Apple was established on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit.
The Apple I was hand-built by Steve Wozniak and first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club. The Apple I was sold as a motherboard (with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips). The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 and was market-priced at $666.66.
The Apple II was introduced on April 16, 1977 at the first West Coast Computer Faire. It differed from its major rivals, the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, because it came with color graphics and an open architecture. While early models used ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, they were superseded by the introduction of a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive and interface, the Disk II.The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first \"killer app\" of the business world—the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. VisiCalc created a business market for the Apple II, and gave home users an additional reason to buy an Apple II—compatibility with the office.
Apple was incorporated January 3, 1977 without Wayne, who sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Mike Markkula provided essential business expertise and funding of $250,000 during the incorporation of Apple.The company had its initial public offering on September 7, 1984.
Jobs and several Apple employees including JefRaskin visited Xerox PARC in December 1979 to see the Xerox Alto. Xerox granted Apple engineers three days of access to the PARC facilities in return for $1 million in pre-IPO Apple stock. Jobs was immediately convinced that all future computers would use a GUI, and development of a GUI began for the Apple Lisa.
Lisa won the race in 1983 and became the first personal computer sold to the public with a GUI, but was a commercial failure due to its high price tag and limited software titles.In 1984, Apple next launched the Macintosh. The Macintosh initially sold well, but follow-up sales were not strong. The Mac was particularly powerful in this market due to its advanced graphics capabilities, which were already necessarily built-in to create the intuitive Macintosh GUI. With continued strong sales of the Apple II, and the introduction of the Macintosh, Apple's sales reached new highs.
A power struggle developed between Jobs and new CEO John Sculley in 1985. Apple's board of directors sided with Sculley and Jobs was removed from his managerial duties. Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT Inc. the same year.
The machine's fortunes changed with the introduction of the LaserWriter, the first PostScript laser printer to be offered at a reasonable price point, and PageMaker, an early desktop publishing package. It has been suggested that the combination of these three products was responsible for the creation of the desktop publishing market.
In 1994, Apple allied with IBM and Motorola in the AIM alliance. The goal was to create a new computing platform (the PowerPC Reference Platform), which would use IBM and Motorola hardware coupled with Apple's software. The AIM alliance hoped that PReP's performance and Apple's software would leave the PC far behind, thus countering Microsoft. The same year, Apple introduced the Power Macintosh, the first of many Apple computers to use IBM's PowerPC processor.
In 1996, Michael Spindler was replaced by Gil Amelio as CEO. Gil Amelio made many changes at Apple, including massive layoffs. After multiple failed attempts to improve Mac OS, first with the Taligent project, then later with Copland and Gershwin, Amelio chose to purchase NeXT and its NeXTSTEP operating system, bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple as an advisor.
On August 15, 1998, Apple introduced a new all-in-one computer reminiscent of the Macintosh 128K: the iMac. The iMac design team was led by Jonathan Ive, who would later design the iPod and the iPhone. The iMac featured current technology and a groundbreaking design. It sold close to 800,000 units in its first five months and returned Apple to profitability for the first time since 1993.
On May 19, 2001, Apple opened the first official Apple Retail Stores in Virginia and California. The same year, Apple introduced the iPod portable digital audio player. The product was phenomenally successful — over 100 million units were sold within six years. In 2003, Apple's iTunes Store was introduced, offering online music downloads for $0.99 a song and integration with the iPod. The service quickly became the market leader in online music services, with over 5 billion downloads by June 19, 2008.At the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address on June 6, 2005, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would begin producing Intel-based Mac computers in 2006. On January 10, 2006, the new MacBook Pro and iMac became the first Apple computers to utilize Intel's Core Duo CPU. By August 7, 2006 Apple had transitioned the entire Mac product line to Intel chips, over 1 year sooner than announced. The Power Mac, iBook, and PowerBook brands were retired during the transition, the Mac Pro, MacBook, and Macbook Pro became their respective successors.
Mac OS X, based on NeXT's OPENSTEP and BSD Unix was released on March 24, 2001, after several years of development. Aimed at consumers and professionals alike, Mac OS X aimed to combine the stability, reliability and security of Unix with the ease of use afforded by an overhauled user interface. To aid users in migrating from Mac OS 9, the new operating system allowed the use of OS 9 applications through Mac OS X's Classic environment.
In 1998, Apple announced the purchase of Macromedia's Final Cut software, signaling its expansion into the digital video editing market. The following year, Apple released two video editing products: iMovie for consumers, and Final Cut Pro for professionals, the latter of which has gone on to be a significant video-editing program, with 800,000 registered users in early 2007. In 2002 Apple purchased Nothing Real for their advanced digital compositing application Shake, as well as Emagic for their music productivity application Logic, which led to the development of their consumer-level GarageBand application.iPhoto's release the same year completed the iLife suite.
The Macintosh debut was announced by the $1.5 million television commercial, \"1984\". It was directed by Ridley Scott, aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984,and is now considered a watershed event for Apple's success and a masterpiece.
In 1988, after the introduction of Windows 2.0, Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard alleging that Microsoft Windows and HP's NewWave violated Apple's copyrights in the Macintosh user interface. Cited, among other things, was the use of overlapping and resizable windows in Windows 2.0. The case was one of the significant \"look and feel\" copyright lawsuits of the 1980s. After several years in court, Apple's claims against Microsoft were dismissed, primarily due to a license John Sculley had negotiated with Bill Gates for Windows 1.0. The decision was upheld on appeal in 1994, but legal disputes on this topic were still ongoing until 1997 when the two companies came to a wide-ranging agreement that included Microsoft buying 10% of Apple stocks.In the midst of the Apple v. Microsoft lawsuit, Xerox also sued Apple on the same grounds. The lawsuit was dismissed because Xerox had waited too long to file suit, and the statute of limitations had expired.
Apple's strategy of suppressing clone development was successful. From 1986 to 1991, several manufacturers created Macintosh clones, including the portable Outbound; however, in order to do so legally, they had to obtain official ROMs by purchasing one of Apple's Macintosh computers, remove the required parts from the donor, and then install those parts in the clone's case. This resulted in very expensive, relatively unpopular clones.By 1995, Apple Macintosh computers accounted for about 7% of the worldwide desktop computer market. Apple executives decided to launch an official clone program in order to expand Macintosh market penetration. Apple's clone program entailed the licensing of the Macintosh ROMs and system software to other manufacturers, each of which agreed to pay a flat fee for a license, and a royalty for each clone computer they sold. This generated quick revenues for Apple during a time of financial crisis. From early 1995 through mid-1997, it was possible to buy PowerPC-based clone computers running Mac OS, most notably from Power Computing. Other licensees were Motorola, Radius, APS Technologies, DayStar Digital, and UMAX. In terms of exterior styling, Mac clones often more closely resembled generic PCs than their Macintosh counterparts.Psystar Corporation, has announced the release of a computer with OSx86 preloaded, called the OpenComputer.
The Apple Store is a chain of retail stores owned and operated by Apple Inc., dealing in computers and consumer electronics. As of February 2009, Apple has opened 251 stores; 208 in 41 US states, 20 in the United Kingdom, 9 in Canada, 7 in Japan, 3 in Australia, 2 in Switzerland and 1 in Italy, Germany and China.The stores, were designed by a San Francisco based design firm Eight Inc., carry Apple computers, software, iPod music players, iPhone cell phones, third-party accessories, and other consumer electronics such as the Apple TV. Many stores feature a theatre for presentations and workshops, the Studio for training with Apple products, and all stores offer a Genius Bar for technical support and repairs, as well as free workshops available to the public.
The Apple founders – Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne
Trivia: The first Apple logo (left) was drawn by Ronald Wayne