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The Early Years of Apple Inc.

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Apple was founded on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne[10] (and later incorporated January 3, 1977[3] without Wayne, who sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak) to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. They were hand-built by Steve Wozniak[11][12] in the living room of Jobs' parents' home, and the Apple I was first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club.[13] Eventually 200 computers were built. The Apple I was sold as a motherboard (with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips) -- not what is today considered a complete personal computer.[14] The user was required to provide two different AC input voltages (the manual recommended specific transformers), wire an ASCII keyboard (not provided with the computer) to a DIP connector (providing logic inverter and alpha lock chips in some cases), and to wire the video output pins to a monitor or to an RF modulator if a TV set was used.

Jobs approached a local computer store, The Byte Shop, which ordered fifty units and paid US$500 for each unit after much persuasion. He then ordered components from Cramer Electronics, a national electronic parts distributor. Using a variety of methods, including borrowing space from friends and family and selling various items including a Volkswagen Type 2 bus, Jobs managed to secure the parts needed while Wozniak and Ronald Wayne assembled the Apple I.[15]

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 While early models used ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, this was quickly superseded by the introduction of a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive and interface, the Disk II.

Another key to business for Apple was software. The Apple II was chosen by programmers Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston to be the desktop platform for the first "killer app" of the business world--the VisiCalc spreadsheet program.[16] VisiCalc created a business market for the Apple II, and the corporate market attracted many more software and hardware developers to the machine, as well as giving home users an additional reason to buy one--compatibility with the office.[16] (See the timeline for dates of Apple II family model releases--the 1977 Apple II and its younger siblings the II+, IIe, IIc, and IIGS.)

According to Brian Bagnall's book, "On the Edge" (pg. 109-112), Apple exaggerated their sales figures and that Apple was a distant 3rd place until VisiCalc came along. VisiCalc was first released on Apple II because Commodore and Tandy computers were tied up in VisiCalc's software development office due to their popularity. VisiCalc's association with Apple was thus pure happenstance, not a technical decision. And even after VisiCalc, Apple II didn't surpass the Tandy TRS-80, whose sales were helped by the large number of Radio Shack stores. However, VisiCalc did put Apple ahead of Commodore's PET, at least in the US. (Commodore later



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