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Apple at 40

  • Published on April 1, 2016
Apple at 40

Apple was started on this day during America’s bicentennial celebration. At the time Apple as a company didn’t resemble anything like it is today. There were no Mac computers, and the first Apple computer used only a keyboard. Apple’s creative apps such as Final Cut Pro and Keynote were not even on the drawing board, and neither was the iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Apple's early years

While the most notable face of Apple over the years was Steve Jobs, it was Steve Wozniak who came up with Apple’s first product as a result of Wozniak’s employer at the time, HP, not wanting to develop a personal computer that he had produced. For a very short time at the start of the company they were joined by Ronald Wayne who left the company within one month of its founding. In 1977, one year after its founding, the Apple II computer went into production, becoming a highly successful product as one of the first entries into the personal computer market. This success was short-lived, as IBM entered the market four years later, but overtook Apple to become the largest personal computer producer five years after the Apple II was first put into production.

Apple Mac Invented and Jobs Leaves Apple

Apple’s first computer with a graphical user interface that was controlled by pointing and clicking a mouse rather than using keyboard commands didn’t arrive until 1983. Although it was the predecessor to the MacOS and beat Windows to market by many years, the computer known as the Apple Lisa didn’t sell well, and led to an outside CEO, John Scully, being appointed. The first Mac computer arrived the next year, with approximately one-tenth of a megabyte of memory and no permanent storage, that is, no hard drive. With a built-in 9-inch black-and-white display, the product was far from being able to edit digital video – meaning Final Cut had still not arrived on the scene. With no way to connect external video, Keynote presentations were also a long way into the future as well. While the Mac is considered successful today, at the time the Apple board of directors was unhappy with its sales and in 1985 relieved Steve Jobs from most of his responsibilities. He and Wozniak both left the company this year.

Jobs returns to Apple

Ten years later Job’s was back at Apple when the company acquired NeXT Computer, which he started after leaving Apple a decade earlier. Two years later he became the interim CEO, accepted a large loan from Microsoft, and started to point the company in the direction it has been following since. With a focus on mobile devices, apps, and retail. Starting with the iPod, iTunes store, Apple store, and App store.

Apple Mac Evolves

Apple moved their computers to run on the same Intel chips that PCs use in 2005. This enabled businesses to install Windows on a Mac for the first time, and laid the groundwork for lower cost computers with more powerful apps such as Final Cut Pro and Keynote. The biggest product ever for Apple arrived in 2007 when the iPhone was released, and the company changed its name from Apple Computer to simply Apple and has since grown to become the largest publicly traded company.



About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.