In the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, the author tells the story of the first Apple computer, the Apple I, created ostensibly for the Homebrew Computer Club. According the the account in the book, Steve Wozniak wanted to give it away for free to members of the club; Steve Jobs, however, had a different vision. When convinced to sell the computer, Wozniak chose the price of $666.66, one that reflected his taste for repeating numbers, not the number of the beast. This friday, that price will get a hefty upgrade.
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These days, Steve Jobs’s business acumen is legendary, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, when Steve first went on a fund-raising expedition to get money for the original Apple I in natal Silicon Valley, he was described as a secretive “joker” who couldn’t trust anyone and had a “flakey” partnership with Steve Wozniak.
While Apple computers today are famous for their svelte aluminum enclosures, the company’s first machine — born way back in 1976 — was made out of wood. In a bid to bring back that look, the iStation dock attempts turns your iPad 2 into the original Apple Computer.
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Christie’s of London just announced a special item for auction, an original Apple 1 computer shipped directly from Steve Jobs’ garage. Labeled system number 82, this kit includes the motherboard, cassette adapter, manuals, the original shipping box in good condition, and a signed letter from Steve Jobs to the original owner!
The Apple 1 was the first pre-assembled personal computer, it did not require soldering skills to get running. “This is the forerunner of the iPod, iPad and iPhone” said Julian Wilson from Christie’s, “it worked straight out of the box.”
Approximately 200 Apple 1 systems were produced, and about a quarter of those survive today. The Steves – ever the jokesters – originally priced the system at $666.66. In 2009 an Apple 1 was listed on eBay for $50,000. Christie’s estimates this one to sell for £150,000 ($240,000)! Not a bad return on your investment.
[via Daily Mail]
On October 3, a collector bought a rare Apple 1 on eBay for $18,000. The computer, one of about 50 thought to be still in existence, had an estimated value of $14,000 – $16,000.
Back in July 1976, the Apple I sold for $666.66; there were 200 of them hand made by Steve Wozniak. Sold in a kit, it came with 4KB standard memory, you could bump up to 8KB or 48KB with expansion cards. You had to add your own case, keyboard and display. (If you’d like to see one, check out the Smithsonian.)
The seller of this Apple 1, Monroe Postman, wasn’t even sure if it would still work.
So, who would pay $18,000 for an Apple I?
A self-defined “PC person,” who believes that today’s Macs are overpriced. The collector, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, may one day launch a computer museum.
And perhaps trade that PC for a modern Mac.
Interview by Leander Kahney.
CoM: Why did you buy it?
I have been collecting vintage computers for number of years. Obviously, original Apple I is a dream for any serious computer collector and for me, this dream came through.
I have 150+ vintage computers in my collection, which I try to maintain in working order. Occasionally, I take some to local middle and high schools to show to the students. I have an exact working Apple I replica, which is always a hit. Students love playing Lunar Lander.
CoM: What are you going to do with it?
One of those days, I am planning to open a real “museum” for public and the Apple I will take one of the central places.
CoM: What does your spouse/significant other think of it?
Even though my wife is in the computer business herself, she does not pay much attention to my hobby. Obviously, $18K raised her brow, but she understood it in the end.
More pics, full interview after the jump.
A man describing himself as an “82-year-old antique” is putting a relatively young 32-year-old Apple I for sale on eBay in the next few weeks.
One of 200 computers hand made by Steve Wozniak, somewhere between 30 and 50 are thought to be still around. (If you’re more interested in seeing one than buying one, the Smithsonian has an Apple I on display as it’s being presented to the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto).
Back in July 1976, the Apple I sold for $666.66. The computers, sold in a kit, came with 4KB standard memory, that you could bump up to 8KB or 48KB with expansion cards. You had to add your own case, keyboard and display.
Guesstimates say the computer could fetch between $14,000 and $16,000.
The seller wrote in to San Francisco Chronicle tech columnist David Einstein about how he might get publicity for the sale.
Einstein replied, “I don’t think your computer is valuable enough to spark much general media interest before you sell it.”
Alas, he underestimated the Cult of Mac. Mr. Antique, we want to hear from you!