Apple was started by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Both had withdrawn from college and were interested in technology and computers. Wozniak began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club during the mid-70s, which inspired him to create his own computer. His computer was a hit at the club meetings, especially with Jobs. Jobs spoke to a local computer store about Wozniak’s invention and the shop was interested in buying the computers. Thus, the first Apple computer was built and sold. In all, there were 200 Apple I computers built.
By 1977, the Apple II computer was presented at the West Coast Computer Faire. A Japanese chemist in attendance took an interest in the more advanced Apple computer and became the first authorized dealer in Japan. After months of searching for financing and getting things in place, Jobs was able to build the Apple II computers for distribution. The Apple II continued to be purchased by consumers into the 1980s and is often credited as the world’s first home computer. Apple III was released in the early 1980s.
Apple went public in 1980. It generated the most capital of any IPO since Ford and instantly created more than 300 millionaires.
In 1984 the Macintosh 128 K was released. This was the computer that launched with the infamous Super Bowl based on “1984.” The commercial is
hailed as one of the greatest marketing achievements of the modern era. Apple spent massive amounts of money marketing the Macintosh. One of these promotions was a 24-hour take-home offer in which consumers could try out the computer for a day. The campaign caused a sizable ruckus and resulted in the price of the computer to increase by about $500. The Macintosh developed a cult following, but many considered it a subpar product. It achieved success, mainly due to its desktop publishing abilities.
During the 1990s, Apple partnered with IBM to develop a new computing system. At one point, Sun Microsystems was hours away from an Apple acquisition, but the deal fell through at the last minute. Apple offered other computerized devices during the 1990s, perhaps setting the standard for its current varied product line. The Newton was one of the earliest PDA devices, leading the way for the Palm Pilot.
Steve Jobs had started his own company in the years since the launch of Apple and in 1996, Apple purchased his NeXT company. His NeXT technology eventually became the basis of the Mac OS X operating system, which was introduced in 2001. Apple opened an online outlet store in 1997. This allowed customers to not only purchase directly through the manufacturer, it also made customer computers an option. During this same time, Jobs created the iMac computer. It integrated a CRT display and CPU in a translucent body, which was a hit with consumers. It was one of Apple’s first moves toward making the aesthetic design of the computer as significant as its performance. Other products in this line include the iBooks, the Airport, and the Power Mac G4.
In 2001, Apple took its direct to consumer sales approach to malls across the country. Apple retail stores were designed to boost Apple’s declining share of the market and to improve the marketing efforts Apple received with third-party outlets.
Later that same year, Apple introduced the iPod, the first ever portable digital audio player. The original iPod had the ability to store 1,000 songs. The iPod not only revolutionized Apple, it changed music and communication forever.