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History of Apple: how Apple came to lead the tech industry

Nik Rawlinson | Aug. 20, 2015
Our History of Apple begins with a look at Apple's not so humble beginnings, follow the Apple story with us.

Let's be thankful he didn't. Jobs saw the computer, recognised its brilliance, and sold his VW microbus to help fund its production. Wozniak sold his HP calculator, and together they founded Apple Computer Inc on 1 April 1976, alongside Ronald Wayne.

The foundation of Apple: The inspiration for the name

The name was to cause Apple problems in later years as it came uncomfortably close to the Beatles' publisher, Apple Corps, but its genesis was innocent enough. Speaking to Byte magazine in December 1984, Woz credited Jobs with the idea. 'He was working from time to time in the orchards up in Oregon. I thought that it might be because there were apples in the orchard or maybe just its fructarian nature. Maybe the word just happened to occur to him. In any case, we both tried to come up with better names but neither one of us could think of anything better after Apple was mentioned.'

The foundation of Apple: Selling the Apple I

Woz built each computer by hand, and although he'd wanted to sell them for little more than the cost of their parts - at a price at that would recoup their outlay if they shipped 50 units - Jobs had bigger ideas.

He priced the Apple I at $666.66, and inked a deal with the Byte Shop in Mountain View so supply it with 50 computers at $500 each. Byte Shop was going out on a limb: the Apple I didn't exist in any great number, and the nascent Apple Computer Inc didn't have the resources to fulfil the order. Neither could it get them. Atari, where Jobs worked, wanted cash for any components it sold him, a bank turned him down for a loan, and although he had an offer of $5,000 from a friend's father, it wasn't enough. In the end, it was Byte Shop's purchase order that sealed the deal. Jobs took it to Cramer Electronics and, as Walter Isaacson explains in Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, he convinced Cramer's manager to call Paul Terrell, owner of Byte Shop, to verify the order.

'Terrell was at a conference when he heard over a loudspeaker that he had an emergency call (Jobs had been persistent). The Cramer manager told him that two scruffy kids had just walked in waving an order from the Byte Shop. Was it real? Terrell confirmed that it was, and the store agreed to front Jobs the parts on thirty-day credit.'

Jobs was banking on producing enough working computers within that time to settle the bill out of the proceeds from selling completed units to Byte Shop. The risk involved was too great for Ronald Wayne, and it's ultimately this that saw him duck out.


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