Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Apple Computer
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Apple Computer

.]] Apple Computer, Inc. is a Silicon Valley company based in Cupertino, California, whose main business is computer technologies. It is best known for its range of Macintosh computers, and has a reputation for innovation in the high-tech industry.

The of this article is disputed. Please help restore neutrality by reporting disputed terms and phrases on , so that disputed parts can be settled.

Table of contents
1 Pre-foundation
2 Early years
3 The Macintosh
4 Recent years
5 Hardware currently made by Apple
6 Apple software
7 Devices formerly made by Apple
8 Documentation
9 Slogans
10 Apple as a corporation
11 See also
12 External links

Pre-foundation

Before he co-founded Apple, Steve Wozniak had always been an electronics hacker, and in 1975 he started attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club. He was inspired by what was going on.

At the time the only microcomputer CPUs generally available were the $179 Intel 8080, and the $170 Motorola 6800. Wozniak preferred the 6800, but both were out of his price range. So he watched, and learned, and designed computers on paper waiting for the day he could afford a CPU.

When MOS Technology released the famous 6502 in 1976 at $25, Wozniak immediately started writing a version of BASIC for the chip. After completion, he started designing a computer it would run on. The 6502 was designed by the same people who designed the 6800, as many in Silicon Valley left employers to form their own companies. Wozniak's earlier 6800 paper-computer needed only minor changes to run on the new chip.

Wozniak completed the machine and started taking it to Homebrew Computer Club meetings, where to show off the system. There he bumped into old friend Steve Jobs, who had an interest in the future commercial applications of these tiny hobby machines.

Early years

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ("the two Steves") had been friends for some time, and Jobs managed to interest Wozniak in assembling the machine and selling it. Jobs approached a local computer store, The Byte Shop, who said they would be interested in the machine, but only if it came fully assembled. The owner, Paul Terrell, went further, saying he would order 50 of the machines and pay $500 each on delivery.

The machine had only a few notable features. One was the use of a TV as the display system, whereas many machines had no display at all. This was not like the displays of later machines however, and displayed text at a terribly slow 60cps. This machine, the Apple I also included bootstrap code on ROM, which made it easier to start up. Finally, at the insistence of Paul Terrell, Wozniak also designed a cassette interface for loading and saving programs, at the then-rapid pace of 1200bps. Although the machine was fairly simple, it was nevertheless a masterpiece of design, using far fewer parts than anything in its class, and quickly earning Wozniak a reputation as a master designer.

Joined by another friend, Ron Wayne, the three started to build the machines. Using a variety of methods, including borrowing space from friends and family, selling various prized items (like calculators and a VW bus), scrounging and some white lies, Jobs managed to secure the parts needed while Wozniak and Wayne assembled them. They were delivered in June, and as promised, they were paid on delivery. Eventually 200 of the Apple I's were built.

But Wozniak had already moved on from the Apple I. Many of the design features of the I were due to the limited amount of money they had to construct the prototype, but with the income from the sales he was able to start construction of a very much upgraded machine, the Apple II; it was presented to the public at the first West Coast Computer Faire in April 1977 .

The main difference internally was a completely redesigned TV interface, which held the display in memory. Now not only useful for simple text display, the Apple II included graphics, and, eventually, color. Jobs meanwhile pressed for a much improved case and keyboard, with the idea that the machine should be complete and ready to run out of the box. This was almost the case for the Apple I machines sold to the Byte Shop, but one still needed to plug various parts together and type in the code to run BASIC.

Building such a machine was going to cost a lot more money. Jobs started looking for cash, but Wayne was somewhat gun shy due to a failed venture four years earlier, and eventually dropped out of the company. Jobs eventually met "Mike" Markkula who co-signed a bank loan for $250,000, and the three formed Apple Computer on April 1, 1976.

With both cash and a new case design in hand, the Apple II was released in 1977 and became the computer generally credited with creating the home computer market. Millions were sold well into the 1980s. When Apple went public in 1980, they generated more money than any IPO since Ford in 1956, and instantly created more millionaires than any company in history.

A number of different models of the Apple II family were built, including the Apple IIe and IIgs, which could still be found in many schools as late as the end of the 1990s.

The Macintosh

By the 80s Apple faced emerging competition in the personal computing business. Chief among them was IBM, the first "big name" in computing. IBM's PC model, running DOS (short for Disk Operating System, and licensed to IBM by Bill Gates) was capturing a large share of the emerging desktop computing market in large companies.

Several smaller businesses were using the Apple II, but the company felt it needed a newer, more advanced model to compete in the corporate desktop computing market. Thus, designers of the Apple III were forced to comply with Jobs' lofty and sometimes impractical goals. Among them was the omission of a cooling fan - it is reported Jobs found them "inelegant." The new machines were prone to overheating, and most early models had to be recalled. The Apple III was also expensive, and, though the company introduced an updated version in 1983, largely a failure.

Meanwhile various groups within Apple were working on a completely new kind of personal computer, with advanced technologies such as a graphical user interface, computer mouse, object-oriented programming and networking capabilities. These people, including Jef Raskin and Bill Atkinson, agitated for Steve Jobs to put the company's focus behind such computers.

It was only when they brought him to see the work being done at Xerox PARC on the Alto in December 1979 that Jobs decided the future was in such graphics-intensive, icon-friendly computers, and supported the competing Apple Lisa and Apple Macintosh teams. Over the objections of some PARC researchers, many of whom (such as Larry Tesler) ended up working at Apple, Xerox granted Apple engineers 3 days of access to the PARC facilities in return for selling them one million dollars in pre-IPO Apple stock (~$18mil. net). The Lisa debuted in January 1983 at $10,000. Once again, Apple had introduced a product that was ahead of its time, but far too expensive (the company would continue to follow this pattern for the next few years), and Apple again failed to capture the business market. The Lisa was discontinued in 1986.

The Lisa project was removed from Jobs' control midway through development. Jobs soon turned his attention to the Macintosh project, originally envisioned as a kind of "budget Lisa." The Apple Macintosh was launched in 1984 with a now famous Super Bowl advertisement based on George Orwell's novel 1984, declaring, "On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984'" — the obvious implication being that the Mac's new, "user friendly" GUI would liberate computing and information from an elite of large corporations and technocrats. Apple also spawned the concept of Mac evangelism which was pioneered by Apple employee, and later Apple Fellow, Guy Kawasaki.

The Macintosh was and continues to be a success for Apple, but not as big a success as it could have been. On a visit to Apple headquarters in Cupertino Jobs showed Bill Gates, now president of Microsoft, a prototype of the Mac GUI. In 1985 Microsoft launched Microsoft Windows, its own GUI for IBM PCs. By that point many companies were also making IBM PC Compatibles, cheaper copies of the PC. Apple did not allow other computer makers to clone the Mac. Although the first version of Windows was technologically inferior to the Mac, it and a PC clone could be had for less than the price of a Mac, and there was soon more software available for Windows as well.

Microsoft and Windows would go on to become one of the most phenomenal business success stories of the late 20th century, and Apple would never again be the world's number one personal computer maker. By 2003 Apple's share of the personal computer market had dwindled to around 5%.

Recent years

After the failed Macintosh Portable of 1989, a much more popular laptop, the PowerBook, was introduced in the early 1990s. Products from Apple also include operating systems such as ProDOS, Mac OS and A/UX, networking products such as AppleTalk and multimedia program QuickTime. Significant discontinued products include the Apple Power Macintosh G4 Cube and the Apple Newton handheld computer.

After an internal power struggle with new CEO John Sculley in the 1980s, Jobs resigned from Apple and went on to found NeXT Computer, which ultimately failed, after a promising start. Later on, Apple in an effort to save the company, bought up NeXT and its UNIX based OS NeXTSTEP, and this move brought back Jobs to Apple's management. One of his first acts as new acting CEO was to instigate development of the iMac, which saved the company from going under while they had time to work on sorting out the operating system.

More recent products include the Apple AirPort which uses Wireless LAN technology to connect computers of different brands to the Internet without wires. There is also the iBook and G4 Computer. In early 2002, Apple unveiled a new one-piece design of the new iMac. It has a hemispherical base and a flat panel all-digital display supported by a swiveling neck.

In 2001, Apple introduced Mac OS X, a new version of their operating system that finally marries the stability, reliability and security of Unix with the ease of use of the Macintosh interface in an OS targeted at professionals and consumers alike.

Apple computers such as the PowerBook, and more recently the iBook and the iMac, are frequently featured as props in films and television series. Occasionally the heroes use Apple computers while the villains are relegated to PC compatibles. At one time, Apple ran an advertising campaign for the PowerBook featuring clips from the film .

In addition to computers, Apple has also produced consumer devices. In the 1990s, Apple released the Newton, a handheld electronic note-taking device. It failed, but was clearly many years ahead of its time. Through the 1990s, Microsoft began to gain a much larger percentage of new computer users than Apple. As a result Apple fell from controlling 20% of the total personal computer market to 5% by the end of the decade. The company was struggling financially when on August 6, 1997 Microsoft bought a $150 million non-voting share of company as a result of a court settlement between themselves and Apple. (Microsoft has since sold all Apple stock holdings.) Perhaps more significantly, Microsoft simultaneously announced its continued support for Mac versions of its office suite, Microsoft Office and soon created a Macintosh Software Unit. This reversed the earlier trend within Microsoft that resulted in poor Mac versions of their software and resulted in several award-winning releases.

In May of 2001, after much speculation, Apple announced the opening of a line of Apple retail stores, to be located throughout the major U.S. computer buying markets. The stores were designed for two primary purposes: to stem the tide of Apple's declining share of the computer market, as well as a response to poor marketing of Apple products at third-party retail outlets. Initially, the Apple Stores were opened in the U.S. only, but in late 2003, Apple opened its first Apple Store outside the USA, in Tokyo's Ginza district. More shops for Osaka, Japan and London, England are supposedly in the works.

In October of 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, a portable digital music player. Its signature was the incredible amount of storage space, initially 5 GB, able to hold approximately 1,000 songs. Apple has since revised its iPod line several times in the past few years with newer versions, a slimmer, more compact design, Windows compatibility, AAC compatibility, storage sizes of up to 40 GB, and the ability to easily hook it up to a car or home stereo.

Apple has revolutionized the computer and music industry by signing the five major record companies to join its new Music download service, the successful iTunes Music Store. Unlike other fee-based music services, the iTunes Music Store charges a flat $.99 per song (or $9.99 per album). Also unlike other services, users actually own the music they purchase, and can burn the songs onto a CD, share and play the songs on up to 5 computers, and of course download songs onto an iPod, all with very few restrictions.

The acclaimed iTunes Music Store was launched in 2003 with 2 million downloads in only 16 days; all of which were only purchased on Macintosh computers. Apple has released a version of iTunes for Windows, allowing Windows users the ability to access the store as well. In addition, Apple plans for a worldwide release for its music store; currently, it is only available to customers in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

In January of 2004, Apple released a more compact version of their iPod player, the iPod mini. Although the mini held fewer songs than the full-size iPod, it was cheaper, smaller, and met with high demand.

In June of 2004, Apple opened their iTunes Music Store in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. A European Union version will open later in the year.

On July 11th of 2004, Apple sold its 100,000,000th song on the iTunes Music Store, ending, a promotion which included a free iPod for every 100,000th song purchased and a new PowerBook, 40gb iPod, and 10,000 free songs.

Hardware currently made by Apple

See also List of Macintosh models grouped by CPU

Apple software

See List of Macintosh software.

Devices formerly made by Apple

Documentation

Slogans

Apple as a corporation

Trademark dispute with Apple Corps

In 1981 Apple Corps, i.e. The Beatles filed suit against Apple Computer for trademark infringement. The suit settled with an undisclosed amount being paid to Apple Corps for using the name in contexts not associated with music. This amount has been estimated to $50 - $200 million.

In 1989 Apple added MIDI capabilities to its computers, and Apple Corps sued and won again, with Apple Computer paying $26.5 million in damages. At this time, an Apple employee added a system sound called "xylophone" to the Macintosh operating system, but was forced by the legal department to change the name. It was changed to "sosumi", which was told to be Japanese for "the absence of musicality", but actually should be read out as so sue me.

In September 2003 Apple were sued by Apple Corps again, this time for introducing iTunes and the iPod, both clearly positioned in the music market where Apple Corps own the trademark.

A "snapshot" of its own data center

On 8 January 2004 at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Apple revealed information about its own internal data center with which it runs the company. The following is a partial list of products it used as revealed during the 2004 Expo, with each product followed by its applications, according to D. Rally, who at that time was Apple's senior IT director (as cited in Fried, 2004). It should be noted that such information could change constantly, and judging from Apple's past information-disclosure practices (Fried, 2004), it is possible that a similar public revelation will never occur again.

Furthermore, according to Fried (2004), Apple "[used] its own products for most desktop tasks, including e-mail, instant messaging and Web browsing." Presumably, these products were Apple Mail, iChat, and Safari, respectively.

For data storage, Apple over the years has used servers from EMC, then IBM, and by 2005, it plans to use mostly Xserve RAID servers.

See also

External links

News

Rumors

Rumor parodies

People

History

Support and service

Mac sales, deals, and reviews

Other