Steve Jobs’ first ever computer, a still fully operational Apple 1, will be auctioned off in Germany in the next few days. The rare machine is one of only eight other working models in the world and is expected to fetch something to the tune of $315,000 or around £260,000.
Apple founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs created the first Apple 1 personal computer in 1976, but produced only 150 models to sell to their family and friends. This original Apple 1 comes complete with original documents and even records of telephone calls with the company founders. It was designed and built by hand by Wozniak in the Silicon Valley.
Jobs and Wozniak started marketing it through the electronics chain Byte Shop in 1976, after the retailer bought the first 50 units. The original price for an Apple 1 at that time was something like $666.66 or £545. Wozniak liked repeating numbers when working on computers or pricing something. Despite the Apple 1 being the first ever personal computer that was ready to use, it was delivered as just the motherboard. This meant that the user had to separately buy a power pack, keyboard, monitor, and cassette recorder of their own.
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In designing the Apple computer, it was displayed on a TV screen linked up to the motherboard using a specifically designed television terminus. A keyboard was chosen instead of the usual front panel switches found on early computers before Apple came out. The attachable cassette recorder was used to store and load software on to the machine. By today’s standards, everything about it was slow. The screen displayed only 60 individual characters per second. It had a tiny 8K memory, just enough to save a 1,000 word document. It also contains the original card and the original early 6502 microprocessor in a rare white ceramic design. The card contains the software system Basic that was available only for Apple 1 up to 1977 only.
According to still existing Apple 1 registers, there are only 60 sets still in existence around the world, with a mere eight still in working order. For whatever use they have in the modern world is anyone’s guess. The model to be auctioned off has the serial number 01-0073 and is logged as the fourteenth in the register. What’s interesting with this batch is that the cassette interface is dated 30/11/1967 and carries an original letter from Apple Customer Service refusing to upgrade to Apple II since it could not do so.
Apple’s first primary logo featured Isaac Newton’s fruit name as a symbol of recognition of the binary system he has been credited with inventing in the 18th century. In 1977 Apple changed their logo to the famous Apple with a bite taken out of it, still in recognition of Newton. This new logo was actually a response to the first advertising campaign run by their client, The Byte Shop that used the slogan: “Byte into an Apple.”