Forty years ago today, (on April 1st 1976), is when Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne started a little company called, Apple. Their plan was to develop and sell personal computers.
If you don’t know the story of how Apple got started, he is shortened version of it. Jobs, Wozniak and Wayne, established Apple, so they could their Apple I personal computer kit, these kits were single handedly designed and hand-built by Wozniak.
The Apple I was first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club, which was a computer hobbyist group in the Silicon Valley area. The Apple I kits were sold as a motherboard (including a CPU, RAM and basic textual-video chips) and at the time, it wasn’t considered as a complete personal computer.
The Apple I went on sale for $666.66 US (which is about $2,772, today) in July 1976.
Apple was incorporated on January 3rd, 1977 without Wayne, who had sold his share to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Then multimillionaire, Mike Markkula provide the duo (Jobs and Wozniak), with some of his business expertise and funding of $250,000.
In Apple’s first five years of being a incorporated business, their revenues grew exponentially and between September of 1977 and September 1980, their annual sales went from $775,000 to $118 million.
The Apple II (which was also invented by Wozniak) was introduced on April 16th, 1977. It has cell-based graphics and a open architecture.
Apple introduced the Apple III in May 1980 in order to compete with IBM and Microsoft but it turned out to be a dud.
Jobs was convinced that all future computers would have a graphical user interface (GUI) and work soon started on the GUI for the Apple Lisa.
Apple went public on December 12th 1980 at $22 per share, they generated more capital than any IPO since Ford went public in 1956. Apple’s IPO instantly created more millionaires (about 300 or so) than any company in history.
Apple then introduced the Macintosh in January of 1984. It was the first personal computer to be sold without a programming language. The Macintosh’s debut increased in popularity due to the “1984” ad that was directed by Ridley Scott and aired during Super Bowl XVIII.
The Macintosh did sell well at first but soon tapered off due to its high price and limited number of software available.
Later in 1985, was when Apple’s board of directors including John Sculley removed Jobs from his managerial role and thus making Jobs resign. Jobs would then found NeXT Inc. in the same year.
In 1991, is when Apple introduced the PowerBook which was their first true laptop.
In 1997, was when Apple would acquire NeXT, which would bring Jobs back to Apple. Also in that same year, Jobs announced that Apple would work with Microsoft to bring Microsoft Office to Mac.
Then in 1998, Apple introduced a new all-in-one computer, called the iMac. The design team for the iMac was lead by Jony Ive who would go on to design the iPod and the iPhone and other future Apple products.
On May 19th, 2001, Apple opened their first retail stores in Virginia and California. On October 23rd of the same year, Apple introduced the iPod, a portable digital audio player. The iPod was a great success and sold over 100 million units within six years.
In 2003, Apple introduced the Apple iTunes Store which offered online music downloads for $0.99 a song and integration with the iPod.
In 2006, Apple first-introduced their Macs with Intel processors and the new MacBook Pro and iMac were the first ones.
At the his keynote speech at the Macworld Expo on January 9th, 2007, Jobs announced that Apple would become simply “Apple Inc.”, because they were focusing more on consumer electronics than just computers. Jobs also announced the iPhone and the Apple TV at that same keynote.
The first iPhone would then launch in June of 2007. And in July of 2008, Apple introduced the App Store to sell third-party apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
In January 2009, an internal memo from Jobs said that he would be taking a six-month medical leave of absence from Apple, to help focus on his health. In the same email, Jobs said, “the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well.”
Apple then introduced their first tablet, the iPad on January 27th, 2010 and it later launched on April 3rd, 2010.
In January 2011, Jobs announced in an internal memo that he would be taking another medical leave of absence, for an indefinite period to allow him to focus on his health. He also said that Tim Cook would assume Jobs’ day-to-day operations at Apple but Jobs would still remain “involved in major strategic decisions.”
In June 2011, during Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, Jobs surprisingly took to the stage and unveiled iCloud, an online storage solution and sync service for music, photos, files and software. That was last product launch that Jobs would attend before his death.
On August 24th, 2011, Jobs resigned as Apple CEO and Cook took over while Jobs became Apple’s chairman.
On October 5th, 2011, Jobs had passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer, it also marked the end of an era for Apple.
Today, Apple is known as the world’s largest information technology company by revenue and assets. They were the first U.S. company to be valued at more than $700 billion. It’s all thanks to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
To celebrate, Apple released this video at their last Apple event about 40 years in 40 seconds.
Happy 40th Birthday to Apple, and here’s to many more years of bold, innovative ideas.
It won’t be long until the 50th comes around in 10 years from now (in 2026).