Happy 37th birthday, Apple!

Apple Inc. is 37 years old today!

TIME Magazine’s 80th anniversary issue featured a look back over 80 years in a piece titled “80 Days That Changed the World,” published on March 31, 2003. Lev Grossman wrote about one such day that changed the world, the founding of Apple Computer, Inc. on April 1, 1976:

They were two guys named Steve, so Steve Jobs was called Steve and Steve Wozniak went by Woz. At 25, Wozniak was the technical brains. Jobs, 21, was the dreamer with a knack for getting others to dream along with him. They had gone to the same high school, and in the hazy years after graduation (both were college dropouts) a shared interest in electronics brought them together. Jobs didn’t yet have his own place, so when their formal partnership began, the decision was made in a bedroom at his parents’ ranch house in Los Altos, Calif.

Steve Jobs and Steve WozniakMost computers in 1976 were room-size machines with Defense Department-size price tags, but Wozniak had been tinkering with a new design, and his computer was different. It wasn’t much to look at – just a bunch of chips screwed to a piece of plywood – but it was small, cheap and easy to use, and Jobs had noticed the stir it caused when they took it to a local computer club. “He said, ‘We’ll make it for 20 bucks, sell it for 40 bucks!'” Wozniak remembers. “I kind of didn’t think we’d do it.” Jobs came up with the name, inspired by an orchard in Oregon where he had worked with some friends: Apple Computer. “When we started the little partnership, it was just like, Oh, this will be fun,” Wozniak says. “We won’t make any money, but it’ll be fun.”

They didn’t go out and celebrate that day. Woz wouldn’t even quit his day job designing chips for calculators at Hewlett-Packard until months later, after Jobs had sold his Volkswagen bus for seed money. Nobody, not even Jobs, saw what was coming next: that Apple would create the look and feel of every desktop in the world and start our love affair with the personal computer.

Full article here.

12 Comments

  1. Still hard to believe the Steve Jobs era is over. Just when he was needed more than ever (and chose the wrong situation to use the RDF in making medical decisions) but I am confidant in Cook & Ives to carry on the torch, we just need another spectacular show of it to disprove the naysayers. But my Spidey sense tells me if something like the iTV comes along Jobs will still get the credit since it was already in the works when he was living. The AH’s and analysts will strive to give uncredited approbation to Tim Cook no doubt.

  2. A letter to Apple and (in parenthesis) Steve Jobs and (in another parenthesis) Steve Wozniak.

    Dear Apple,

    As a latecomer, I have grown to appreciate your quality, your dedication to your customer, your simplicity which many equate to being a toy but in actual fact it’s more difficult making something simple than making it complex, and your ease of use.

    I have experienced the whole gamut of operating systems from Windows and Palm and a whole gamut of manufacturers from HP, Dell, Acer, and Palm, and my conclusion is that you’re head and shoulders above the rest. I know now when they talk about the dedication to the customer that Apple aficionados refer to is not an empty promise.

    I know that you stand behind your products and that you keep awake at night thinking of how to make the best products that delight your customers the most. As Steve Jobs said, “I am as proud of what we don’t do as we what we do.” Focus and simplicity are your hallmarks.

    You are the shining beacon in an ocean of mediocrity where the merely acceptable is the norm, where a passing grade is a C+, where shoddy products are acceptable. I know that Steve set the highest standards possible and will not tolerate mediocrity, and excellence is built into every single product that you make.

    Thank you Apple for the past 2 years, for me, and for 37 years in the business. May you last another 50 years from now.

    Sincerely yours,
    The left nut

  3. I bought my 1st Apple in 1971 with 48K memory! I never looked back and they have all been wonderful machines. My Apple ll E cost more than my new iMac 21″.

        1. I was lusting after an Apple in 1977 but couldn’t afford the 1300 dollars for it as I was newly married. Spending hours at the Byte Shop in Lynnwood, WA after work playing with the equipment and learning all I could.

          I did manager to raise 500 dollars for a Radio Shack Model I for Christmas that year.

          In January of 1980, I saw an ad for a computer salesperson with the Byte Shop in the Seattle paper. This was with the people that bought the first 50 Apple II’s. The Terrell brothers. I interviewed in January of that year and heard nothing after that until August of that year when they called and said they remembered me and were ready to hire me.

  4. Dear Apple. I bought my first Mac in 1985. Bought my first AAPL shares in 1992. Sold my last shares in 2013 at $450. You had a nice run but have joined the beleagered now. You no longer have the cool edge.Your computers are great, but your cloud, phones and maps are second rate. Too bad you have failed. It is just good Steve isn’t here to see it.

  5. First sat in front of a little Mac someone had left behind in an office I took over way back in 1985. Fell in love with it and have been partners with that little guy’s descendants for both work and fun ever since then. Just keeps getting better.

  6. I came late to using Apple products. I used my first Apple ][ in 1979 writing software for analyses with regard to high energy lasers and airborne sensors. While I was keenly interested in the Mac since its introduction in January 1984, I didn’t start working with one until about six months or so later writing software to do statistical analyses for nuclear events and transuranic decays (in FORTRAN, no less).

    All these years later I still believe the quote from Byte magazine (remember them?) rings true today, “If you want to see what a PC will look like five years from now, look at a Mac today.”

    While the copy time takes significantly less than five years these days, they all still copy (some more than others).

  7. I’m surprised the Apple stock didn’t tank today because Apple’s actual age of 37 years didn’t meet the Street’s expectations. Given Apple’s large cash hoard, the Street may have expected the company to be much older that it actually was, since it has so much cash piled up. Stupid? Of course, but the stocks has fallen based on expectations with foundations with lesser logic. I’m hoping the day traders of Apple stock are happy with all the speculation they are coming up with to manipulate the stock price to their own benefit.

    1. The first Mac I worked on was a II ci at work ion 1991. That crap job ended a year later, thankfully. But I will always fondly remember learning Mac OS on the great little machine. The next year I tossed my PC in the dumpster and bought my first Mac. My girlfriend became a computer widow. 😉

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