Today in Apple history: A phone call sows the seeds of OS X

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Look familiar? NeXT's OpenStep operating system laid the groundwork for OS X.
Look familiar?
Photo: The Color Convergence

Nov 25: Today in Apple history: The seeds of OS X are sown with NeXT OpenStep November 25, 1996: A midlevel manager at NeXT contacts Apple about the possibility of Cupertino licensing NeXT’s OpenStep operating system.

Garrett L. Rice’s communication with Ellen Hancock, Apple’s chief technology officer, is the first formal step in a long process. It ultimately leads to Apple buying NeXT, the creation of OS X, and Steve Jobs returning home to the company he co-founded.

Today in Apple history: Toy Story 2 arrives in theaters

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Toy Story 2 coincided with the start of Steve Jobs' own career second act.
Toy Story 2 coincided with the start of Steve Jobs' own career second act.
Photo: Pixar

November 24: Today in Apple history: Toy Story 2 arrives in theaters November 24, 1999: Steve Jobs gets another feather in his cap when Toy Story 2, the sequel to the 1995 Pixar hit, debuts in theaters. It goes on to become the first animated sequel in history to gross more than the original.

While more a piece of Steve Jobs history than Apple history, the release of Toy Story 2 caps a spectacular year for Apple’s CEO.

Today in Apple history: Rare Apple-1 sells for crazy money

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The Apple-1 sold for what was then the largest amount a personal computer ever earned at auction.
The Apple-1 sold for what was then the largest amount a personal computer had sold for at auction.
Photo: Christie's

November 23: Today in Apple history: Rare Apple-1 computer sells for $210,000 at auction November 23, 2010: An early Apple-1 computer, complete with its original packaging and a letter signed by Steve Jobs, sells for $210,000.

At the time, it ranks as the most expensive personal computer ever sold at auction. However, it’s a rare find. The working Apple-1 is thought to be one of only around 50 thought to still exist.

Today in Apple history: iTunes cracks top 10 on list of US music retailers

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iTunespic
What was your first ever iTunes music download?
Photo: Apple

November 22: Today in Apple history: iTunes becomes one of top 10 U.S. music retailers November 22, 2005: Two-and-a-half years after opening its virtual doors, the iTunes Music Store enters the list of top 10 U.S. music retailers.

While iTunes sales numbers can’t yet match the selling power of established retail giants like Walmart, Best Buy and Circuit City (or fellow tech company Amazon), this milestone nonetheless represents big news for Apple — and digital music sales as a whole.

Today in Apple history: Apple signs damaging deal with Microsoft

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Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI
One of the most damaging deals in Apple history.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

November 21: Today in Apple history: Apple signs Microsoft deal licensing Mac look and feel November 21, 1985: Following Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple comes close to signing its own death warrant by licensing the Macintosh’s look and feel to Microsoft.

The deal, between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO John Sculley, comes hot on the heels of the Windows operating system’s release. The pact gives Microsoft a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use [parts of the Mac technology] in present and future software programs, and to license them to and through third parties for use in their software programs.”

Oh, boy!

Today in Apple history: iTunes bags its first exclusive movie

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The producers of Purple Violets took a gamble on iTunes movie distribution.
The producers of Purple Violets take a gamble on iTunes movie distribution.
Photo: Wild Ocean Films

November 20: Today in Apple history: iTunes movie distribution begins with Purple Violets, the first film to launch on iTunes November 20, 2007: In a milestone for iTunes movie distribution, Purple Violets becomes the first feature film to launch exclusively on Apple’s platform.

A romantic comedy directed by Edward Burns, Purple Violets stars Selma Blair, Debra Messing and Patrick Wilson. With limited offers from Hollywood’s traditional players, the filmmakers pin their hopes on iTunes distribution as an alternative way to get their movie in front of viewers.

Today in Apple history: Apple Park gets the official go-ahead

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Apple Park
Apple's spectacular new campus gained approval on this day in 2013.
Photo: Matthew Roberts

November 19: Today in Apple history: Apple Park approved by Cupertino City Council November 19, 2013: Apple gets final approval from the Cupertino City Council to proceed with building a massive second campus to house its growing army of workers.

Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney’s simple message regarding Apple Campus 2? “Go for it.”

However, the massive structure — with an innovative circular design that will earn it the nickname “the spaceship” — remains years away from opening, despite Apple’s ambitious schedule.

Today in Apple history: Copland, Apple’s ‘unreleased’ Mac OS, ships to devs

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Remember Mac OS Copland? Probably not from using it.
Remember Mac OS Copland? Probably not from using it.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac/Ste Smith

November 17: Today in Apple history: Mac OS Copland, Apple's 'unreleased' Mac OS, ships to developers November 17, 1995: Apple releases the first beta version of its new Mac OS Copland operating system to around 50 developers. Not so much a Mac OS update as a totally new operating system, it offers next-gen features designed to help Apple take on the then-mighty Windows 95.

Sadly, it will never reach the public.

Today in Apple history: Apple’s last mechanical keyboard is a winner

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The Apple Extended Keyboard II might be Cupertino's finest keyboard of all time.
This could be the best Apple keyboard ever.
Photo: University of Chicago

November 15: Today in Apple history: Apple Extended Keyboard II is Apple's last (and greatest) mechanical keyboard November 15, 1990: Cupertino wins a design patent for its Apple Extended Keyboard II, arguably the greatest computer keyboard of all time.

Delivering the perfect combination of durability, feel and a pleasing click-clack sound, the Extended Keyboard II will become a mainstay of pro-grade Apple setups during the early 1990s — and perhaps the best-loved keyboard in Apple history. Courtesy of an ADB-to-USB adapter, some people continue to use them today.