The Apple I Is Coming to Woolly!

The best things always come out of no where.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a gentleman who informed me that 1) he was extremely excited to come to our Steve Wozniak event on August 4th, and 2) that he owns an original Apple I.

Not only does he own one of these beauties, but he’d like to display his as a special addition to the Apple Orchard on Saturday August 4th. Amazing!

This remarkable and revolutionary machine is significant not only as the first ready-made personal computer, but as a herald to the dawn of a new age in which computing was made accessible to the masses.  Through the Apple I, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak transformed the personal computer from something of interest to specialists and hobbyists into a tool the common man could understand and use.

The first Apple I was introduced on April 1, 1976, by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ron Wayne:  the original founders of Apple Computers.  Wozniak designed and built the printed circuit board, in his bedroom in Los Altos, California, which would soon become the Apple I.  Jobs was so impressed by the machine that the two joined forces and founded Apple Computers, with Jobs taking on the promotion and advertising of the Apple I.  When Wozniak and Jobs demonstrated the new technology at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in May 1976 in Palo Alto, few seemed to take the device seriously – except for Paul Terrell.  The owner of Byte Shop, the only chain of computer stores at the time, Terrell was so impressed by the Apple I that he promised to buy 50 full assembled versions of the machine for $500 each.  However, Terrell insisted that the circuit boards come fully assembled rather than as a part of a kit (as Wozniak had originally designed).  So Jobs and Woz pooled their resources to fund production costs, Jobs selling his VW bus for $1,500 and Wozniak his precious Hewlett-Packard 65 calculator for $250.  After filling Terrell’s order in just 30 days, the pair continued to produce the Apple I, making another 50 to sell to friends and another 100 to sell through vendors for $666.66 each…

…which is hilarious, considering it just recently went for $374,500 at a Sotheby’s auction in June. Of the 200 Apple I’s originally produced, it is believed that fewer than 50 survive, only six of which are known to be operational.

But is there really a price-tag one can put on an object which started a revolution?

It is especially cool that we’ll have this object to share with our audiences during the Woz Event at Woolly since the Apple I was, essentially, his baby. When you come to Woolly on August 4th, be sure to take a good look at what truly launched America’s desire to put a personal computer in every room.

~ Compiled by Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate & Adelaide Waldrop, Connectivity Summer Volunteer

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Filed under Communications and Connectivity, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

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