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

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VisiCalc, the world's first
The world's first computer spreadsheet.
Photo: Steven Weyhrich/Apple2History

January 2: Today in Apple history: With VisiCalc, the Apple II gets its first killer app 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.

Publisher of longtime Apple II magazine passes away

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two Nibble magazine covers
Two Nibble covers, including the first edition, left.
Photo: Brian Wiser

Mike Harvey, well known to the Apple II community as the founder and publisher of Nibble magazine, passed away recently at his North Carolina home. He was 84.

His death was announced this morning by the Apple Puget Sound Program Library Exchange, an Apple user group that started in 1978.

Today in Apple history: Woz spends Christmas building Apple II disk drive

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Disk II pic
The Disk II was a massive success for Apple.
Photo: Wikipedia CC

December 25 Today in Apple history December 25, 1977: Steve Wozniak spends the holidays building a prototype of the Disk II, the Apple II’s revolutionary floppy disk drive.

“I worked all day, all night, through Christmas and New Year’s trying to get it done,” Wozniak recalls in his autobiography, iWoz. “[Early Apple employee] Randy Wiggington, who was actually attending Homestead High, the school Steve and I had graduated from, helped me a lot on that project.”

Wiggington takes December 25 off. Woz does not.

Apple II screenshots required a whole lot of extra hardware

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Running Apple II programs on a Mac with an Apple IIe Card was pretty darn awesome.
Kids today don't know how lucky they are.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

Taking a full-screen screenshot on a modern Mac or iPhone is just a matter of tapping a couple of buttons. But things used to be a whole lot more challenging, as longstanding Apple employee Chris Espinosa recently shared on Twitter.

Kids (and “how to” article writers) today don’t know how good they’ve got it!

Contraband Apple II computers still power old Soviet museum

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entrance to the Lenin Museum
The Apple II has been a faithful comrade to the Lenin Museum.
Photo: mvstang/Flickr CC

The Soviet Union may have collapsed. But Vladimir Lenin, the country’s first leader, lives on, thanks to an audiovisual show still running on a small network of Apple II computers at a museum outside Moscow.

The Apple II is as revered by geeks as Lenin is by nostalgic Communists. Both proved revolutionary. And while the carefully edited story of Lenin might seem interesting to museum-goers, the unvarnished tale of the vintage Apple tech is more compelling.

Stunning Apple II Kickstarter case gives you a new look at a classic machine

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Apple II transparent case Kickstarter 1
What a gorgeous Apple II case.
Photo: MacEffects/Kickstarter

The Apple II may be more than 40 years old, but Apple’s first mass market personal computer still has plenty of fans. Now those fans can get hold of a brand new injection-molded case for the iconic Steve Wozniak-designed computer. All thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign.

Boasting a transparent design, the case will let you get a closer look at this legendary computer than ever!

Today in Apple history: Happy birthday, Steve Wozniak!

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Steve Wozniak wax sculpture fake eyes
Apple's merry prankster celebrates another spin around the sun.
Photo: Madame Tussauds

August 11: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is born August 11, 1950: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is born. While Steve Jobs may be the most admired Apple figure, Woz might be the most well-loved by fans.

In addition to his most famous creation, the Apple II, Wozniak is also responsible for imbuing Apple’s products with his fun-loving personality.

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.