If you grew up in the 80’s one of your earliest video gaming memories was probably playing Oregon Trail on an old Apple II or Macintosh, but you haven’t experienced Oregon Trail until you’ve played it on a 27-inch Apple Cinema Display. In color.
When you’re one of the closest things the programming world has to a rock star, you might assume that — when the time comes to pass your godly coding powers onto the next generation — you’d hand your offspring a brand new iPad and a crash course in the likes of Swift: the insanely popular state-of-the-art iOS language unveiled at last year’s WWDC.
Try telling that to John Carmack! The legendary coder behind the smash hit games Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake (today working at Oculus VR) recently shared a picture of his young son’s home computer lessons. Carmack’s choice for suitable hardware and software? BASIC on the 1984-era Apple IIc.
Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak revolutionized the computer world with the invention of the Apple II, but back in 1977 when they created the unbelievably simple home PC, few people realized the enormous impact it would have on the “small computer field.”
Case in point, look at this article from the Homestead High School newspaper talking about its alumnus’ new company Apple Computers, in a ‘aww isn’t that cute, they sold 200 computers’ sort of way. The article above was published in the The Epitaph on May 20th, 1977, just a few weeks before the first Apple II units went on sale, and went on to become the first computer to sell 1 million units.
At the time of publication Apple had just moved out of the garage and into an office in Cupertino with eight total employees. One of Apple’s first employees, Chris Espinosa was still in high school at the time and was interviewed by the paper for the article on Jobs and Woz’s new company. Along with revealing that you used to be able to get Apple’s top software engineer to build you a custom app to do whatever you want, the high school junior presaged the idea of a Genius Bar, decades before the first Apple Store opened.
With today’s tech devices becoming obsolete so quickly, it’s easy to think older models are forgotten by their creators the moment a follow-up rolls off the factory floor.
While this may be true in some instances, it’s apparently not the case for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. In a recent email exchange with a vintage computer expert, Woz revealed that almost 40 years after the Apple II shipped he still agonizes about ways it could have been improved.