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.

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.

Today in Apple history: The Byte Shop, Apple’s first retailer, opens

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Paul Terrell founded The Byte Shop on his birthday.
Paul Terrell founded The Byte Shop on his birthday.
Photo: NextShark/Paul Terrell

December 8: Today in Apple history: Early computer store The Byte Shop, Apple's first retailer, opens December 8, 1975: San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur Paul Terrell opens The Byte Shop, one of the world’s first computer stores and the first to sell an Apple computer.

Years before Apple would open its own retail outlets, the Byte Shop stocks the first 50 Apple-1 computers built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin clash over the Mac

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Apple Mac
The war over the Macintosh's soul started on this day in 1979.
Photo: Apple

September 27: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin clash over the Mac September 27, 1979: Years before the Macintosh will ship, Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin clash for the first time over the direction of the Macintosh R&D project.

Raskin, the founder of the Macintosh project, wants a computer that’s going to be affordable to everyone. Jobs wants a computer that’s going to be the best, regardless of price.

Guess who won?

Today in Apple history: World’s first Apple killer goes on sale

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Radioshack_TRS80-IMG_7206
The TRS-80 was Apple's first big rival in the marketplace.
Photo: Rama & Musée Bolo/Wikipedia CC

Aug 3August 3, 1977: The first affordable, mass-market personal computer makes its debut… and, contrary to what you might think, it’s not the Apple II.

Although Tandy’s TRS-80 arrived the year after the Apple I and a few months after the Apple II, it proved to be the first “Apple killer” on the market: pre-dating later rivals like IBM as Apple’s first big tech industry opponent. And, for the longest time, it seemed to be on course to win…

Today in Apple history: Apple ships its first OS

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apple_ii
Remember the days of green text on black backgrounds?
Photo: Ste Smith/Matthew Pearce

July 20 July 20, 1978: Apple DOS makes its debut on the Apple II, giving Apple its first official operating system.

A command line interface with green text prompts on a black background, Apple DOS looks incredibly primitive next to today’s graphical user interfaces. Nonetheless, for Apple users this was the macOS Sierra of its day.

Today in Apple history: Apple’s first ever computer goes on sale

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apple-1-dec-2014-auction
One of today's surviving Apple 1 computers.
Photo: Christie's

Friday 1 July 1, 1976: The Apple 1 goes on sale, becoming the first computer ever sold by the Apple Computer Company.

Arriving the same month Jimmy Carter was nominated for U.S. president, Family Feud debuted on TV, and the United States celebrated the 200th anniversary of its Declaration of Independence, the Apple 1 is only produced in small numbers, and sells for the unusual price of $666.66.