Time magazine has an interesting in depth look back, some 35 years ago, at the computer that has generally been credited with ushering in the home computing revolution..... the venerable and game changing Apple II computer.
It was on April 16 and 17, 1977 that some twelve thousand proto-geeks crammed into San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium to attend a new event called the West Coast Computer Faire. It was here that a new and futuristic gizmo now known as the “personal computer” was first introduced to the world. Folks marveled at the various microcomputers on display, and other related gizmos, from the likes of Cromemco, IMSAI, Northstar, Ohio Scientific, Parasitic Engineering, and, of course, and, at the time, the tiny company known as Apple Computer Inc.
Harry McCracken, the author of the post, has assembled a collection of memorable Apple II photos, and goes on to suggest 14 ways to mark its anniversary, and he noted that of the 180 different vendors on display, the Apple II didn't get much attention at first, but as he wrote:
"It didn’t take long until it was obvious that the Apple II was going to matter. The machine started shipping in the summer of 1977, and by the end of the year, it was gaining fame as was one of a trio of consumer-friendly, ready-to-use systems that were taking the personal computer beyond its hobbyist origins. The other two were Commodore’s PET 2001, which had also been displayed at the Faire, and Radio Shack’s TRS-80, which was announced in August."
Ah, I remember those three iconic computers well. The Apple II I never owned, but I did covet one back in the days. The Radio Shack TRS-80 I never wanted to own, considering it the ugliest of them all back than, but I do look back longingly at it now. The Commodore Pet, however, was the machine back then that was the glimmer in my eye, and it was my very first computer as I wrote in an earlier post.
Back to the venerable Apple II, it was this computer that went on to help to establish Apple as not only one of the greatest companies of all time, but the biggest of them all, at least when it comes to its market cap, and this all in spite the horrible stock fallout recently.
Of course, as Mr. McCracken pointed out, the Apple II wasn't actually the very first computer out there, as earlier computers such as the IMSAI 8080, which I have previously written about here, clearly beat it to market. However, such computers as the IMSAI 8080, were geared to only a limited few people who were geeky enough to be able to use them. These computers required putting them not only physically together, but also requiring the user to write their own programs and even, to a limited extend, the OS itself! The Apple II, however, brought the computer to the masses, thus making them accessible for the rest of us technology challenged. The Apple II helped to virtually turned an otherwise inaccessible product into an accessible one, and, in the process, turning them into appliances.
In conclusion, as Mr. McCracken also noted, "the Apple II readied the world for the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and, come to think of it, every other major technology gadget of the past 35 years. More than any single other computing device, it’s the one that crawled out of the primordial ooze and scampered assertively in the right direction. Countless others followed its lead, and continue to do so."
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Apple II photo via: Wikipedia