One of the first things Steve Jobs did on his return to Apple was kill the Newton, the brick-sized messagepad that some blame for dragging the company towards bankruptcy. But John Sculley argues that the Newton actually prevented Apple from going out of business.
April 24, 2015: It’s time for the official release of the Apple Watch, the wearable device Apple CEO Tim Cook describes as the “next chapter in Apple history.”
Fans, having endured a seven-month wait since the device’s unveiling at a keynote the previous September, can finally strap an Apple Watch onto their wrists. Behind the scenes, however, the Apple Watch launch is a moment long in the making.
April 6, 1939: John Sculley is born in New York City. He will grow up to be hailed as a business and marketing genius, eventually overseeing Apple’s transformation into the most profitable personal computer company in the world.
After a remarkable stint as president of Pepsi-Cola, Sculley will take over as Apple’s third CEO in 1983. He runs Apple for a 10-year period, guiding the creation of the revolutionary Newton MessagePad. During Sculley’s decade at the helm, Apple sells more personal computers than any other company. But most people still remember him for his role in kicking Steve Jobs out of Cupertino.
Today marks 45 years since a little outfit called the Apple Computer Company was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Apple set out to build and sell personal computers. Since then, it’s risen from a hobbyist startup to a tech giant valued at more than $2 trillion.
In the last four and a half decades, Apple changed the tech world in all kinds of ways — some big, some small. Here, in no particular order, are 45 of the most notable ways Apple put a ding in the universe.
OS X, the most important piece of software in Apple history, turns 20 today.
Going on sale in its full, public version on March 24, 2001, Mac OS X 10.0 — code-named Cheetah, the first of many cat-themed names — transformed Apple’s operating system forever. It brought user interface enhancements that persist to this day, as well as technological advances that form the backbone of Apple’s current operating systems. In fact, OS X paved the way for today’s post-PC devices, from the iPhone and Apple Watch to HomePod and Apple TV.
While Apple eventually ditched the “OS X” branding for “macOS,” and switched from naming Mac software after big cats to California locations in 2013, Cheetah’s impact continues to be felt two decades after its introduction.
March 22, 1993: Apple launches the PowerCD, the first device from the company that doesn’t require a computer to work.
A portable CD player that also works as an external CD drive for Macs, it offers a glimpse of the extremely lucrative path Apple will follow a decade later. However, the PowerCD itself will ultimately fail in the marketplace.
March 8, 1997: Apple renames the forthcoming Mac OS 7.7 update, calling it “Mac OS 8.” It’s more than just a name change, though: It’s a sneaky sucker punch that ultimately knocks out Mac clones.
Unfortunately for Mac users, the updated operating system does not deliver the total top-to-bottom rewrite promised by Apple’s Project Copland. However, the renaming strategy turns out to be a brilliant (if underhanded) way of getting Apple out of terrible licensing deals.
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.
January 27, 2010: After months of rumors and speculation, Steve Jobs publicly shows off the iPad for the first time.
Aside from the name, which some people joke sounds like a female sanitary product, the iPad immediately earns critical acclaim. “The last time there was this much excitement over a tablet, it had some commandments written on it,” The Wall Street Journal quips.
When it goes on sale, the iPad quickly becomes Apple’s fastest-selling new product ever.