Apple

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.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary
Image credit: Andrew Burton | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

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.

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

Beginnings.

Beginnings.
Image credit: Tom Munnecke | Getty Images

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

 

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

Dreaming big.

Dreaming big.
Image credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

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.

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

Before the Apple Store.

Before the Apple Store.
Image credit: Tom Munnecke | Getty Images

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

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

Unexpected pricing.

Unexpected pricing.
Image credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
The Apple-1’s retail price when it went on sale in 1976 was $666.66.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Apple II arrives on the scene.

Apple II arrives on the scene.
Image credit: SSPL | Getty Images

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

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

Fun and games.

Fun and games.
Image credit: Atari, Inc.

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.

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

Unlikely inspiration.

Unlikely inspiration.
Image credit: Michael Mahovlich | Getty Images

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.

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

Science fiction future.

Science fiction future.
Image credit: Christopher Pillitz | Getty Images

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.

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

Then and now.

Then and now.
Image credit: Apple

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.

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

Going public.

Going public.
Image credit: Daniel Barry | Bloomberg | Getty Images
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.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Joining forces again.

Joining forces again.
Image credit: Mark Kauffman | The LIFE Images Collection | Getty Images
Steve Jobs was ousted from the company in 1985, but returned in 1997 after Apple bought his venture NeXT.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Innovative design.

Innovative design.
Image credit: David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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.

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

A time before the iPhone.

A time before the iPhone.
Image credit: David Paul Morris | Getty Images

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.

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

Breaking records.

Breaking records.
Image credit: Andrew Burton | Getty Images
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.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

The road not taken.

The road not taken.
Image credit: Ramin Talaie | Corbis | Getty Images
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Welcome to the Genius Bar.

Welcome to the Genius Bar.
Image credit: Sarah L. Voisin | The Washington Post | Getty Images

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.

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

Not every idea will succeed.

Not every idea will succeed.
Image credit: Apple
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.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Unlikely partners.

Unlikely partners.
Image credit: JOHN MOTTERN | AFP | Getty Images
In 1997, Apple and Microsoft reached a detente when Microsoft invested $150 million in the then flailing Apple.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

A big year.

A big year.
Image credit: Ian Waldie | Getty Images
2003 saw the release of two technological mainstays from Apple: the Safari browser and the iTunes Music store.
20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary

Money in the bank.

Money in the bank.
Image credit: KAREN BLEIER | AFP | Getty Images

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.

 
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  • 20 Facts about Apple on the Apple II's 40th Anniversary
  • 1. Beginnings.
  • 2. Dreaming big.
  • 3. Before the Apple Store.
  • 4. Unexpected pricing.
  • 5. Apple II arrives on the scene.
  • 6. Fun and games.
  • 7. Unlikely inspiration.
  • 8. Science fiction future.
  • 9. Then and now.
  • 10. Going public.
  • 11. Joining forces again.
  • 12. Innovative design.
  • 13. A time before the iPhone.
  • 14. Breaking records.
  • 15. The road not taken.
  • 16. Welcome to the Genius Bar.
  • 17. Not every idea will succeed.
  • 18. Unlikely partners.
  • 19. A big year.
  • 20. Money in the bank.
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