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What Was Apple’s First Computer Price? (Explained)

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Apple is one of the largest names in consumer-level electronics and has been innovating the personal computer for decades.

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Personal computers were once large bulky boxes that required their own desks.

Such a distant past can be hard for the younger generations to imagine, especially those who have grown up with personal computers that fit in their pockets and double as phones.

Apple has been selling personal computers since the late 1970s and still excels in the personal electronic market today.

 

What Was Apple’s First Computer Price?

original Macintosh 128k called Apple Macintosh

 

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Apple’s first computer was sold for $666.66 in 1976 because Steve Wozniak liked repeating digits and they were selling the computer to a local shop for $500 plus ⅓ markup.

The Apple I changed how the world viewed computers.

The goal of the Apple I was to prove that computers were nothing to be afraid of and could serve as valuable tools in people’s everyday lives.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak wanted to provide customers with a computer that the everyday consumer could put together.

Before the Apple I went on the market, Jobs and Wozniak presented their new computer to their local Homebrew Computer Club.

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While most personal computers came as kits for the consumer to put together, the Apple I was one of the first computers on the market to be sold with a fully-assembled circuit board.

The consumer still had to put together the case, power supply transformers, power switch, keyboard, and the composite video display.

Apple would release a cassette interface for the Apple I shortly afterward, costing the consumer an additional $75.

When the Apple I was originally sold, it quickly proved to be a much simpler product than its major competitor, the Altair 8800.

While the Altair 8800 required extensive equipment and a deep understanding of computer science, all consumers needed to get the Apple I up and running was a keyboard and an inexpensive television set.

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This home computer allowed many people to find their inspiration in computer science because it didn’t require the consumer to build the entire intricate machine.

Apple had become the everyday man’s computer.

A year after the Apple I’s initial release, the price dropped to $475 and was quickly replaced by Apple’s next greatest innovation in personal computers.

By October of 1997, the Apple I was dropped from Apple’s price list and discontinued.

 

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What Were the Apple I’s Specifications?

computer vintage with white background

 

The Apple I may not have been the most technologically advanced computer of its time, but it was the easiest computer for most consumers to handle.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were working on the Apple I in the bedroom of Wozniak’s house when they were putting the original Apple I together.

This early home computer had a MOS Technology 6502 processor that was capable of running at 1.023 megaHertz and a frame rate of 60.05 Hertz that could support up to 40 characters per line at 24 lines with automatic scrolling.

It came with 4k RAM out of the box, but consumers were able to expand the memory to 8k or 64k with some clever hacking.

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The ports were incredibly universal at the time, allowing for any type of monitor and any standard ASCII keyboard.

Steve Wozniak programmed the Apple I to run off of the BASIC operating language, a decision he made based on his desire to see plenty of users design video games for the computer.

With the computer being made by a pair of young gamers, their goal was to help expand gaming by creating more opportunities for people to create their own video games at home.

Both Jobs and Wozniak wanted to use an operating system that allowed the users to know everything there is to know about their computer.

Wozniak felt that the traditional binary switches that other computers were using at the time would be too complicated for at-home game developers to understand, and BASIC was an operating language that most computer enthusiasts of the time understood.

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The BASIC language assembler was written into the ROM by hand using only hex.

Hexadecimal code simplifies binary code and is used to create codes with color referencing, assembly language programs, and even error messages.

 

Who Worked On The Apple I?

 Wozniak (Stephen Gary) co-founder Apple Computer

 

Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ronald Wayne were the ones who worked on the Apple I.

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Although history may only remember Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, Ron Wayne played a crucial role in the early stages of the Apple I.

Steve Wozniak had always been known as a tinkerer, having famously created many elaborate pranks and gadgets for his fellow students while attending the University of California at Berkeley during the early 1970s.

One of his most famous campus inventions was his “blue box,” which allowed homesick students to make long-distance calls for free.

During his second year of school, he had to take a break to earn money and began working at Hewlett-Packard.

Whenever he had free time, Wozniak would work on the design for his microcomputer which would later become the Apple I.

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Steve Jobs began attending Reed College in 1973 as an English Literature major.

He quickly dropped out of college and decided to travel to India shortly before meeting Steve Wozniak for the first time.

While Jobs may not have been the most impressive candidate on paper, he spent his life proving that he was capable of much more than his job application might have led someone to believe.

Even after starting Apple, many people doubted his ability to lead in the computer market.

While Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak may have been the heart of the project, Ronald Wayne is the forgotten founder of Apple.

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Wayne was a co-worker of Wozniak’s while Woz was still working for Atari and saw himself as the elder of the group.

Jobs and Wozniak were in their 20s, unlike Wayne, who was in his 40s at the time.

Scared that the company would be worth less than he put in, Wayne sold his 10% of the company for $800 in 1976.

 

Did Steve Jobs Really Sell His Car To Make The First Computer?

Wax sculpture of Steve Jobs at Madame Tussauds

 

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Yes, Steve Jobs sold his Volkswagen Bus to help fund the construction of the Apple I.

He sold the iconic 1964 van to a friend of his from high school, to whom Jobs wrote personal letters regularly until the day he died.

His friend kept the van in excellent shape and Jobs eventually went on to give him two Apple I computers along with some of their other products at the time.

It was another high school buddy of Jobs’s who inspired him to get the van in the first place.

Jobs and his high school best friend would cruise down to the beaches in Santa Cruz in their matching vans, but Jobs wouldn’t have the time to spend cruising with his new business quickly booming.

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While some people believe that Jobs sold his friend a Volvo, he did own both vehicles and simply decided to sell the Volkswagen bus.

Although the Volkswagen Bus is worth thousands today, Jobs sold it to his friend for $750.

He wasn’t the only one to give up expensive personal belongings to make Apple’s first computer.

Steve Wozniak had to sell his HP 65 calculator and had asked for $500, but the buyer only paid him half up front and never got around to paying him the other half of the asking price.

Despite the broken deal, Wozniak knew that they only needed $1,000 to get their project up and running.

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He also knew that HP was releasing a new calculator in less than a month, and he could get it for $370 with his employee discount.

Wozniak’s main concern was ensuring that Apple could create its first product.

When Jobs went to sell the Apple I to a local computer shop, he drove up in his green Volvo with Daniel Kottke.

 

Was There Anything Before The Apple I?

Silhouette of a person using mobile phone in front of the Apple logo

 

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Before the Apple I was created, there was a prototype called the Apple Computer A and is also known as the Apple Computer 1 or the Apple Computer A © 76.

This was the computer that was demonstrated by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at their local computer store, The Byte Shop.

There were quite a few prototypes for the Apple I, coming with a variety of vague names.

Not even Wozniak remembers what each name was supposed to mean or what the stages of the Apple I prototype were.

Wozniak has mentioned in the past that there was a fire in his garage, which resulted in the loss of many of their old prototypes.

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The only prototype of the Apple I that managed to see the light of day was the Apple Computer A.

The Apple Computer A had a noticeably different motherboard layout from what would eventually become the Apple I.

Some of the most noticeable differences include the traces, the small jumper section in the middle, and the cap layout.

Another change made between the Apple Computer A and the Apple I was the processor.

Rather than the 6502 that the Apple I is known to have, the Apple Computer A ran 6800/6501 CPU.

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Wozniak was trying to save money by using the 6501 processor for the prototype, which was $5 cheaper than the 6502 processor.

The 6502 processor ended up dropping in price by the time the Apple I was being built, and it had stronger clock driver transistors.

 

How Rare Is The Apple I Today?

Thinking teenager

 

The Apple I is incredibly rare, with the historical computer model having a high price tag and being incredibly difficult to come by.

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Even in its earliest years, Apple has been known for constantly innovating its products and discontinuing its older products just as quickly.

By 2012, there are believed to be fewer than 50 Apple I computers in existence, and only six of them are in working order.

One of the first big sales for the Apple I took place in 1999 when the vintage computer sold for $50,000.

In September of 2009, someone sold an Apple I on eBay for $17,000.

Another unit was listed on the auctioning site on March 23rd of 2010 and sold for $42,766.

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That same year, a complete Apple I model was sold at Christie’s auction house in London for $210,000.

The computer came with the original packaging, a personally typed and signed letter from Steve Jobs, and the original invoice that shows the salesman as “Steven.”

The return label on the original packaging even showed Jobs’s parents’ address on the return label.

Luckily, the historic computer was purchased for the Polytechnic University of Turin and is now used to run BASIC programming language after it was fixed.

Another functioning Apple I was purchased at a Sotheby’s auction for $374,500 on June 15th of 2012.

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The closing price ended up being double the expected cost for the computer.

Later that same year, another functional Apple I was sold at auction for $421,600 by Auction Team Breker.

One of the most recent Apple Is to be found was the Chaffey College Apple I, which was owned by a professor at the school.

The professor eventually sold it to a student to get the Apple II.

John Moran Auctioneers of Monrovia, California sold the historic computer for $400,000.

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Why Was Steve Jobs Fired By Apple?

Steve Jobs at the Shanghai Madame Tussauds wax museum

 

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak first started Apple, they were a couple of young college dropouts.

While there was no denying the talent or entrepreneurial spirit of Wozniak and Jobs, many of their investors had doubts that such young men could actually run a company.

Apple was clearly becoming an influential company across the country, which also brought in investors like Mike Markkula.

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Markkula didn’t believe that either of the young founders had the discipline to run an entire company, so he recruited his friend Michael Scott.

Scott served as Apple’s first CEO, but he left after Apple’s initial public offering.

While Apple was on the hunt for a new CEO, Markkula filled in as temporary CEO.

In 1983, Steve Jobs asked PepsiCo CEO John 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?”

Although Jobs wanted the role of CEO for himself, Apple’s board of directors didn’t believe that he was ready.

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Jobs was known for pushing his teams to the limit and going over every single detail, even if it messed with deadlines.

When Jobs’s efforts weren’t selling as well as previous projects, Sculley was forced to pull Jobs from some of the projects he was overseeing.

Angered by Sculley’s seeming punishment, Jobs went to the board of directors to get back control.

However, the board sided with Sculley and agreed that Jobs had too much control over the entire company.

This angered Jobs who had started the company and given it everything he had.

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In Jobs’s version of the story, he was then fired from his own company.

In John Sculley’s version of the story, Jobs’s voluntarily resigned from his position at Apple.

 

What Came After The Apple I?

Aged Apple computer and hand insert floppy inside

 

The Apple II is what followed the Apple I and was released in April of 1977.

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The sleek design of the Apple II was influenced by Atari’s hit arcade game Breakout.

Like its predecessor, the Apple II was created with gaming in mind.

It quickly became the premier gaming platform in the 1970s, and games were still being made for the system in the 1990s.

The Apple II was even more popular than the Apple I, thanks to the massive upgrade of technology between the generations.

This home computer had a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor that could run at 1.022727 megaHertz, 4 kilobytes of RAM, and an audio cassette interface for data storage and loading programs.

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Since Apple was trying to be the best consumer gaming system at the time, it also included two game paddles.

Some of the most popular games on the Apple II were 221B Baker Street and The $100,000 Pyramid.

This 8-bit computer propelled Apple to massive popularity as a microcomputer company.

Wozniak and Jobs were on a roll when they created this home computer, having made between five million and six million Apple IIs before they were discontinued in late 1993.

There were six different models of the Apple II, which include the original, Apple II Plus, Apple IIe, Apple IIc, Apple IIGs, and the Apple IIc Plus.

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With each new model came better performance and graphics.

The Apple II Plus was the first between-generation improvement made to the Apple II line.

It was nearly identical to the original, except it sported better graphics and faster disk-booting capabilities.

Apple IIe came after the Apple II Plus and became the most sold and used of all the models.

This computer was faster and had more memory than any of the other models, all while lowering the cost to produce the computers.

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The final model of the Apple II to be released was the Apple IIc Plus.

 

Apple Lives On

iPhone 11 Pro with AirPods Pro and Apple Watch with a Macbook

 

Apple has been making computers more accessible to people for decades.

This company grew in popularity and shrunk the size of its computers.

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What was once considered a “micro” computer is now seen as massive by comparison.

Apple has gone from selling computer kits to selling fully-assembled computers that fit in your pocket.

Without Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s dedication to the idea that technology doesn’t have to just be for the professionals, we now live in a world where the internet is at your fingertips and children know basic computing skills before they can even read.

Apple continues to be the perfect technology brand for anyone who doesn’t consider themselves to be good with computers.

Their products are perfect for computer beginners.

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The post What Was Apple’s First Computer Price? (Explained) appeared first on The Cold Wire.



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