the aid of a Dremmel tool.

  17. David Larsen Says:

    Thank you for posting this info about the Apple 1 – I was teaching about microcomputers and microprocessor during this time at Virginia Tech and I can tell you it made a lot of excitement and activity with all the Tech Geeks. My Colleague Jon Titus designed and published the Mark – 8 microcomputer in 1974 however it did not become popular but did move some to work with microcomputers. Steve Wozniak is still interesting fellow and did a great design with the Apple 1 and Apple 2 – these 2 computers were designed totally by Woz. I am fortunate to have several Apple !'s and have been a serious collector for the past 40 years. One of mine in wooden case can be seen here – Dave L

  18. chris Says:

    David, if you like this presentation form a historical point of view; there is a
    presentation about the Commodore Amiga at tech republic you may find interesting. Especially interesting is the involvement of one of the lead engineers who worked on the Amiga project in the comment board related to the presentation. You learn as much from him as you do from the presentation itself.

  19. AGP Says:

    does that guy look like Bobby Flay?

  20. Natalie Drest Says:

    The Apple 1 was obviously such a good concept that Apple decided to re-introduce it in 2010, although it was re-named iPad and now iPad 2…

    Neither are/were able to use networking nor be configured so that more than one user could retain his/her privacy (multi-user!).

    Out with the old… In with the old… ahem!

    For Apple accountants , this lack in the iPad may give the impression that the average family of 2 adults and 2.3 children, will all want one each… 4.3 per household…

    But to many who have looked at the iPad amid all of the fuss, it looks like a confidence trick.

    I'll stick with my truly personal (if you don't take into consideration one's iTunes account that is) iPhone for now thanks.

    Someone once said something about fooling all of the people, all of the time… And this is a prime example.

  21. dontmindme Says:

    I like this ad because there is a picture of an apple floating above the man's head; almost like a throwback to Isaac Newton. It's subtle but difficult to unsee.

  22. Ray LaMot Says:

    Apple has it’s QUERKS, like NOT ENOUGH STORES, and their members must travel far.
    Me I travel 34 miles one way for help!??
    The price for gas and time ???
    I have now HAD MY APPLE 4 replaced 5 or 6 times? Is this fair?
    A few hundred miles in between all this agravation!
    I DO ASK : DOES APPLE REALLY CARE WHAT WE GO THRU FOR WARRENTIED ITEMS? TRAVEL no, they don’t care, phone time ( hours ) they care NO! etc etc….
    I now have my 5th or 6th apple 4
    And it still has real bad problems?
    I’m sick of contacting them and after a while
    they make you ( me ) feel like a PROBLEM…

    All I want Is a $400.00 phone that works as they advertise