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20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Looking back on how the company has grown in the years since the launch of its flagship product.


June 10 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the Apple II computer.

The tech giant’s first offering, the Apple I, was sold in DIY kit form, but the Apple II, released in 1977, was designed to be used by the everyday consumer -- with features such as color graphics, sound and even a built-in video game -- right out of the box.

The modern era of personal computers and the fortunes of the tech giant’s flagship product are inextricably tied together. The Apple II was discontinued in 1990, but it was a bestseller for more than a decade. By 1984, more than 2 million of the computers had been sold.

Related: Apple Presents a Pretty Good Take on 'Shark Tank' With Its First Foray Into TV

In his introduction of the Apple II in BYTE Magazine in 1977, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak shared his vision of the future: “To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use and inexpensive.” That vision seems to have paid off.

In celebration of the Apple II’s 40th birthday, here is a look at some unexpected facts about the company.

Tom Munnecke | Getty Images


The company was created by Steve Jobs and Wozniak on April Fool’s Day -- April 1, 1976.


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Dreaming big.

The company’s home has always been in Cupertino, Calif., starting from Steve Jobs’ family’s garage in the 1970s to the new campus that is currently being built.

Tom Munnecke | Getty Images

Before the Apple Store.

The first store where Apple computers were sold was called the Byte Shop, a retailer launched by a man named Paul Terrell.

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Unexpected pricing.

The Apple-1’s retail price when it went on sale in 1976 was $666.66.
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Apple II arrives on the scene.

The Apple II made its debut at the first ever West Coast Computer Faire in 1977.

Atari, Inc.

Fun and games.

The Apple II was sold with a cassette of the video game Breakout, which was co-designed Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and Wozniak and Jobs while they worked at the company.

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Unlikely inspiration.

As Jobs told it, the name of the company was inspired by a summer he spent working on an apple orchard in Oregon after he dropped out of Reed College.

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Science fiction future.

Apple’s iconic 1984 super bowl ad spot  -- it’s first ever television commercial -- cost $650,000 to make and helmed by Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott.


Then and now.

Forty years ago when the Apple II went on the market, it cost $1,298. Accounting for inflation, today it would retail for $5,289.87. As a basis of comparison, a 13-inch MacBook Pro costs anywhere from $1,299 to $1,799.

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Going public.

The company went public on Dec. 12, 1980, and stocks sold at $22 per share. Apple made more money than any other IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956.
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Joining forces again.

Steve Jobs was ousted from the company in 1985, but returned in 1997 after Apple bought his venture NeXT.
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Innovative design.

Jony Ive has overseen the company’s design team since 1996. The first product released with both Ive and Jobs on board was the now iconic iMac.

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A time before the iPhone.

Though it seems like the iPhone is ubiquitous now, it was first introduced in the winter of 2007 at the annual MacWorld expo. The app store officially launched in July of 2008.

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Breaking records.

In 2015, Apple became the first company to be valued at more than $700 billion. In May of 2017, Apple broke that record when it was valued at more than $800 billion -- it was also the first company to hit that mark.
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The road not taken.

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Welcome to the Genius Bar.

The first two Apple stores opened on May 19, 2001. They were located in the Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Va., and the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif.


Not every idea will succeed.

Apple hasn’t just sold computers over the last four decades. The company made cameras, video game consoles, clothes and even sneakers for a time in the 1980s and 1990s.
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Unlikely partners.

In 1997, Apple and Microsoft reached a detente when Microsoft invested $150 million in the then flailing Apple.
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A big year.

2003 saw the release of two technological mainstays from Apple: the Safari browser and the iTunes Music store.
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Money in the bank.

In 2014, it was revealed that Apple had more money at its disposal than was on hand in the U.S. Treasury -- $160 billion compared to $49 billion.