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History of Apple Computers

History of Apple Computers

Are you interested in knowing about how the Macintosh computers came into being? This article tells you about some interesting facts and evolution of one of the most successful organizations.
Parashar Joshi
Apple. Quite a funny and unusual name for a multi-billion dollar corporation. But then as Shakespeare said, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". So ideally speaking, based on this argument, Apple Computers could easily have been Mango Machines, Coconut Corporation, or even Eggy Enterprises! So why Apple? Were the company founders ardent fans of Newton?

The truth is, it got its name through an interesting incident involving the company founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Both of them had a special liking for apples (for various reasons) and had decided that if they weren't able to come up with a better name by the end of the day, they would go ahead and name it Apple Computers. They couldn't think of any, and on April 1, 1976, a company by the name of Apple Computers came into being.

A Flashback Into Time
  • Company Foundation: Both the co-founders, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs met in the early part of 1970 when Steve Jobs took a summer job at the same company where Wozniak was working. After a bit of persuasion from Jobs' side to start a company of their own, Wozniak agreed and Apple Computers formally took shape on April 1, 1976.
  • Apple I: The Apple I was the first computer that rolled out in the later part of 1976. It had an initial price of $666.66. It used a cassette tape and had about 4KB of RAM. A regular television and a keyboard were the only additional accessories that were required to operate it.
  • Apple II: The Apple II was the next version. It was launched in 1977 and was a huge commercial success. This model featured a monitor, an inbuilt floppy disk drive, an integrated computer keyboard, and random access memory which was expandable up to 48KB. Since 1977, a series of Apple II devices were introduced such as the Apple II Plus, Apple IIe, Apple IIc, Apple IIGS, etc. Each series had some technological advancements over its predecessors. Its production was discontinued around 1993.
  • Apple III: The Apple III was another advanced version of the Apple II which was released in the early 1980s. However, it was not an improvement over the previous models of the Apple II. It turned out to be a setback for the company and therefore, was discontinued after 1983.
  • Macintosh: The Macintosh series was launched in the year 1984. It was the first personal computer to sport a graphical user interface (GUI). The floppy drive size had changed from the 5 inch model to the 3.5 inch model. It was powered by an 8MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor chip and had a random access memory (RAM) capacity of 128KB. This model was known as the Macintosh 128K. It was succeeded by a model known as Macintosh 512K which had a RAM capacity of 512KB.
  • Macintosh Portable: It was the first portable Macintosh machine. It was powered by a 16MHz Motorola 68000 chip and had 1MB of RAM which could be expanded to 5MB. It featured a standard 1.44MB floppy disk drive. However, with a weight of approx 8 kilograms, it was not exactly 'portable' in the true sense of the term.
  • PowerBook: The PowerBook series of laptops was produced 1991 onwards. They were supposed to be a much improved version of the Macintosh Portable. The PowerBook 100, PowerBook 140, and 170 were some of the models which were released in the year 1991. As further technological advancements took place, the PowerBook 190 and 5300 were subsequently released around the years 1995 and 1996 respectively. The PowerBook G3 and G4 were the last new models in this series, and were launched around 1998 and 2001 respectively.
  • Power Mac: This series of desktop computers was initially launched in 1994. The different models which were released, included the Power Mac 6100, 7100, 6200, 7200, 8100, 8500, 9500, 9600, etc. The Power Mac G3, G4, and G5 were the last models in this series before it was discontinued in 2006.
  • MacBook Pro: It was the laptop which succeeded the PowerBook G4. It was first launched in 2006 and through several new releases and modified versions, it is still available. These machines were powered by state-of-the-art Intel processors and their hardware configuration was tremendously improved to match worldwide standards.