Today in Apple history: The revolutionary Apple II goes on sale

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Did you own an original Apple II?
Photo: Computer History Museum

June 5, 1977: The first Apple II, the personal computer which puts Apple on the map, goes on sale.

Having previously been shown off to a few thousands rapid fans at April’s West Coast Computer Faire, the Apple II’s arrival in the marketplace lets the masses get their hands on Apple’s breakthrough machine.  A base unit costs $1,298 — the equivalent of $5,237 in 2017 money.

Today in Apple history: Apple II gets its first disk drive

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Do you remember the Disk II drive?
Photo: Wikipedia CC

jun1June 1, 1978: The Disk II floppy drive, one of Apple’s most important peripherals in history, is launched.

Solving the Apple II’s most glaring weakness (a lack of storage) with the best floppy drive available on the market, the Disk II also helps establish Apple’s flare of handsome profit margins: a trend which continues through the present day.

Today in Apple history: Apple II brings color computing to the masses

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The Apple II was groundbreaking for its day.
Photo: Computer History Museum

April17April 17, 1977: The Apple II debuts at the West Coast Computer Faire, positioning Apple at the forefront of the looming personal computer revolution.

The company’s first mass-market computer, the Apple II boasts an attractively machined case designed by Jerry Manock (who will later design the first Macintosh), plus a keyboard, BASIC compatibility and color graphics. With some marketing savvy from Steve Jobs, its makes quite a splash at the San Francisco Bay Area’s first personal computer convention.

Archivist seeks to preserve every Apple II program ever created

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Software swaps and hardware hacks at the 2016 KansasFest.
Software swaps and hardware hacks at the 2016 KansasFest.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Jason Scott is an archivist and the enthusiasm for what he curates is the kind ascribed to 15th-century manuscripts or Jamestown colony artifacts – not software on obsolete floppy disks written for a 40-year-old computer system.

Scott is out to collect any original or copied software disks for the Apple II as if a language is in danger of dying with the people who speak it or possess some record of its existence.

Today in Apple history: Card lets users run Apple II software on Macs

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Running Apple II programs on your Mac was pretty darn awesome.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

March1 March 1, 1991: Apple introduces the Apple IIe Card, a $199 peripheral that lets users turn Macs into fully functioning Apple IIe computers.

The ability to emulate the popular Apple IIe computer on a Mac brings Apple’s two operating systems side by side for the first time. It’s not quite the equivalent of Apple letting you run iOS on a Mac today, but it’s not a world away, either.

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple

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Woz was upset at the lack of respect shown to the Apple II division.
Photo: Madame Tussauds

Nov6 February 9, 1985: Frustrated by Apple’s shifting priorities, co-founder Steve Wozniak leaves the company to pursue outside interests.

His departure from Apple — which comes the same year that Steve Jobs leaves to form NeXT — represents a big change for the company. It is brought about by Woz’s dissatisfaction at how the Apple II division is treated, and his desire to start up a new company.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships its first Mac

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Do you remember the first-gen Macintosh?
Photo: Apple

Jan25January 24, 1984: Apple ships its first Mac, the mighty Macintosh 128K.

Bringing a mouse and graphical user interface to the masses, and heralded by an acclaimed Super Bowl commercial that’s still talked about today, the first-gen Mac will quickly become one of the most important personal computers ever released.

Today in Apple history: Remember Franklin’s Apple II clone?

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The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
Photo: Bugbookmuseum

Jan18January 18, 1983: Computer manufacturer Franklin Electronic Publishers announces its Franklin Ace 1200 computer, one of several Apple II clones the company made.

Franklin’s line of unauthorized Apple clones (unlike the later official clone Macs in the 1990s) becomes the center of an important legal battle, in which a U.S. court decides whether or not a company can protect its operating system by copyright.

Today in Apple history: Apple II gets its ‘killer app’

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VisiCalc, the world's first
The world's first computer spreadsheet.
Photo: VisiCalc

January 2, 1979: Entrepreneurs Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston incorporate their company Software Arts to publish a little program called VisiCalc.

The first spreadsheet for the Apple II, the $100 VisiCalc becomes personal computing’s first “killer app” and helps transform personal computers from “cool to have” toy into “must have” business accessory.

Today in Apple history: The final Apple II model arrives

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The sixth and final model in the Apple II series of computers.
Photo: TanRu Nomad

Sep15September 15, 1988: Apple releases the Apple IIc Plus, the sixth and final model in the Apple II series of computers. It’s a great machine, with impressive capabilities, but suffers from poor marketing and support.

With the Mac around, Cupertino simply doesn’t seem interested in the Apple computer anymore.