June 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.
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 launch makes quite a splash at the San Francisco Bay Area’s first personal computer convention.
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.
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.
January 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.
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.” It helps transform personal computers from “cool to have” toys into “must have” business accessories.