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Today in Apple history: Too little, too late for Apple III

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Apple relaunched the ill-fated Apple III, hoping to fix the computer's big problems.
Apple relaunched its ill-fated Apple III, hoping to address its earlier problems.
Photo: Alker33/YouTube

December 1: Today in Apple history: Apple III relaunch December 1, 1981: After the disastrous rollout of the “next-gen” Apple III the previous year, Apple corrects the computer’s most glaring hardware faults and relaunches it.

Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. Apple experiences its first “flop” product with the Apple II‘s doomed successor.

Today in Apple History: Bill Gates hails Mac as the future of computing

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Bill Gates
Bill Gates offered high praise for the Mac in 1984.
Image: Fulvio Obregon

November 26: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates praises Macintosh November 26, 1984: “The next generation of interesting software will be done on the Macintosh, not the IBM PC,” claims Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in a BusinessWeek cover story.

The claim would seem almost unthinkable coming out of Gates’ mouth just a few years later. But it lands at a time when Microsoft is best known as one of the biggest Mac developers.

Today in Apple history: Microsoft reveals its plans for Windows 1.0

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This is how Windows 1.0 looked when it shipped.
This is how Windows 1.0 looked when it shipped.
Screenshot: Microsoft

November 10: Today in Apple history: Microsoft Windows 1.0 November 10, 1983: Microsoft tells the world about an upcoming product called Windows that will bring the graphical user interface to IBM PCs. Although Microsoft’s announcement about the new operating system comes before Apple launches the Mac in 1984, Windows 1.0 won’t actually ship until November 1985, earning it a reputation as “vaporware.”

At the time, Apple doesn’t view Windows as much of a threat. That doesn’t take long to change, however.

Today in Apple history: World gets a chance to test-drive a Mac

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Apple's innovative
Apple's innovative "Test Drive a Macintosh" ad campaign urged potential customers to take a Mac for a spin.
Photo: Apple

November 8: Today in Apple history: Test-drive a Mac November 8, 1984: When initial Mac sales prove disappointing, Apple CEO John Sculley dreams up the “Test Drive a Macintosh” campaign to encourage people to give the revolutionary new computer a chance.

The promotional strategy advises people in possession of a credit card to drop into their local retailer and “borrow” a Macintosh for 24 hours. The idea is that, by the time potential customers need to return the Mac, they will have built up a bond with it and realized they can’t live without one.

While 200,000 would-be Apple customers take advantage of the offer, Apple dealers absolutely hate it.

Today in Apple history: The world prepares for the NeXT Computer

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People couldn't wait to discover Steve Jobs' next move at NeXT Computer.
People couldn't wait to discover Steve Jobs' next move.
Image: Newsweek

October 24 Today in Apple history: World prepares for the NeXT Computer October 24, 1988: Three years after leaving Apple, Steve Jobs prepares to launch the NeXT Computer, a machine he hopes will cement his reputation as a tech genius and blow away the machines produced by Cupertino.

The new NeXT Computer receives a wave of positive publicity. Fawning stories show exactly what the 33-year-old Jobs has been working on — and what’s coming next.

Today in Apple history: Apple lays out its core company values

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Cupertino sums up
Cupertino sums up "Apple Values" in an exuberant document.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Sep 23 Today in Apple history: Cupertino lays out its core Apple Values September 23, 1981: Years before Steve Jobs would tell us to “think different” and Tim Cook would say Apple should act as a “force for good,” Cupertino lays out what it calls its “Apple Values.”

Despite being written more than four decades ago, the values Apple viewed as crucial to its brand remain relevant today. They demonstrate that Apple always has been a company that’s about more than just selling computers.

Today in Apple history: The first portable Macintosh arrives

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The Macintosh Portable presaged Apple's move into mobile
The Macintosh Portable offered a (really heavy) glimpse of the future.
Photo: Macworld

September 20: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Portable, the first battery-powered Mac, arrives September 20, 1989: Apple releases the Macintosh Portable, the first battery-powered Mac you could take on the road.

At a time when Tim Burton’s Batman is flying high in theaters, and Madonna is shocking audiences at the MTV Video Music Awards, this ahead-of-its-time product lays the groundwork for Apple’s looming laptop revolution.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs leaves and rejoins Apple

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Steve Jobs before and after, with maybe a little judgement about water sales.
Two significant days in Jobs' career took place on this day.
Photo: Fulvio Obregon

September 16: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs leaves and rejoins Apple September 16, 1985 and 1997: Twice on this day, Steve Jobs makes significant moves with regard to his career at Apple. In 1985, he quits the company he co-founded. Then, a little more than a decade later, he officially rejoins Apple as its new interim CEO.

In terms of the emotions associated with those historic occasions, it’s hard to think of two more polarizing days in Jobs’ life.

Today in Apple history: One of Apple’s earliest rivals bites the dust

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The Osborne 1 portable computer proved ahead of its time.
Remember the Osborne 1 computer?
Photo: Tomislav Medak/Flickr CC

September 13: Today in Apple history: Osborne Computer Corporation, one of Apple's earliest rivals, bites the dust September 13, 1983: Osborne Computer Corporation, one of Apple’s early rivals, declares bankruptcy.

Many consider the company’s Osborne 1 the world’s first truly portable, full-featured computer. It packed everything users needed to set up shop at home or on the road. Alas, it didn’t last!