Today in Apple history: Steve Ballmer freaks out and stomps an iPhone

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Ballmer
Turns out using an iPhone at a Microsoft event is a bad idea.
Photo: Off2riorob/Wikipedia CC

September 11: Today in Apple history: Steve Ballmer freaks out and stomps an iPhone September 11, 2009: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly snatches an iPhone from a Microsoft employee during a meeting and pretends to destroy it.

This isn’t the first time Ballmer behaves in a wacky way and incurs negative publicity as a result. However, it’s an embarrassing moment for a man who ranks among the world’s most powerful people.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs returns following liver transplant

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Why Salesforce chief gave up AppStore.com for Apple
September 9 marked the start of Steve Jobs' final run at Apple.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

September 9: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs returns to Apple following liver transplant September 9, 2009: Steve Jobs makes his public return to Apple after successful liver-transplant surgery.

Appearing onstage at Apple’s fall event, Jobs receives a standing ovation that lasts almost a minute. He then opens the keynote on an unusually personal note by discussing his health.

Today in Apple history: iTunes Store hits 10 million music downloads

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Avril Lavigne's
Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" becomes the 10 millionth iTunes song download.
Photo: Avril Lavigne

August 8: Today in Apple history: iTunes Store hits 10 million music downloads September 8, 2003: Apple reveals that it has sold its 10 millionth iTunes song download. The tune in question? Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated.”

Come to think of it, “You fall and you crawl and you break and you take what you get and you turn it into [success]” describes Apple pretty well in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs unveils Rokr E1, the first iTunes phone

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The Rokr E1 was the first Apple-sanctioned cellphone. It wasn't good.
The iPhone's terrible ancestor proved disastrous from Day 1.
Photo: Apple

September 7: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs unveils Rokr E1, the first iTunes phone September 7, 2005: Apple and Motorola launch the Rokr E1, the first Cupertino-sanctioned cellphone to run iTunes.

Steve Jobs is very unhappy with the results. The compromised device shows what an error it is to let an outside designer create a phone under the Apple banner. The company won’t make the same mistake twice.

Today in Apple history: $200 iPhone discount fuels fan backlash

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First gen iPhone
The iPhone won plaudits. Its price reduction? Not so much.
Photo: Traci Dauphin/Cult of Mac

September 5: Today in Apple history: $200 iPhone price cut incurs fan backlash September 5, 2007: Just months after the first iPhone went on sale, Apple ditches its bottom-tier 4GB model and cuts the price of the 8GB version by $200.

A rare misstep (considering Apple’s usual mastery of the press), this tone-deaf PR move backfires immediately. Early adopters rage about shelling out premium prices for their first-generation iPhones. Fortunately, Apple makes good.

Today in Apple history: iMac G5 takes a page out of the iPod’s playbook

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The iMac G5 looked like the world's biggest iPod.
The iMac G5 looked like the world's biggest iPod.
Photo: Matthew Pearce/Flickr CC

August 31: Today in Apple history: iMac G5 takes a page out of the iPod's playbook August 31, 2004: Apple launches the iMac G5, a distinctive, white plastic computer that looks a little like the world’s biggest iPod.

Housed in a 2-inch-thick enclosure reminiscent of Apple’s Cinema Displays, the new all-in-one machine bridges the gap between the pleasing plasticity of the iconic G3 iMac and the minimalist form factor of today’s ultra-slim aluminum Mac desktops.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs gets embroiled in stock-backdating scandal

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It took 20 pounds of personal computing artifacts to form the face of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs' stock demands changed some people's view of the tech innovator.
Photo: Jason Mercier

August 29: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs gets embroiled in Apple stock-backdating scandal August 29, 2001: During a meeting, Apple’s board of directors awards Steve Jobs new stock options that will become part of a stock-backdating scandal several years later.

When the matter eventually ends up in court, Apple’s former general counsel pays $2.2 million to settle charges that she backdated stock options for Jobs, herself and others — and created fake paperwork to hide this fact.

Today in Apple history: FireWire wins Apple its first Emmy

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FireWire lands Apple its first Emmy.
FireWire lands Apple its first Emmy.
Image: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

August 22: Today in Apple history: FireWire wins Apple its first Emmy August 22, 2001: Apple takes home a technical Emmy for developing FireWire, the high-speed serial port that allows users to transfer data quickly between a Macintosh and another device, such as a digital camera.

“Apple enabled the desktop video revolution with its invention of FireWire,” says Jon Rubinstein, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, in a press release. FireWire plays a key role in Steve Jobs’ “digital hub” strategy at Apple. However, the technology’s origins go back much further than that.

Today in Apple history: Apple fan Jerry Seinfeld joins the dark side

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Microsoft ad
"What's the deal with bad advertising?"
Photo: Microsoft

August 21: Today in Apple history: Jerry Seinfeld appears in failed Microsoft ads August 21, 2008: Microsoft recruits comedian Jerry Seinfeld for a series of ads. It’s a naked attempt to shake the company’s reputation as a stodgy oldster (as opposed to Apple’s trendsetting hipster image).

Microsoft pays Seinfeld a reported $10 million for the ads. However, thanks to the Mac’s appearance in virtually every episode of Seinfeld over the years, the comedian remains the world’s most famous Apple fanboy.

Today in Apple history: Power Mac G4 gets a mirrored redesign

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iMac G4 Mirrored Doors
This was the ultimate Mac power setup in 2002.
Photo: Apple

August 13: Today in Apple history: Power Mac G4 gets a Mirrored Drive Doors redesign August 13, 2002: Apple introduces the final design of its Power Mac G4, the so-called “Mirrored Drive Doors” model.

The distinctive computer borrows visually from the previous “QuickSilver” G4, released a year earlier. However, it adds a different front panel, with a mirrorlike finish for the media drive doors. It’s the last visual redesign of Apple’s Power Mac G4.