Home Blog The rise of Apple, Inc.: 1970s-2019

The rise of Apple, Inc.: 1970s-2019

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Apple Inc. was started in just a garage by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. This is where the very first Apple inventions were made, and where the company got its name out.

Apple has as of recently has stopped with large innovative in technologies. The Samsung Galaxy S8 sold more than the iPhone 8 or iPhone X. They seem to be lagging behind nowadays, since there is only so much that can be added to a phone or computer before it becomes redundant.  Before 2015, Apple reigned supreme in the phone industry. Business was booming, and the company created some of the most amazing pieces of technology the world has ever seen. Since then, Apple has been pumping out a variety of products – both resulting in failures and large successes. In order to understand the evolution of Apple, one must start at the very beginning.

The 1970s

Timeline 1976-1982. Apple I, (July 1st 1976 - September 1st 1977), Apple II ,(April 1st 1977 - June 1st 1979), and the Apple II Plus (June 1st 1979 - December 1st 1982)

These were the starting years for Apple. Three kids in a garage, making computers, trying to get their name out into the world.

Apple I

Apple I
Apple I

Apple’s first invention, hand-built by Steve Wozniak, was completely made out of wood. To pay for the creation of the Apple I, Steve Jobs had to sell his Volkswagen Microbus and Steve Wozniak had to give up his HP-50 calculator. Collectively, they got roughly $1000, finally having enough to create the Apple I in April of 1976. This was just a prototype and it looked like a simple typewriter.

Apple II

Apple II
Apple II

This was one of the first highly successful microcomputers. Released in June 1977, the Apple II was absolutely revolutionary. The Apple II was the first computer to display colors, resulting in the original Apple logo to be rainbow. Since it was the first computer marketed towards household families instead of businessmen, the company was gifted with sudden success.

Apple II Plus

With how fast technological advancements are made in today’s world, we are used to a version of a device released every year. Yet in June 1979, the Apple II Plus was the first computer that was the same technology released before it, with just some updated hardware. The Apple II started the large trend. This was also the first Apple product to be shipped to European and Japanese markets.

The 1980s

Timeline from 1980 - 1990, Apple III, ( September 1st - December 1st), Apple lle, (January 1st 1983 - March 1st 1985), Apple III Plus, (December 1st 1893 - April 24th 1984), Macintosh, ( January 24th 1984 - September 10th 1984), Macintosh II Series, (March 2nd 1987 - January 15th 1990)

During the ’80s, Apple branched out – instead of making just computers, they started making printers, modems, displays, and drives… all of which failed. This was in comparison to their flagships, such as the Macintosh. During this time, Apple still was not for the average consumer – mainly because of the expensive prices of their computers.

Apple III

Apple III
Apple III

Unlike the Apple II, the Apple III was a more business-oriented computer – and a complete commercial failure. The original computer was set to release in May 1980, but because of extreme issues with the stability of the computer, the release date got pushed back into the second half of 1981. It was marketed as a more advanced Apple II, even though the Apple II was made for the average american household.

Apple IIe

This Apple computer re-release upgraded the Apple II by taking all of the old upgrades and add-ons and building them into the machine. This was the last surviving unit of the Apple II line, and it is the longest surviving computer in Apple history. This computer sold for 11 years with small changes to the computer at that time.

Apple III Plus

The Apple III was discontinued in 1983, due to it violating FCC regulations. The FCC told Apple they needed to change the device to fit the radio frequency interference qualifications for business equipment and that is exactly what they did. The Apple III Plus included a built-in clock, video interlacing, standardized rear port connectors, 55-watt power supply, 256 KiB RAM as standard, and a redesigned, IIe-like keyboard. This completely changed up the game from the failure that was the Apple III. This was the start of the real boom for Apple, surely making its mark to the public.

Macintosh

Machintosh
Machintosh

The original Macintosh was a behemoth of a computer, with a 9-inch thick case and a handle on the top of it, so it could be held like a briefcase. This computer was introduced with a famous price of 370,000 USD (Almost 900,000 dollars in 2019), but at the time of release in 1984, it was 2,500 dollars USD. Unlike the Apple I and Apple II, the Macintosh had a mouse and keyboard that wasn’t built into the computer. The Apple I and II had a smaller screen with a larger base and the Macintosh had a larger screen that took up a majority of the system with a smaller base

Macintosh II/IIx/IIxc/IIfx

Macintosh II
Macintosh II

This computer was the first Macintosh to have a colored display. It was introduced with a price of 5,500 USD (12,000 USD in 2019). A year and a half after the launch of the Macintosh II, an upgraded computer called the Macintosh IIx was released. It had an upgraded CPU, and the price was raised to 7,000 USD (16,000 USD in 2019). These re-releases kept coming out as sales numbers dropped. The Macintosh IIxc and Macintosh IIfx were created with little to no improvement to the previous piece of hardware. The Macintosh IIxc was even a smaller, more compact version of the Macintosh II – and it didn’t have as much hardware in it, with the same price tag.

The 1990s

Timeline from 1990 - 1999, Macintosh LC,(October 15th 1990 - March 23rd 1992),Macintosh Classic,(October 15th 1990 - September 14th 1992),Macintosh Portable,(February 11th 1991 - October 21st 1994 ),Macintosh Classic II,(October 21st 1991 - September  13th 1993),PowerBook 100 Series,(October 21st 1991 - August 3rd 1992),Macintosh LC II,(March 23rd 1992 - March 15th 1993),Macintosh LC III Series,(February 10th 1993 - February 14th 1994), Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh,(March 20th 1997 - March 14th 1998), power Macintosh G3,(August 5th 1997- November 10th 1998), iMac G3,(August 15th 1998 - May 10th 1999)

The ‘90s were a time where Apple was on top of their game. They were creating new innovations left and right. This was when Apple put their name on the map for the basic consumer market since their computers were slowly lowering in price.

Macintosh LC

This was shipped along with the Macintosh Classic and was roughly the same as the Macintosh II for half of the price. This mainly started the push by Apple to have computers cheap enough to be sold to school boards. This computer was such a success, that Apple dropped their Macintosh II line of computers to completely focus on the Macintosh LC line in 1990.

Macintosh Classic

This was a re-release of the original Macintosh, but it was less than 1,000 USD. It was mainly used in schools, due to how cheap the computer was compared to everything that Apple had created prior.  This system was exactly like the original Macintosh. Apple decided not to change anything about the Macintosh Classic, which was criticized.

Macintosh IIsi

The Macintosh IIsi was marketed as a low-cost alternative to a Macintosh II, even though it was still 3,000 USD. It out-performed the LC model, and also supported expandability. The IIsi was just like the LC – it had built in sound, a color display, and a screen resolution of 640×480 in 8-bit color.

Macintosh Portable

This was the first battery-powered Macintosh and was revolutionary until it ultimately failed due to the 7,000 USD price tag (15,000 USD in 2019). On the other hand, the Portable had a hinge, which made it possible to fold the screen down and carry it like a suitcase. This line of computers would eventually be rebranded as the Powerbook.

Macintosh Classic II

Just like the Classic I, it had a relatively cheap price compared to the other models of only 2,000 USD (3,500 USD in 2019). The Classic II was the last computer made by Apple to support floppy disks.

Powerbook 100/140/170

Powerbook
Powerbook

All three of these PowerBooks were released simultaneously, were all more expensive than the previous one. Sony added a helping hand in making the PowerBook, and they designed and manufactured the Powerbook 100.

Macintosh LC II

This was simply an update to the original LC model for 800 USD less. The LC II was the highest selling Apple product in 1992 due to the price of it.

Macintosh LC III/III+

This computer showed to be two times better in every area compared to the LC II. It was 700 USD cheaper than the LC II. The only difference between the Macintosh III and the III + was that the III had a 25 MHz CPU while the III+ had a 33 MHz CPU. This was the cheapest Macintosh that Apple had ever made up to this point at about 1,350 USD (2,350 USD in 2019).

Macintosh LC 500 Series

The LC 520, 550, 570, and 580 were all small upgrades to the last one in the series. The LC 500 Series was a line of Macintosh computers that were very bulky but were cheaper than the compact Macintosh models. The LC 500 series was originally only sold in Japan, Canada, and to US schools.

Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh

Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh[/caption] This computer marked Apple’s 20th birthday in 1979. It had been 20 years since Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne came together to create Apple Computer Inc. The price of this system was 7,500 USD (12,000 USD in 2019). That price made it exclusively for collectors or executives. There was absolutely no difference to the software

Power Macintosh G3

Apple wanted to get closer to removing redundancy, which is what they did with the G3. They took the eight previous power models and put them all into three different models. This was the start of Apple selling build-to-order G3’s straight from their website. The only people doing this at the time was Dell.

iMac G3

iMac G3
iMac G3

This was the first Macintosh computer to rebrand itself as “iMac”. At this point in time, Apple was in complete financial ruin and needed something to turn that all around. The iMac G3 is what changed everything for Apple .It was the highest selling Apple product at the time and put Apple in a place where a lot of people started recognizing their name. It was criticized for abandoning floppy disks and integrating USB into the hardware.

iBook

This was the first mass-consumer laptop to offer WiFi connectivity. The iBook was extremely popular in education systems due to the cost and WiFi capabilities. Apple later turned the iBook line into the MacBook line.

The 2000s

Timeline from 2000 - 2010, iPod Classic,(October 23rd 2001 - July 17th 2002),iPod Mini,(January 6th 2004 - February 23rd 2005),Mac Mini,(January 11th 2005 - February 28th 2006),Mac-book Pro,(April 24th 2006 - February 28th 2008),iPhone 1,(June 29th 2007 - September 5th 2007),iPhone 3G,(September 5th 2007 - September 9th 2008),iPod Touch,(July 11th 2008-July 7th 2010)

The roaring 2000s were an amazing time for Apple. Every single year, it seemed like there was at least one product that gets released that was a commercial success. At this point, Apple completely shifted to making products that everyday consumers could afford.

iPod Classic

iPod Classic
iPod Classic

There were six generations of the iPod Classic, and all that was changed from each model was the storage capacity. The iPod Classics lifespan, before it got discontinued, was almost 13 years. The iPod paved the way for future portable media players. This was the first iPod and the first device that was about to hold music on it without a CD or a cassette

iPod Mini

iPod Mini
iPod Mini

While it was being produced, the iPod Mini was the best selling device on the market. They were usually out of stock due to large public demand. It had a touch-sensitive scroll wheel and could hold up to 20,000 songs. The iPod Mini had a four button click wheel where you could go to the menu screen, play/pause, skip forward, and skip backward. The iPod Mini was eventually replaced with the iPod Nano.

Mac Mini

Original design for Mac Mini
Original design for Mac Mini

This was the first Apple desktop to ship without a monitor since 1988. Apple marketed this tiny silver block loaded with Mac OS as “Bring your own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse” in attempts to take people away from Windows PCs. The Mac Mini was a silver box that you plugged into any monitor through HDMI. This made it possible to get the Mac OS on any monitor even if it wasn’t an Apple monitor.

MacBook Pro

This was the replacement for the PowerBook, a thin laptop that was also high powered. As of writing, Apple is still making the MacBook Pro. The first generation had very sharp edges to it, and it was shaped more like a box, while later generations of the MacBook Pro were rounded and thinner.

iPhone 1/3Gs

iPhone 1
iPhone 1

This was one of the first touch screen phones, abandoning the typical buttons of past Apple devices. Most of the features are considered obsolete now, but at the time the features of this phone were like something the world has never seen in something like this. This included extremely fast cellular connectivity and fast data transfer.

iPod Touch

The iPod Touch was an iPhone, but without the phone part. It still had a touch screen and was made for people who didn’t need to call or text. Still, one could download apps that enabled those features. By 2007, 100 million units had been sold.

The 2010s

Timeline from 2010 - The Present,iPad,(April 3rd 2010 - March 2nd 2011 ),iPhone 4/5 Series,(June 24th 2010 - September 9th 2014),iPhone 6/7 Series,(September 19th 2014 - September 12th 2017),Apple Watch,(September 16th 2016 - Present),iPhone 8 Series,(September 22nd 2017 - Present), iPhone X series,(November 3rd 2017 - Present)

With the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, the company had to figure out how it was going to recover. Tim Cook took over for Jobs, and as time went on, prices for each device slowly got more expensive.

iPad

iPad 1st Gen
iPad 1st Gen

This was the first line of tablets made by Apple. The initial run of this device didn’t support WiFi connectivity, but a few months after, a new model was released that could. Even though it wasn’t supposed to be, the iPad was compared to laptops and was a large competitor for them.

iPhone 4/4S/5/5C/5S

iPhone 5
iPhone 5

This was the beginning of Apple releasing a sequence of phones at the same time, with slightly different features. At the time, this was the thinnest phone in the world. This phone started the race to create the slimmest phone, which is still going on today. These phones were sleek in their design, and comfortably fit is almost anyone’s hand.

iPhone 6/6 Plus/6S/6S Plus/7/7 Plus

iPhone 6
iPhone 6

This series of phones replaced the iPhone 5 as the flagship phone for Apple. These phones had updated CPUs, upgraded cameras, and improved LTE and WiFi capabilities. More than 10 million units were sold in the first three days. Even though they had extremely positive reviews, there was a lot of problem with the 6 Series. These phones had a tendency to bend in a person’s pocket, or the phone’s touchscreen would disconnect from the logic board and stop working.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch
Apple Watch

This watch incorporated health tracking along with integration to IOS. The Apple Watch relies on connectivity to an iPhone to perform calling or texting. They did provide limited connectivity ability while away from your phone.

iPhone 8/ 8 Plus

The phone was absurdly similar to the previous iPhones, aside from the glass back. Notable changes with these phones include its wireless charging, an extremely faster processor, and a slowly improving camera (as always).

iPhone X/ XS/XS Max/XR

iPhone X
iPhone X

Apple completely skipped over the iPhone 9 and went to the iPhone X to celebrate ten years of iPhones. Apple started another trend with this phone, trying to get rid of the “notch” on the top of the phone as much as possible. Apple considers some of the technology in this phone as being tech of the future. The screen on the phone is an OLED and the original model started at 1000 USD. OLEDs are very thin flexible sheets of material that produce light. They’re brighter and more efficient than normal LEDs

Apple’s rich history has been a rollercoaster of glory days and unprecedented failures. As of recent years, Apple has fallen behind in innovation. After a certain period of time, there isn’t much more that can be added to a phone that is something new, before one goes back to being redundant. When Steve Jobs was alive, the company was about creating something for the consumer. Now, it seems like the company is down a path where they’re trying to create something new, but there isn’t much more that can be created. Even then, modern technology is being created at a rapid rate, and we can’t wait to see where the next lines will take Apple as Silicon Valley continues to compete ruthlessly.

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