Today in Apple history: Massive layoffs clear out Apple’s ‘bozo explosion’

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This was one of the worst (and one of the most significant) days in Apple history.
Photo: Bonhams

February 25 Today in Apple history: Apple layoffs: Black Wednesday clears out the 'bozo explosion' February 25, 1981: Apple CEO Michael Scott oversees a mass firing of employees, then holds a massive party. The Apple layoffs follow a hiring boom that led to what Scott called a “bozo explosion” at the company. They also stand as an early sign that the fun startup culture of Apple’s early days are gone forever.

“I used to say that when being CEO at Apple wasn’t fun anymore, I’d quit,” he tells a crowd of Apple staffers. “But now I’ve changed my mind — when being CEO isn’t fun anymore, I’ll just fire people until it is fun again.”

For many people at Apple, the day is the worst in company history.

Today in Apple history: Happy birthday, Steve Jobs!

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Steve Jobs-inspired art
Steve Jobs was born on this day in 1955.
Photo: Jason Mercier

February 24: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs birthday February 24, 1955: Steve Jobs is born in San Francisco. He will go on to co-found Apple and become one of the most important figures in the history of consumer technology. He’s also probably a big part of why you’re reading this website right now.

Happy birthday, Steve! Let’s take a moment to reflect on your innovation, artistry and overall brilliance.

Today in Apple history: iTunes hits 10 billion downloads

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With iTunes 10 billion downloads milestone, Apple becomes the world's biggest music vendor.
Apple becomes the world's biggest music vendor.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 23: Today in Apple history: iTunes hits 10 billion downloads February 23, 2010: The iTunes Store officially passes the 10 billion music downloads mark, reaching a major milestone. The 10 billionth purchase? “Guess Things Happen That Way” by Johnny Cash.

The buyer of the song in question is Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia. As part of a “Countdown to 10 Billion Songs” promotion by Apple, Sulcer wins a massive $10,000 iTunes Store gift card — and receives a personal phone call from Steve Jobs for good measure!

Today in Apple history: Hippie-themed iMacs fuel Cupertino flashback

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The Flower Power iMac G3 and Blue Dalmatian iMac G3 were two of the wackier Macs in history.
These were two of the wackier Macs ever.
Photo: Apple

February 22: Today in Apple history: Hippie-themed Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMacs fuel Cupertino flashback February 22, 2001: The iMac Special Edition, sporting wild designs that would make a hippie happy, puts a wacky face on the computer that saved Apple’s bacon at the turn of the century. The Flower Power iMac and Blue Dalmatian iMac evoke tie-dye shirts or other unconventional ’60s-era imagery.

A far cry from the super-serious, aluminum-heavy industrial design that will come to define Apple in coming years, these colorfully patterned iMacs stand out as some of the most irreverent computers Cupertino ever dreamed up. (C’mon, when was a real Dalmatian blue?)

Under the consciously tacky exteriors, a pretty darn great iMac G3 hums along.

Today in Apple history: Apple and Cisco settle over ‘iPhone’ name

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The InfoGear iPhone was definitely a bit ... different from current models.
The first iPhone was definitely a bit ... different from current models.
Photo: Bob Ackerman/Wikipedia CC

February 21: Today in Apple history: Apple and Cisco settle over 'iPhone' name February 21, 2007: Apple comes to an agreement with Cisco over the iPhone trademark, which Cisco legally owns but Apple wants to use.

Under the agreement, both companies get to use the iPhone trademark on products throughout the world. The two businesses also dismiss outstanding lawsuits against one another, and agree to “explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications.”

It’s a classic bit of Steve Jobs steamrolling the opposition.

Today in Apple history: iPod mini is ‘world’s smallest music player’

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iPod mini launch lineup in 2004: Five small music players in five different colors (silver, gold, pink, blue, and green).
The iPod mini quickly became a big hit for Apple.
Photo: Apple

February 20: Today in Apple history: iPod mini launch shows off 'world's smallest music player' February 20, 2004: Music goes small as the iPod mini launch brings the reimagined digital audio player to Apple stores.

Released with 4GB of storage and in five colors, the diminutive device features a new “click wheel” that integrates control buttons into a solid-state, touch-sensitive scroll wheel. It also showcases Cupertino’s growing fascination with aluminum, which will become a hallmark of Apple design.

Despite its small size, the new music player’s market potential looms large. In fact, the iPod mini soon becomes Apple’s fastest-selling music player yet.

Today in Apple history: Photoshop debuts as a Mac exclusive

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Adobe Systems' Photoshop launch changed the game for image editing.
Photoshop changed the game for image editing.
Photo: Adobe Systems

February 19 Today in Apple history: Photoshop debuts as a Mac exclusive February 19, 1990: Adobe ships the first commercial version of its soon-to-be-iconic Photoshop photo editing software. The Photoshop launch, exclusively on the Macintosh, gives users new powerful tools for tweaking digital photographs.

The groundbreaking software debuts for Mac System 6.0.3. Priced at $895, Photoshop will quickly become the standard editing tool for graphics professionals. Whether they work for advertising agencies, news organizations — or, frankly, anywhere else — Photoshop users take advantage of the program’s digital darkroom tools to seamlessly manipulate images.

Photography will never be the same.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs says Apple is finally debt-free

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Apple is worth more than the entire US energy sector combined
This was a significant moment in Apple's turnaround.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 18: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs says Apple is finally debt-free February 18, 2004: Steve Jobs sends an internal memo to Apple employees revealing that the company is, for the first time in years, totally debt-free.

“Today is a historic day of sorts for our company,” he writes. This marks a big turnaround from the bad old days of the 1990s, when Apple carried more than $1 billion in debt — and faced the danger of bankruptcy.

Today in Apple history: Apple introduces ‘world’s fastest’ PowerBook

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The PowerBook 3400 certainly lived up to its name.
The PowerBook 3400 certainly lived up to its name.
Photo: Apple

February 17: Today in Apple history: Apple introduces 'world's fastest' PowerBook February 17, 1997: Apple launches the PowerBook 3400, a laptop the company claims is the fastest portable computer in the world.

After a rough few years for the PowerBook, this model throws down the gauntlet to rivals. It packs a PowerPC 603e processor capable of running at speeds up to 240MHz. While speedier Apple laptops will quickly overtake the PowerBook 3400, at the time it can keep up with some impressive desktop Macs.

Today in Apple history: Pismo PowerBook is a multimedia powerhouse

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Apple Pismo PowerBook raised the bar for laptops.
The "Pismo" PowerBook was a brilliant early Steve Jobs-era laptop.
Photo: CG Hughes/Flickr CC

February 16: Today in Apple history: Apple introduces the February 16, 2000: Apple introduces the “Pismo” PowerBook, the finest of its G3 laptops. In the view of many, it’s one of the best Apple laptops ever.

The Pismo PowerBook is the first not to include SCSI or an Apple Desktop Bus connector. Instead, it utilizes USB and Apple’s Emmy Award-winning FireWire. Optional AirPort wireless support, tremendous battery life and a gorgeous, curvy design just make it better.

Today in Apple history: A young Steve Jobs appears on Time cover

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With Steve Jobs first Time magazine cover, he becomes the face of the 1980s tech boom.
Steve Jobs becomes the face of the 1980s tech boom.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 15: Today in Apple history: Young Steve Jobs appears on Time magazine cover February 15, 1982: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs appears on the front cover of Time magazine for the first time. The lengthy cover story makes Jobs the public face of successful tech entrepreneurship.

The first of many Time covers for Jobs, the article — titled “Striking It Rich: America’s Risk Takers” — casts him as the prototypical young upstart benefiting from the burgeoning personal computing revolution. It also identifies him as part of a surge of freshly minted millionaires running their own businesses.

Today in Apple history: Intel and Microsoft face lawsuit for stealing Apple code

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Apple vs. Microsoft was one of the big tech battles of the 1990s.
Apple vs. Microsoft was one of the biggest tech battles of the 1990s.
Photo: Brian Turner/Flickr CC/Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 14: Today in Apple history: Intel and Microsoft face lawsuit for stealing Apple code February 14, 1995: Apple Computer extends a lawsuit against developer San Francisco Canyon Company to include Microsoft and Intel. The lawsuit concerns allegedly stolen Apple code that’s used to improve Microsoft’s Video for Windows technology.

The lawsuit comes to a head with Apple threatening a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Microsoft. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates threatens to cancel Office for Mac.

Today in Apple history: Mac mania sweeps magazine racks

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The Macintosh? It'll never catch on!
The Macintosh? It'll never catch on!
Image: Cult of Mac/Ste Smith

February 13: Today in Apple history: Mac mania sweeps magazine racks February 13, 1984: The original Mac’s launch generates enormous excitement from the tech press, as epitomized by an InfoWorld cover story about the Macintosh 128K.

The wave of coverage comes a few weeks after the January 24 release of the Macintosh. But when the press blitz finally arrives, it becomes clear the Mac looks like a hit.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs wins posthumous Grammy

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Cue
Steve Jobs' death caused an outpouring of support.
Photo: Grammys

February 12: Today in Apple history February 12, 2012: Months after his untimely death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is honored with a Special Merit Grammy Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, collects the Grammy on behalf of Jobs’ family and “everyone at Apple.”

Today in Apple history: iPad fails to impress Bill Gates

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Bill Gates Fox News
Bill Gates definitely doesn't wish Microsoft invented the iPad.
Photo: Fox News

February 11: Today in Apple history: iPad fails to impress Bill Gates February 11, 2010: With iPad excitement reaching a fever pitch, Steve Jobs’ old frenemy Bill Gates wades in with his own opinion of Apple’s tablet.

The Microsoft co-founder’s view? The upcoming device is kinda meh.

“There’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it,'” Gates tells one interviewer.

Today in Apple history: Mac Color Classic ditches monochrome

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The Macintosh Color Classic is the Mac everybody had been waiting for.
The Macintosh Color Classic was the Mac the world had been waiting for.
Photo: Chung Chu/Flickr CC

February 10: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Color Classic ditches monochrome February 10, 1993: Apple launches the Macintosh Color Classic, the company’s first compact Mac with a color screen.

As the first all-in-one Mac with an integrated color display, and the last U.S. Mac to offer the compact form factor, this model represents a landmark in the evolution of the Macintosh. A Color Classic unit also happens to become the 10 millionth Macintosh that Apple shipped.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs’ NeXT quits making computers

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NeXT Cube
The NeXT Computer was great but it didn't sell.
Photo: Rama & Musée Bolo/Wikipedia CC

February 9: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs' NeXT quits making computers February 9, 1993: NeXT Inc., the company Steve Jobs founded after being pushed out of Apple, quits making computers. The company changes its name to NeXT Software and focuses its efforts entirely on producing code for other platforms.

In a mass layoff, 330 of NeXT’s 500 employees are made redundant in an event known internally as “Black Tuesday.” Cruelly, many people hear of their fate on the radio.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs flips out over iPad tweet

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The first-gen iPad in all its glory.
Steve Jobs did not like losing control of the iPad narrative.
Photo: Apple

February 8: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs flips out over iPad tweet February 8, 2010: Steve Jobs reportedly flips out over a tweet sent from an iPad by an editor at The Wall Street Journal.

The reason? Apple showed the iPad to top staffers at the news outlet months ahead of its official release. While Jobs already had unveiled the device to the public a couple of weeks before, the suggestion that people outside Apple gained early access to the tablet was apparently enough to upset the CEO.

The tweet quickly disappeared.

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak survives a plane crash

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The Woz tells it like it is.
A plane crash marked the beginning of a leave of absence for Woz.
Photo: Universal Pictures

February 7: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak survives a plane crash February 7, 1981: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is involved in a serious plane crash in California, resulting in his first lengthy leave of absence from the company.

At the time, Wozniak is flying a turbocharged, single-engine, six-seat Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC. In the plane with Woz is his fiancé, Candi Clark, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend. Fortunately, nobody dies in the crash, although Woz suffers minor head injuries.

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple

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A lack of respect for the Apple II leads to Steve Wozniak's departure from the company he founded.
A lack of respect for the Apple II leads to Steve Wozniak's departure from the company he founded.
Photo: Anirudh Koul/Flickr CC

February 6: Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple February 6, 1985: Frustrated by Apple’s shifting priorities, co-founder Steve Wozniak leaves the company to pursue outside interests.

His departure — which comes the same year that Steve Jobs leaves Apple to form NeXT — represents yet another big change for the company. The move mostly stems from Woz’s dissatisfaction with how management treated the Apple II division. However, his desire to start a new company also plays a role.

Today in Apple history: Original iPhone goes large with 16GB of storage

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The original iPhone
The O.G. iPhone was a thing of beauty.
Photo: Traci Dauphin/Cult of Mac

February 5: Today in Apple history: Original iPhone goes large with 16GB of storage February 5, 2008: Six months after the first-gen iPhone goes on sale, Apple releases a new version with a whopping 16GB of storage.

For some users, there’s never enough memory,” says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod and iPhone product marketing, in a statement. “Now people can enjoy even more of their music, photos and videos on the most revolutionary mobile phone and best Wi-Fi mobile device in the world.”

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs considers buying Yahoo

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Yahoo
Apple could have teamed up with Disney to make an offer.
Photo: Yahoo

February 4 Today in Apple historyFebruary 4, 2008: Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly considers buying the search engine Yahoo. Apple is one of several interested companies, following reports that Microsoft offered $44.6 billion for the web portal the previous week.

Nothing ultimately comes of it, but Apple’s interest is later confirmed in an authorized biography of Jobs.

Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to Verizon at last

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Four years of AT&T exclusivity on iPhone finally comes to an end.
Four years of AT&T exclusivity on iPhone finally comes to an end.
Photo: Jon Fingas/Flickr CC

February 3: Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to Verizon at last February 3, 2011: The iPhone finally arrives on Verizon Wireless, the United States’ largest carrier, ending nearly four years of exclusivity with AT&T.

The move comes as Apple faces pressure to expand its customer base as Android phones grow in popularity. The deal commences with the iPhone 4 available for preorder by Verizon’s 93 million customers.

Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as CEO

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Many viewed new CEO Gil Amelio as the man to save Apple.
Photo: Apple

February 2: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as Apple CEO February 2, 1996: Apple reveals that turnaround artist Gil Amelio will take over from Michael “The Diesel” Spindler as CEO of the struggling company.

With disappointing Mac sales, the disastrous “clone Mac” strategy and a failed Sun Microsystems merger to his name, Spindler is asked to resign by the Apple board. Then Cupertino enlists supposed corporate miracle worker Amelio for the job.

Unfortunately, he turns out to be no better than Spindler.

Today in Apple history: Stephen Colbert shows off iPad early at Grammys

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Stephen Colbert shows off a prerelease iPad during the Grammy Awards show.
Jay-Z didn't get one of these in his gift bag.
Photo: Grammys

February 1: Today in Apple history: Stephen Colbert shows off iPad early at the Grammys February 1, 2010: The tech-loving world goes into meltdown at the sight of comedian Stephen Colbert using a prerelease iPad to read nominations during the Grammy Awards show.

“Jay-Z, did you not get one of these in your gift bag?” Colbert quips from the stage. “Am I cooler than you?”

The celebrity sneak peek is all part of Apple’s big (and wildly successful) plan to hype its upcoming tablet.