“Silicon Valley’s historic orchards have virtually disappeared but one notable fruit still stands: Apple. As the storied company celebrates its 30th birthday in a week, Apple Computer Inc. will have brushed off its bruises from product failures and arguably misguided decisions to emerge with a shine that’s more than skin-deep. Its brand name and products – from the Mac to the iPod – resonate as both hip and innovative,” May Wong writes for The Associated Press. “Apple’s journey began in 1976 when two college dropouts – Jobs, a marketing whiz, and his friend Steve Wozniak, an engineering genius – filed partnership papers on April Fools’ Day, their eyes set on building and selling personal computers.”
“Their first product was a build-it-yourself computer kit. A year later, in 1977, the Apple II microcomputer was born. It was not the first personal computer but it was the most successful – a hit not just among engineers, but home users, too. Many credit the Apple II as the genesis of the personal computer revolution. Apple’s cultural and technological influences only grew from there,” Wong writes. “The Apple Lisa, introduced in 1983, used an innovative icon- and mouse-based graphical user interface that laid the foundation of today’s computers and replaced the previous arcane text-based systems. But the Lisa was a commercial flop: Its high price – $9,995 – sent business users to PCs from rival IBM Corp. The hugely successful – and more affordable – Apple Macintosh followed in 1984, giving birth to desktop publishing by allowing users to create their own newsletters or printed material. Microsoft eventually copied the user-friendly graphical interface and licensed its Windows software to manufacturers who copied the IBM PC. The clones proliferated while Macintosh sales were hobbled by Apple’s decision not to license its software to other hardware makers.”
“In 1996, when Apple was struggling for a foothold in the personal computing market and its efforts to upgrade its operating system were going nowhere, the company bought Jobs’ second computer company, NeXT, returning the prodigal son to the fold, and later to the helm,” Wong writes. “Jobs, whose charismatic persona is the face of Apple, led the company’s resurrection with one breakthrough after another – first with the iMac, then the slick new OS X operating system, then the iPod music player, then the market-leading online iTunes store.”
“Apple may still hold roughly only a 4 percent share of the worldwide PC market, but analysts say its current operating system set the bar for rival Microsoft with innovative features, including 3D-like imaging and a side pane for “widget” applications. Many analysts expect that Apple’s market-dominating iPod – which works with both Windows and Macintosh machines – and its new computers based on Intel Corp. chips – the same used by Windows – will help grow Apple’s slice of the PC market,” Wong writes. “No matter how well the company does with its future endeavors, many things people do today – from desktop publishing to music downloads – will long be regarded as the fruits of Apple.”
Full article here.
• Apple’s brand new iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. Home stereo. Reinvented. Available now for $349 with free shipping.
• Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
• MacBook Pro. The first Mac notebook built upon Intel Core Duo with iLife ’06, Front Row and built-in iSight. Starting at $1999. Free shipping.
• iMac. Twice as amazing — Intel Core Duo, iLife ’06, Front Row media experience, Apple Remote, built-in iSight. Starting at $1299. Free shipping.
• iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
• iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
• Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.