The first Apple computer was conceived by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and sold on July 1976. It consisted of a motherboard, memory and CPU. The history of Apple computer shows the company was incorporated a few months after the Apple I went on sale.
The Apple I sold very well and inspired Wozniak and Jobs to develop the Apple II. The Apple II came with a 5 ¼ floppy drive and employed color and graphics. The machine was even more successful than the Apple I.
The Apple II was bought by educators and hobbyists. Soon the Apple II became a mainstay in schools where computers were being taught. Another welcome feature of the Apple II was its open architecture. This design allowed third party vendors to create applications for the computer.
The history of Apple computer shows that by 1978, the machine had also become a mainstay in business offices. This was due to the appearance of various third party business applications on the Apple II.
The Lisa and the Macintosh
The Apple II was followed by the Apple III which was a commercial failure. The computer improved very little from its predecessor. It also had a number of technical glitches that affected its performance. The company was also unable to make gains on the business front. It would lose its business market share to IBM.
In response, Steve Jobs went to Pao Alto Research Laboratory, run by Xerox. There he was able to recruit its most brilliant researchers. It was this team of researchers who designed the GUI (graphical user interfaced), pull down menus and the use of a mouse.
This would be an important point in the history of Apple computer. In 1983, the company released the Lisa, the first widely available computer with a GUI. Critics hailed its innovative appearance. However it cost over $10,000 and sales fell short of expectations.
A year later, Apple released the Macintosh for $2,500. It was more commercially successful than the Lisa. Its strong graphics, coupled with the development of desktop publishing helped Apple regain lost ground.
The Early 1990s and 2000s
While Apple had the edge in desktop publishing, it lost ground to the low end PCs. The Apple II was losing market share to the IBM PCs. The appearance of Microsoft Windows further eroded Apple’s market share. This was one of the lowest points in the history of Apple computer as it lost profitability.
After years of financial decline, Apple rebounded with the iMac in 1998. It sold 800,000 units in less than six months. It was the first time in five years Apple made a profit. This was followed by the release of the Mac OS X.
In 2001, Apple scored another hit with the iPod. Apple also launched the iTunes Store. The success of the iPod and iTunes had turned Apple into an industry leader again. Their status would be further enhanced with the release of the iPhone.
The company has also released a number of notebook computers including the MacBook, the MacBook Air and Apple TV. While the history of Apple computer shows it has had its share of ups and downs, today it is regarded as one of the giants in the computer industry.