Mobile devices may now represent the overwhelming bulk of Apple’s enormous revenue, but there’s no underestimating just how significant the Apple II was when it arrived — not just for Apple’s bottom line, but for personal computers as a whole.
First shipping on June 10, 1977, the Apple II came with 4KB of RAM (upgradeable to a whopping 48KB) and a not-insignificant price tag of $1,298: the equivalent of two MacBook Pros today.
Happy birthday, Apple II!
Although Apple had already debuted the Apple I, the Apple II was Apple’s first true mass-market computer, shipping with a keyboard, BASIC compatibility and, most notable of all, color graphics. On top of this, it had great peripherals like the Disk II 51/4-inch floppy drive, and superb software ranging from games to productivity tools like VisiCalc.
It may not have turned Apple into a billion dollar giant overnight, but the Apple II had a big impact on Apple’s finances: helping Apple bring in $770,000 in revenue the year it debuted, $7.9 million the year after that, and a whopping $49 million the year after that.
The Apple II line also introduced some major players to the world of high tech, including Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and John Carmack, the legendary coder behind the smash hit games Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake.
Simply put, without the Apple II the tech world looks very, very different indeed.