iPhones. MacBooks. Apple Watches. iTunes. In recent years it has become increasingly more rare to not use an Apple product at some point in your day. In fact, as of this month there are over one billion Apple products being used across the world.The little apple with a bite out of it has become synonymous with technology, music, and growth.
On April 1, Apple Inc. will celebrate 40 years of commercial success. They finished their 2015 fiscal year with over $233 billion in revenue, making them the largest information technology company in the world. Apple stock has also reached peak success, with Apple Inc. being the world’s largest publicly traded corporation since 2012, falling just behind Exxon Mobile in 2011. In February of last year, Apple’s market capitalization reached a record high at $775 billion, becoming the first U.S. company to do so. In other words, Apple Inc. is doing very well.
These achievements are nothing new to the company, which saw exponential revenue growth in its first five years of business. Apple’s sales grew at an average of 533% annually between 1977 and 1980. When Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne established Apple Computer Company in 1976, even they likely did not foresee what it would become. From Jobs’s home garage to 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, Apple has grown into possibly the most successful and well-known corporation in the world. Let’s see how far their products have come!
Apple I – 1976 to 1977
After attending the first Homebrew Computer Club meeting in March 1975, Steve Wozniak was so motivated to create a personal computer, he began work on the product right away. While Wozniak was building his design by hand, Steve Jobs sold an order of 50 Apple I computers to The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California. The first circuit board to come fully assembled for customers, the Apple I went on sale in July 1976 for $666.66. Users had to add a few things to the board for it to become a functioning device: a case, power switch and transformers, a keyboard, and a video display. Due to its popularity and demand, 150 more units were constructed. The Apple I was innovative for its time, and continued to sell steadily even after the Apple II was released in April 1977. Because Wozniak was the only person able to answer customer support questions about his creation, Apple discontinued the product in October 1977. Approximately 63 Apple I computers still exist today–6 of which are functional–making them highly collectible.
Apple II Series – 1977 to 1993
Wozniak’s next innovation, the Apple II, was presented at the West Coast Computer Faire on April 16, 1977, and was sold two months later as Apple’s first consumer product. The design included a built-in keyboard and color graphics capability, which was reflected in the rainbow striped Apple logo on the casing. The original Apple II retailed for $1,298 for 4KB of RAM, and $2,638 for the maximum 48KB. This creation began the Apple II series which remained in production until 1993, selling over six million units of six distinct models.
Macintosh – 1984 to 1998
With one now iconic commercial, Apple introduced their Macintosh during Super Bowl XVIII. The ad, directed by Ridley Scott, promised that the year would be unlike George Orwell’s 1984 thanks to Apple’s newest product. The first Macintosh, later called Macintosh 128K, included a keyboard and mouse, nine-inch monitor, and a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. Several iterations of the Macintosh were created from 1984 to the early 1990s to allow for higher RAM capabilities. The first “laptops” were also included in the line: the Macintosh Portable in 1989 and the PowerBook 100 in 1991.
iMac – 1998 to Present
After some financial setbacks in previous years, Apple took their design in a new direction in 1998. The iMac G3 was originally released in “Bondi Blue”, and was later available in 13 total “flavors”. The home computer sought to help people connect with the Internet, as well as introduce them to emerging technology; the design included USB ports and a CD-ROM drive. Six evolutions of the iMac have been introduced since the G3, the most current of which is the iMac Retina 5K. This sleek model displays at a crisp 5120 x 2880 pixels.
Fun fact: Upcycled iMac G3 monitors are being sold as cat beds by Atomic Attic on Etsy!
Apple’s iBooks were a low-cost alternative to the PowerBook laptop, and the original design carried on the unique colorful style of the iMac G3. Two more iBook models were released until 2006 when Apple created the MacBook during their transition into Intel processors. The MacBook family, which includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, are the top-selling consumer laptops in the world.
iPod – 2001 to Present
As the market for personal digital devices grew, Apple answered with the iPod. Primarily a music player, the iPod may also be used for external data storage. Later models include a camera, internet access, and video game and other app capabilities. The most current generation of iPod Touch is identical to the iPhone, only lacking the phone functions.
iPhone – 2007 to Present
On June 29, 2007, groups of hundreds of people eagerly queued outside of their local Apple store. They were all waiting to buy one thing: an iPhone. Five months earlier, Steve Jobs revealed Apple’s first smartphone at the Macworld convention, and the general public was more than enthusiastic. Over six million first generation iPhones were sold in their first five quarters, and by 2012, more than half of Apple’s revenue came from iPhones. The sleek design and iOS efficiency make the iPhone a top-selling mobile phone to this day. Ten generations of the smartphone have been released since 2007, including the iPhone SE, first sold on March 31, 2016.
Apple TV – 2007 to Present
Apple began work on an digital media console in late 2006. The HDMI-compliant device, Apple TV, was the top selling item in the Apple Store during its pre-sale in January 2007. Now in it’s fourth generation, the Apple TV can access the iTunes store, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO GO, and more. The connection also allows users to view their photos and videos on a high-definition television screen.
iPad – 2010 to Present
The first generation iPad, released on April 3, 2010, was actually Apple’s second tablet, after the unpopular Newton MessagePad from 1993. The design of the iPad was unprecedented, however, with a 9.7 inch screen made with scratch-resistant glass. The portable computer features internet connectivity, photo and video camera access, apps, music, iBooks, and other multimedia functions. The largest of the series, the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, was released on November 11, 2015.
Apple Watch – 2015 to Present
The Apple Watch, Apple’s most recent innovation, was released on April 24, 2015. The smartwatch is available in four models: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition. The device connects to the users iPhone via Bluetooth, and can access any compatible applications. It also incorporates fitness and health tracking, and can receive text messages, phone calls, and notifications.
Congratulations to Apple on celebrating 40 years of technological progress!