Apple (1976)

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, softwares and online services.

Logo of the company Apple Inc.
Logo of the company Apple Inc.

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Its founder, Steve Jobs, was a 21-year-old college dropout living with his parents in Los Altos, California. He and his friend Steve Wozniak would hang out in his garage: while Jobs worked for the gaming company Atari, Wozniak  worked for Hewlett-Packard.

Apple Computers Inc. was founded on April 1, 1976 when the first Apple computer was introduced at the Homebrew Computer Club: The Apple 1 was originally a do-it-yourself kit sold for $666 which didn’t even come  without a monitor, a keyboard or a casing and  it was hand-built by Wozniak in Jobs’ parents’ garage. The Apple II also revolutionized the computer industry with the introduction of the first-ever color graphics.

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs with the Apple I computer in 1976.

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During a visit to Xerox in 1979, Jobs and other Apple staff see the company’s PARC interface, which uses boxes and windows as graphics, as well as virtual folders to organise items on the screen, instead of text that had been used up to this point. Jobs immediately changes Apple’s focus to this type of look known as a graphical user interface (GUI), which is now universally used in computing.

Having been removed from the Apple Lisa (Local Integrated Software Architecture) team two years earlier for infighting, Jobs launched his latest Apple project – the Macintosh. The original Macintosh was the first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse.

The Macintosh, released in 1984, is the first mass-market personal computer to feature an integral graphical user interface and mouse.

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Wozniak left Apple in 1983 due to a diminishing interest in the day-to-day running of Apple Computers. After a strong start, Macintosh sales also fell away and the Apple board sided with chief executive John Sculley and stripped Jobs of his responsibilities in 1985. He then founded his own company NeXT Software and also bought Pixar from George Lucas, which would later become a huge success in computer animation of such movies as Toy Story.

Through the rest of the 1980s, Apple was still doing well and in 1990 it posted its highest profits yet. This was, however, mostly due to the plans that Jobs had already set in motion before he left, most notably his deal with a tiny company by the name of Adobe, creator of the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Together the two companies created the phenomenon known as desktop publishing.

The MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro, Apple’s first laptop with an Intel microprocessor, introduced in 2006.

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Over the course of a few years, Apple’s market share suffered slowly after its peak in 1990 and by 1996, experts believed the company to be doomed. It was not until 1997, when Steve Jobs came back to be an interim CEO: Jobs decided to make some changes such as the alliance with Microsoft to create a Mac version of its popular office software.

Jobs’ first major launch since his return is the iMac. The desktop computer comes in a range of colours and is the first major product to be influenced by Jony Ive. It is a sales success and begins an era of new innovation at the firm. Apple’s attention turns to the music industry, as the first iPod is announced,enabling users to have “1,000 songs in their pocket” for the first time. It is followed by the iTunes Store in 2003, ushering in the age of digital downloads.

 iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Touch.
From left to right: iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Touch.

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In 2007, moments after announcing the company was changing its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc, Jobs reveals the company’s first smart mobile device, the iPhone. Having returned from medical leave following cancer treatment, Jobs took the stage again in 2010 to introduce the much-rumoured iPad.

Despite being initially questioned as a needless device, the tablet market soon exploded, with most of Apple’s rivals launching tablets of their own.  Jobs died in october 2011, a few month after announcing the iCloud service. Tim Cook assumes day-to-day control of Apple, which continued to be one of the leading companies in the tech inustry.

The first-generation iPhone
The first-generation iPhone, 3G, 4, 5, 5C and 5S to scale.

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