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.

Table of contents
1 Pre-history
2 Early Years
3 The Macintosh
4 Recent Years
5 Hardware currently made by Apple
6 Software currently made by Apple
7 Software formerly made by Apple
8 Devices formerly made by Apple
9 Documentation
10 Slogans
11 Apple as a corporation
12 External links
13 References


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. This may have been the best thing to ever happen to the computer market.

When MOS Technologies 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.

He 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.

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 can still be found in many schools.

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, it was 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 ad based on George Orwell's novel "1984." The obvious implication was that the Mac's new, "user friendly" GUI would liberate IBM PC users. 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 phenominal 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 less than 5%.

Recent Years

A laptop version of the Macintosh, 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. Discontinued products include the Apple Power Mac 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 15" flat panel all-digital display supported by a shiny neck that also serves as the handle.

Recently, Apple has 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. At one time, Apple ran an advertising campaign for the PowerBook featuring clips from the film Mission Impossible.

In addition to computers, Apple has also produced very popular consumer devices. In the 1990s, Apple released the Newton, a handheld electronic note-taking device. It experienced mediocre success, 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. 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. The stores feature the entire Apple product line; "solution zones" for movies, photos, music and kids; accessories, and a "Genius Bar" at which Apple product owners can discuss technical issues or bring their computers in for service. Flagship stores have been opened in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, with locations soon to come in the Ginza in Tokyo, San Francisco, and London. Apple has been awarded numerous architectural awards for its store design, particularly its SoHo location. As of November 2003, Apple has opened 70 retail stores.

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, 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 3 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.

Hardware currently made by Apple

See also List of Macintosh models grouped by CPU

Software currently made by Apple

  • Software included in Mac OS X:
    • Address Book, a contacts-management program
    • AppleScript, a scripting language
    • Chess, a GPL'd chess game
    • Darwin, the BSD core of Mac OS X
    • Exposé, a window-organization tool
    • Font Book, a font-management program
    • iCal, a calendar application
    • iChat, an instant messaging and video-conferencing program
    • iLife, a creative media suite
      • GarageBand, a music recording and creation application
      • iDVD, a basic DVD-authoring application
      • iMovie, a basic video editing application
      • iPhoto, a photo management application
      • iTunes, a music player, manager, and store
    • iSync, a device-synchronisation utility
    • Mail, an email application
    • Preview, an image reader
    • QuickTime Player, a media player
    • Safari, a web browser
    • Sherlock, a web searching utility
    • Stickies, a program to put Post-It Note-like notes on the desktop
    • TextEdit, a basic word processor
    • X11, a windowing system
    • Xcode, an integrated development environment

  • Other software for Mac OS X:
    • AppleWorks, a productivity application
    • Backup, a backup utility offered with .Mac
    • DVD Studio Pro, a DVD-authoring application
    • Final Cut Express, a limited version of Final Cut Pro
    • Final Cut Pro, a video editing application
    • HyperCard, an interactive media creation application
    • Keynote, a presentation-authoring application
    • Logic Express, a limited version of Logic Pro
    • Logic Pro, a music sequencing application
    • QuickTime Streaming Server, a media server
    • Apple Remote Desktop, a remote-desktop application
    • Shake, a video-compositing application
    • Soundtrack, a music composition application
    • WebObjects, a web-application builder

  • Software made by Apple subsidiaries:
    • Filemaker by Filemaker, Inc (formerly Claris)

  • Software made by Apple for Microsoft Windows:

Software formerly made by Apple

Devices formerly made by Apple



Apple as a corporation

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.

  • Apple Xserve servers
    • Serving web pages, applications, and other data
  • Apple Xserve RAID servers
    • Data storage
    • Authentication and security
  • Servers from Sun Microsystems
    • "Powering" its email systems
  • Servers running the IBM AIX operating system
  • Microsoft Office (for the Mac platform)
  • PeopleSoft 8
    • Customer relationship management
  • Software from i2
    • Forecasting
  • Products and/or services from SAP (which Apple has used for a long time)

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.

External links