Apple News & History

Introducing Apple I, The First Pre-Mac

Introducing Apple I, The First «pre-Mac» Device Developed By The Apple Inc.
Introducing Apple I, The First Pre-Mac

Introducing Apple I

The First pre-Mac Device Developed by Apple Inc.

The Apple I computer was released by Steven Wozniak and Steve Jobs in April 1976. This was the first pre-Mac device developed by Apple Inc. The computer contained a MOStek 6502 chip, and an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by MOS Technology in 1975. At the time, this chip was the least expensive full-featured microprocessor on the market.

The Apple I was a desktop computer, and Apple’s first product. To finance the creation of the Apple I, Jobs sold his only means for motorized transportation, a VW Microbus, for a few hundred dollars. Wozniak also sold his HP-65 calculator for $500. Wozniak also stated that Jobs planned to sell his bicycle if necessary to finance the Apple I.

The Apple I computer was presented to the public in July 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.

The Apple I production was discontinued on September 30, 1977. This was due to the introduction of its successor, the Apple II, on June 10, 1977. Byte magazine referred to the Apple II as part of the “1977 Trinity” of personal computing (along with the PET 2001 and the TRS-80).

Apple I

  • Introduced: April 1976.
  • Processor: CPU: MOS Technology 6502.
  • CPU Speed: 1 MHz.
  • Bus Speed: 1 MHz.
  • Onboard RAM: 8 kB.
  • Maximum RAM: 65 kB.
  • Video: VRAM: 1 kB. Max Resolution: 60.05 Hz, 40 x 24 char.
  • Power: 58 Watts.
  • Discontinuation: March 1977.
  • Launch price: US$ 666.66.

Miscellanea

  • The Apple I was introduced at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.
  • The Apple I was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak’s friend, Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer as a brand under its now famous name. Jobs marketed the first device.
  • The story begins on March 5, 1975, when Steve Wozniak attended the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in Gordon French’s garage. Mr. Wozniak was so inspired that he immediately set to work on his first commercial computer. After Wozniak built the Apple I and presented it at the Homebrew Computer Club, Wozniak and Jobs gave out technical signs (called schematics) for the computer to interested club members. The inventors even helped some of the members build and test out copies.
  • It was Steve Jobs who suggested that they design and sell a single etched and silkscreened circuit board—just the bare board, no electronic parts—that people could use to build the computers.
  • Steven Wozniak calculated that having the board design laid out would cost $1,000, and manufacturing would cost another $20 per board. Wozniak hoped to recoup his costs if 50 people bought the boards for $40 each. To fund this small venture, Steve Jobs sold his van and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator.
  • Steve Jobs arranged to sell “something like 100” built computers to the The Byte Shop, which was a computer store in Mountain View, California, at $500 each. To fulfill the $50,000 order, the Apple founders obtained $20,000 in parts at thirty days net and delivered the finished product in ten days.
  • The Apple I was sold through several small retailers, and included only the circuit board. A tape-interface was sold separately, but you had to build the case. The Apple I’s initial cost was $666.66 click here to see a print add for the Apple I.

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