Apple: the company history from the beginning to the present day

the transformation of a well-known technology giant. Apple the company history from the beginning to the present day.

Apple: the company history from the beginning to the present day
Apple: the company history from the beginning to the present day

Apple's story begins with one garage and three friends. Two Steves - Jobs and Wozniak - are probably the most prominent founders of the company. But without their friend Ronald Wayne, there probably wouldn't be an iPhone, iPad or iMac. We tell the story of Apple in detail - from the release of the first personal computers Apple I and Apple II to the transformation of a well-known technology giant. Apple the company history from the beginning to the present day.

Creating a startup: assembling computers in the garage

Jobs and Wozniak met in 1971 through a mutual friend Bill Fernandez, who later became one of Apple's first employees. They agreed due to a common interest in technology and pranks. Together, Jobs and Wozniak attended the Homebrew Computer Club, which has been meeting in Menlo Park, California since 1975. It was there that Wozniak first saw MITS's Altair microcomputer and was inspired by the DIY approach (Altair was sold as a set of components). He wanted to create something simpler for the consumer.

So Wozniak assembled the first computer with a typewriter-like keyboard. Instead of a screen, you could connect a regular TV to it. The invention, later called the Apple I, became the prototype of the modern computer. However, Wozniak did not seek to change the world with his development - he just wanted to brag about how much he managed to do with so few resources.

Jobs liked Wozniak's invention, and he sold his VW van to finance its production. Wozniak sold his HP calculator (at that time it was more expensive than modern counterparts), and on April 1, 1976, together with Ronald Wayne, they founded Apple Computer Inc.

Apple's first computer comes out - Apple I

Wozniak assembled each computer himself. He wanted to sell them at a higher cost of components to offset the cost. But Jobs had bigger plans. He signed a deal with the Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, to supply 50 computers for $ 500 each. Apple I sold for $ 666.66. Legend has it that Wozniak simply liked to repeat numbers and did not know the connection with the "devil's number".

Byte Shop took a risk: Apple I was not produced in large quantities, and Apple Computer Inc itself did not have enough resources to fulfill orders. Atari, where Jobs worked, demanded payment for all components purchased at once, and the bank denied him a loan. A friend of his father offered him $ 5,000, but that was not enough.

In the end, it was the deal with Byte Shop that helped the company get a 30-day component loan from Cramer Electronics. During this time, Jobs hoped to produce enough computers to pay for sales revenue. To Ronald Wayne, the idea seemed too risky, so 12 days after starting the company, he sold his stake for only $ 500.

Investors and the first success

Steve's family and friends gathered at the dinner table and helped them assemble the computers. After a service check, Jobs took them to the Byte Shop. Despite many shortcomings, the Apple I was still a success and was released from April 1976 to September 1977. In total, about 200 units were sold.

Apple I later became a collector's item. In October 2014, one desktop computer was sold at auction for $ 905,000.

Thanks to the success of Apple I, Jobs and Wozniak decided to create the next model. Apple Computer Inc was registered on January 3, 1977. Multimillionaire Mike Markkula, interested in Apple I, provided the company with the necessary funding and business knowledge. Markkula became the third employee of Apple and owned one third of the share.

Apple's second computer comes out - Apple II

In April 1977, the Apple II was presented at the West Coast Computer Faire. Like Apple's previous computer, it was a truly innovative device. He suggested:

  • color graphics;
  • magnetic tape drive (which was later replaced by 5.25-inch floppy disks);
  • 64K memory in top models;
  • NTSC display with a resolution of 280 x 192.

However, such characteristics were not enough to justify the cost of $ 1300 .. Only a few months later, the ideal way was presented: an innovative program for creating spreadsheets and calculations VisiCalc, compatible with Apple II. Thanks to this, the novelty was able to surpass the market leaders Tandy and Commodore PET. According to Apple itself, the program brought a fifth of sales of all devices in this series.

But of course, the Apple II would not have succeeded if it did not meet the already high standards of the company. Almost 16 million copies of the Apple II were produced in 16 years, which was the second great success. However, the best days were still ahead.

By 1978, Apple already had an office with several employees. In the following years, the company's revenue grew rapidly, doubling every four months. From September 1977 to September 1980, Apple's annual sales rose from $ 775,000 to $ 118 million (average annual growth rate of 533%).

Apple went public on December 12, 1980 at a price of $ 22 per share. According to EDN Network, the company's $ 4.6 million shares were immediately sold off and brought in more capital than any other IPO since Ford Motor Company's release in 1956. After that, Apple's largest shareholder Steve Jobs received a fortune of $ 217 million.

Failed developments from Apple

In 1979, Jobs and several Apple employees were allowed to visit the Xerox PARC Research Center in Palo Alto, California. It is known for the development of a laser printer, computer mouse, Ethernet network and other technological advances. In exchange, Apple gave Xerox the opportunity to buy 100,000 shares of the company worth $ 10 apiece.

By 1980, IBM and Microsoft had a growing market share. To compete with these companies in the field of corporate computing, in the same year Apple released the Apple III. However, the novelty did not succeed due to design errors. To make the computers less loud, Jobs suggested removing the fans and vents, which caused them to overheat.

While at Xerox PARC Labs, Jobs was convinced that all future computers should have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) similar to that widely used today. He immediately began developing a GUI for the next-generation Apple computer, the Apple Lisa.

However, Jobs was later expelled from the Lisa team due to internal disagreements and joined another Macintosh budget computer project. Lisa was released in 1983 and sold very poorly due to the high price and limited software support.

The Macintosh project and its failure

After Jobs was expelled from the Lisa team, he led the development of the Macintosh. To this day, the Macintosh is known to be the most user-friendly, as well as the first personal computer with a built-in graphical interface and a mouse to enter the mass market.

Unlike Lisa, the Macintosh was a real success thanks to an active marketing campaign. Especially famous is the cult commercial "1984", shot by Ridley Scott, which was broadcast during the Super Bowl.

Although graphics equipment was very expensive, Apple decided to sell the Macintosh at a more affordable price for regular users. Designers were attracted by the black and white graphics and visual capabilities of the device. For the same reasons, the Macintosh has become especially popular in the desktop publishing market. In addition, it was quite portable thanks to a special carrying handle.

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The Macintosh went on sale in January 1984 for $ 2495 - good value for money, but not cheap. By the beginning of May 1984, 70,000 units had been sold thanks to the 1984 commercial.

In 1983, shortly before the release of the Macintosh, Jobs hired John Scully as Apple's new CEO, as second CEO Mark Markkula decided to retire. Scully was Pepsi's youngest CEO at the time, but Jobs lured him to Apple with the legendary question: "Do you want to sell fresh water for the rest of your life?" Or do you want to join me and change the world? 

However, the relationship between Jobs and Scully became increasingly tense when the Macintosh could not bypass the dominant IBM products. In addition, Jobs liked to do things his own way, and Scully wanted to strictly control future products, because Lisa and Macintosh failed in front of competitors.

New Apple projects

In 1985, a conflict arose between Jobs and Scully, as a result of which Jobs resigned and founded a new company, NeXT. Around the same time, Steve Wozniak also left the company, selling most of his shares.

Jobs was replaced by Jean-Louis Gasse. After that, Apple's board decided to focus on high-tech markets and sell computers at a higher price. According to the new "55 or die" policy developed by Gasse, the Macintosh II had to bring at least 55% profit from each device. In 1991, Apple introduced the PowerBook laptop and the System 7 operating system, which was used before the release of OS X in 2001.

In the 1990s, Apple tried to break into new markets with the Newton MessagePad and eMate personal PDAs. However, due to the high cost of $ 700 and functional limitations, they did not have much success in the market. To resume sales, Apple has released cheaper models of computers: Macintosh Classic, Macintosh LC and Macintosh IIsi.

For several years, the "55 or die" policy had the opposite effect, as IBM's products became cheaper and Microsoft only increased its influence. To restore the market, Apple has introduced a line of new computers: Quadra, Centris and Performa. But it did not bring much results. The company has also experimented with the development of digital cameras, portable CD players, speakers and TVs. But all these projects were unsuccessful: market share and stock prices continued to decline.

Scully was fired in 1993 due to many mistakes and wrong decisions. The new CEO was Michael Spindler, who has worked for Apple since the 1980s. In 1994, the Macintosh was released on the basis of the PowerPC microprocessor, but this did not save the company's position. Part of the reason was the high popularity of Windows at the time.

In 1996, Jill Amelio took over as CEO, making several changes, including mass layoffs and cost cuts. Apple shares have reached a 12-year low. Then in February 1997, Amelio decided to buy Jobs' new company NeXT for $ 429 million and return it to Apple.

IMac project return and breakthrough

In July 1997, Jobs was appointed interim CEO. The company's board agreed to this due to large financial losses and a record low share price for three years.

At the 1997 Macworld Expo, Jobs announced that Apple would work with Microsoft to create new versions of Microsoft for the Macintosh. He also said that Microsoft had invested $ 150 million in shares of Apple without a vote. Apple introduced the Online Apple Store , On November 10, 1997

On August 15, 1998, the iMac, an all-in-one computer, appeared. The iMac design team was led by Jonathan Ive, who later worked on the iPod and iPhone. Thanks to modern specifications and unique design, 80,000 iMacs were sold in five months.

Jobs did not want to expand the range of products and even reduced the line of computers to four - two for business and two for consumers. It also closed many other divisions of the company, including Newton MessagePad. However, during this period the company saw a significant rise.

  • In 1998, Apple acquired the KeyGrip project (which was renamed Final Cut Pro) from Macromedia and released an iMovie video editing program based on it in October 1999.
  • In 2001, the System 7 operating system was replaced by Mac OS X.
  • In the same year, a portable digital audio player iPod was released, 100 million units of which were sold over six years.
  • In 2002, Apple acquired three companies - Nothing Real, Emagic and Astarte. Based on Astarte technology, iDVD was created, and the acquisition of Emagic made Apple the first computer maker to own a music company.
  • In 2003, the online music store iTunes was introduced, which became the largest music seller in the world until 2005.
  • In 2006, Apple switched to Intel's system architecture. The MacBook Pro became Apple's first laptop based on the Intel processor.
  • From 2003 to 2006, Apple's stock price rose more than tenfold from $ 6 to $ 80 apiece.

IPhone presentation

On January 9, 2007, Apple introduced its first touchscreen mobile phone. The iPhone could play MP3s and videos, and had Internet access. The first models only supported AT&T wireless and did not use the latest 3G networks.

In 2008, Apple lifted this restriction with the release of the iPhone 3G or iPhone 2.0, which also supported GPS. Like other smartphones, such as the BlackBerry from Canadian company Research in Motion, the new iPhone included features targeted at business users. For example, you can completely clear your phone memory remotely if your phone is lost.

As with the original iPhone, the demand for the novelty was very high. One million units were sold in the first three days after the release of the iPhone 3G. In the same year, Apple introduced the App Store - an online store where iPhone users can buy applications.

iPhone 3G S was released in 2009. One million units were also sold in the first three days of sales. As early as June 19, 2009, Apple's market share in smartphones reached about 20% compared to 55% in BlackBerry.

Compared to the previous model, the iPhone 3G S included several changes:

  • 3 MP camera with digital video recording function;
  • built-in digital compass, capable of working with various map applications;
  • New OS 3.0 operating system with support for voice control and P2P mode of games with other iPhone users via Wi-Fi.

The latter feature was introduced as part of Apple's strategy to conquer the portable gaming market. The latest iPhone also supported reading e-books, which could be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

IPad output

In 2010, Apple introduced the iPad - a device with a touch screen, the average size between a laptop and a smartphone, with a screen diagonal of 24.6 cm, a thickness of 1.2 cm and a weight of 0.7 kg. You could control the iPad with the same set of gestures as the iPhone. The touch screen played video in high resolution.

The iPad has several built-in services, including iTunes, and it supports all iPhone applications. Apple has also developed the iBooks book reader and iBookStore online store specifically for the iPad in collaboration with the five largest publishers (Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette).

History of the Apple logo

In a December 1984 interview with Byte magazine, Wozniak said the idea belonged to Jobs, who at the time "sometimes worked in orchards in Oregon." According to Steve Jobs' biography, the name came to his mind after he returned from an apple farm. One of the advantages of this name was also that it started with A, which means that the company will be higher in any list.

But there are other theories.

  • Perhaps the idea was inspired by Newton, as the first Apple logo depicted him sitting under a tree.
  • Later, the company changed the design to a simpler one - with a bitten apple. Some speculate that this is a reference to computer scientist Alan Turing, who committed suicide by biting an apple poisoned with cyanide. However, according to the designer of this logo Rob Janof, this is just an "urban legend".
  • A bitten apple can also represent the story of Adam and Eve from the Old Testament.

Apple now

Since Jobs left in 2011 and the emergence of a new CEO, Tim Cook, the company has released several new versions of previous products and introduced a number of new products.

  • In 2011, the iPhone 4S was released with a built-in personal assistant Siri.
  • In 2012, the iPad Mini went on sale, a reduced version of the iPad, and in 2015 - the iPad Pro, an enlarged iPad intended for business use.
  • In 2014, Apple made its biggest acquisition, buying headphone and speaker maker Beats for $ 3 billion.
  • In 2015, Apple introduced the Apple Watch smartwatch. In 2018, ECG support appeared in Series 4.
  • AirPods appeared in 2016 and became the market leader in sales.

Recent years have been particularly successful: thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, in 2018 Apple became the first company to reach a trillion-dollar mark. Two years later, it became the first company to double that figure.

At the same time, Apple does not cease to amaze users and regularly introduces innovations. For example, in 2020, the company introduced its own M1 microprocessor for Mac computers, which replaced previously used Intel products.