What comes to your mind when you think of “Apple”?
Super snazzy gadgets?
Out-of-the-world user interface?
The ubiquitous iPhones? Steve Jobs? So on and so forth!
Did we overlook something?
What about that garage in California where it all started?
Yes, it was in a California basement, nearly 42 years ago, where Apple released the first personal computer – the Apple 1. Since that day, in 1976, the tech pioneer has established an unfaltering, not to say an unparalleled juggernaut.
The transition to a trillion dollar company was not a walk in the park either. Apple has been through a series of highs and lows over the past 42 years. However, the company emerged unscathed every single time.
Apple’s history is simply too vast to do it a justice in one post. But the timeline below provides a brief run-down of how it went on to become the seemingly great and larger than life –Apple Inc.
Apple in 1976
The first page of the Apple history begins with the aforementioned basement of Steve Job’s childhood home in Los Altos, California. Although the Apple-1 computers were designed somewhere else, the testing part underwent in this basement only. Later on, Ronald Wayne, Steve Wozniak and Jobs introduced the device at the Homebrew Computer Club. The Byte Shop placed 50 orders. The computer was later sold for $666.66
When things were turning in the right direction, Ronald Wayne designed the first Apple company logo and prepared the trio’s first partnership agreement. However, just 12 days later, he relinquished 10% of his stakes in the Apple Computer Company, to alleviate the potential financial risk. Wayne was worried over the assets that creditors could have seized lest the partnership becomes indebted.
Apple in 1977
Fuelled by the positive reception of the Apple-1 computers, Wozniak was hard at work on Apple II. Apple II, introduced for $1,298 was the company’s first success, in the true sense. It had a MOS Technology processor running at just 1MHz with 4KB of RAM.
1978 – 1982
After launching the unsuccessful Apple III, Jef Raskin, a human interface expert working with Apple, started working on the Macintosh project. Raskin named the computer after the McIntosh apple, his favourite fruit.
Before long, Apple started to witness soaring heights, a large work-force and revenue escalating well over $100 million by 1980.
Now, with a projected shipping date of 1981, the Lisa Project, another personal computer, began under Ken Rothmuller. However, Apple Lisa missed its shipping target.
It was this time around when Apple witnessed its first turbulence. As Apple Computer started working on building a graphical, user interface-based computer, due to some internal tussle, Jobs had to leave the Lisa team.
Steve Jobs recruited John Sculley in 1983 to help him grow Apple as a company. Sculley was then spear-heading Pepsi and it was him, who held all the strings when the company overtook Coca-Cola as the top beverage maker.
The way Jobs convinced Sculley to take the role Apple CEO role in 1983 will probably go down in the history of one-liners. His wit was cogent when he asked Sculley,
“Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh at Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting on January 24, 1984, for $2,495.
“Hello, I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: NEVER TRUST A COMPUTER YOU CAN’T LIFT! Obviously, I can talk, but right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So, it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me… STEVE JOBS.”
Due to an internal power struggle with John Sculley, Apple’s then CEO, and a Board of Directors, Steve Jobs exits Apple on September 16, 1985. Following the resignation, Jobs found NeXT Computer with other former Apple employees later in the year.
1991 – 1996
These years saw a flurry of changes, from product launches to the shifting of power from Sculley’s hands.
On October 2, 1991, Apple partnered with IBM to create PowerPC-based computers. Later, in the same month, on October 21, 1991, Apple released the PowerBook series.
In 1993, John Sculley stepped down as the CEO and gave way to Michael Spindler’s leadership. Further down the lane, in 1994, they released its first PowerPC-based desktop computers and notebooks.
On 2nd February 1996, just 3 years after being at the helm, Michael Spindler stepped down as the CEO. And was succeeded by Gil Amelio, a member of Apple’s Board of Directors since 1994.
This period saw the return of Steve Jobs to the company that he co-founded. He joined Apple again in February 1997, after NeXT was bought by Apple for $429 million. Less than five months later, Jobs convinced the board to fire Amelio and meanwhile, name him the CEO.
Jobs didn’t stay just a temporary CEO for long. But he had work cut out for him because the company was in horrible shape. That said, Jobs wasn’t just any man. He ultimately turned Apple around by cutting company’s product line and introducing one hit product after another — the colourful iMac computers, then the iPod music player, iTunes Store, iPhone, iPad, iPod shuffle and MacBook Air. And how can one forget the App Store?
These years were like a renaissance period for the company as it recovered from near-death. It is interesting to look back and ponder, “Would it have been possible without Steve Jobs?”
Following a years-long battle with cancer, Jobs died on October 5, 2011, leaving behind an unmatched legacy. Tragedy befell the company only one day after they introduced iPhone 4s and Siri. Jobs handpicked his chief operating officer, Tim Cook, to take over Apple and lead the company into the future.
With Tim Cook, Jobs time-weathered friend at the helm, things at Apple have been relatively stable. Tim Cook has done his best to take Apple’s legacy forward, despite the sorry absence of the company’s numero uno. From launching Apple maps to Apple Watch and from iPhone 8 to fully bezel-less iPhone X, it would be foolish not to tip one’s hat for all Apple has done. Amidst the competition inundated market, the company is still generating record sales. And it is still one of the richest company and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. At least, not in the near future.