Apple II

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started Apple in their family garage in 1976. The name Apple came from an apple orchard Steve Jobs worked at when he became a vegetarian in India.

Their first computer was the Apple I. It was a $25 MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1 MHz (MegaHertz) on a single-circuit board with 256 bytes of ROM. However, it lacked a case, keyboard, or display and was priced at $666.66. The need to purchase a separate keyboard caused the Apple I to have low sales. As a result, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak decided to remodel the Apple I and call it a new computer: the Apple II.

The Apple II was developed in 1977 be Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. It was Apple’s first mass produced microcomputer product. The purpose of the computer was to enhance their previous creation, the Apple I. The introduction of the Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire in June 1977 sparked the boom in personal computer sales, establishing Apple a formidable marketing company in the world of computers.

Steve Jobs also believed that appearance mattered to convince the consumer into purchasing a product. Steve wanted to make the Apple II more presentable and easily marketable to boost the sales for a product that should not be difficult to use. The Apple II was eventually advertised as a “complete, ready to use computer”. The advertisement convinced consumers that computers could be something they did not have to be a businessman or an accountant to work on.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History states the Apple II worked by using a “MOS 6502 chip for its central processing unit”. New features in the Apple II that the Apple I lacked were color display, eight internal expansion slots, and a case with a keyboard. The Apple II was one of the first computers that featured a color display and to have a built-in BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) language, so it was ready to run as soon as the customer placed it on the table.

The most prominent feature of the Apple II was its eight expansion slots. Up to that point, no other computer had this kind of flexibility or expansion possibilities. The top of the computer is not even attached to the keyboard. It lifts off with little effort, allowing simple access to the system motherboard and expansion slots. Dozens of different expansion cards were made by Apple and other manufacturers to add to the Apple II’s capabilities. These capabilities included memory expansion, floppy disk controllers, PASCAL and CP/M emulator cards, parallel, serial, and SCSI cards, processor accelerators, and video cards. The success of the Apple II enabled Jobs and Wozniak to move the headquarters of Apple from their garage to an office in Cupertino.

Apple Computer delivered its first Apple II system for $1295. By October 1979, 500,000 units of the Apple II were sold, trumping the sales of the Apple I, and smashed all competitors of the computer market. By 1982, the Apple II had sold 750,000 units. Due to the number of sales, Apple was forced to get large-scale production.

What made the Apple II successful was the new spreadsheet program known as the VisiCalc. Like Microsoft Excel, VisiCalc added columns and rows of data and instantly gives users results. This caused the Apple II to become successful for business companies because they were able to calculate sales at a faster rate than a handheld calculator.

Two updates followed the Apple II: The Apple II Plus in 1979 and the Apple IIe in 1983.

The Apple II series was finally replaced by Apple Machintosh in 1993. However, the Apple II did not end immediately. It continued well after Apple’s introduction of the Macintosh because it was the company’s main source of revenue. The Apple II is one of the most successful and recognizable computers in history. The marketing campaign that Steve Jobs headed to emphasis the low price for a highly valued product made the computer popular for consumers and businesses, causing it to become the first computer widely used across American schools and colleges, operating as the de facto standard computer for education.


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