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

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

June 5 Today in Apple historyJune 5, 1977: The first Apple II, the personal computer that puts Apple on the map, goes on sale.

Having previously been shown off to a few thousand rabid fans at the West Coast Computer Faire, the Apple II’s arrival means the masses can finally get their hands on the 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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Disk II pic
The Disk II floppy drive was anything but a flop for Apple.
Photo: Wikipedia CC

June 1: Today in Apple history: Apple II gets a disk drive, the Disk II floppy drive June 1, 1978: Apple launches the Disk II floppy drive, one of the company’s most important peripherals ever.

The best floppy drive available at the time, Disk II solves the Apple II’s most glaring weakness — a lack of storage. It also helps establish Apple’s flair for handsome profit margins.

Glitchy Apple II screens inspire this artist’s work

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Melissa Barron
A screen glitch, frustrating to most, is beautiful to weaver Melissa Barron.
Photo: Melissa Barron

The Apple II and the iconic game The Oregon Trail launched countless computer science careers – and are twin muses for weaver Melissa Barron.

The Chicago artist appreciates the similarities in a line of code and a strand of yarn as she brings analog texture to computer screens, especially the helter-skelter appearance of glitches.

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

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

April 17: Today in Apple history: Apple II debuts at West Coast Computer Faire with color graphics April 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). It also packs a keyboard, BASIC compatibility and, most importantly, color graphics.

Fueled by some marketing savvy from Steve Jobs, the Apple II makes quite a splash at the San Francisco Bay Area’s first personal computer convention.

How to collect vintage Macs and other computers for fun (and maybe profit)

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Once you start collecting computers, it's hard to stop!
Once you start collecting computers, it's hard to stop!
Photo: David Greelish

Some people only care about the latest technology. For others, collecting the significant computers of the past — whether it’s an iconic first-gen Macintosh or iPhone, or failures like Apple’s short-lived Pippin games console — is fun in its own right.

If you fall in to this second group, you’ll love these five computer collecting tips to get the most out of your hobby. They will help you turn your passion for vintage Macs into an eye-catching computer collection.

Today in Apple history: Microsoft’s first hardware debuts … on the Apple II

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SoftCard
Microsoft's original ad for the SoftCard.
Photo: Microsoft

April 2: Today in Apple history: Microsoft Z80 SoftCard, the company's first hardware, debuts on Apple II April 2, 1979: Microsoft releases its first hardware product, a microprocessor card that plugs into the Apple II computer.

Coming several years before the first version of Windows, the Z80 SoftCard becomes a big hit for Microsoft. It lets the Apple II run programs designed for the CP/M operating system, a popular OS for business software.

How an Apple II gave Stephen Hawking his voice

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Hawking
Technology helped Professor Hawking share his astonishing work with the world.
Photo: Pete Souza/Wikipedia CC

Earlier today, Tim Cook posted a tribute to the late professor Stephen Hawking, who passed away on March 14, aged 76. “We will always be inspired by his life and ideas. RIP,” Cook wrote.

As one of the world’s most visionary physicists and popular science writers, it’s no surprise to hear that Hawking inspired folks at Apple — just as he did people all around the planet.

But Apple and Hawking share an interesting connection: It was an Apple machine that first gave him the ability to verbally communicate using a computer.

Today in Apple history: New card runs Apple II software on Macs

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Running Apple II programs on a Mac with an Apple IIe Card was pretty darn awesome.
Running Apple II programs on your Mac was pretty darn awesome.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

March 1: Today in Apple history: Apple IIe Card lets users run Apple II software on Macs 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. While not quite the equivalent of Apple letting you run iOS on a Mac today, it’s not a world away.

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple

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Steve Wozniak wax sculpture fake eyes
Woz was upset at the lack of respect shown to the Apple II division.
Photo: Madame Tussauds

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 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 a new company.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac

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Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K in an original Mac ad.
Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K.
Photo: Apple

January 24: Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first MacJanuary 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.