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.

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 launch makes quite a splash at the San Francisco Bay Area’s first personal computer convention.

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

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SoftCard
The original ad for the Z80 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.

Meet Jerry Manock, the father of Apple’s Industrial Design Group

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Apple’s first proper industrial designer, Jerry Manock crafted the look of the Macintosh and other memorable computers.
Apple’s first proper industrial designer, Jerry Manock crafted the look of the Macintosh and other memorable computers.
Photo courtesy Jerry Manock

Jerry Manock is one of the great unsung heroes of Apple design. As the father of Apple’s Industrial Design Group, Manock made an indelible contribution to the company’s long line of hit products.

He may not be a household name like Jony Ive, but, starting with the Apple II, Manock played a massive role in making the company what it is today. In an exclusive interview with Cult of Mac, the 76-year-old industrial designer recounts many colorful stories about Cupertino’s past — including one that shows even Steve Jobs got nostalgic.

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 Mac 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.

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.