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3 November 2010  |  Books   |  Article

APPLE-1 Personal Computer: The Birth of the Home Computing Revolution

Today, Apple has established itself as a major force in the competitive world of new technologies. New announcements by Steve Jobs are eagerly awaited, not only by Apple's devoted followers, but also by the rest of the industry, as time and again Apple introduces new "game-changing" products. But in 1976, years before the Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad, the first Apple was assembled and shipped from the garage at Steve Job's parents' house.

From these humble origins, the home computer revolution was started. The Apple-1 was the first home personal computer to feature a fully pre-assembled motherboard. This was a major step forward. Prior to this, all home personal computers were sold as kits that involved soldering skills and a knowledge of electronics. True, the Apple-1 was sold without a keyboard, monitor or power supply, and it didn't even have a casing, but in principle it worked straight out of the box. The modern Apple products still embody this philosophy, and all in their own way can trace their lineage directly back to the Apple-1.

In July 1976, the Apple-1 went on sale priced at $666.66, and units were despatched in a simple cardboard box. The example Christie's is selling is complete in this original packaging -- an extremely rare survival -- with the garage's return address on the typed label. In superb condition, complete with the original packaging, manuals, cassette interface and basic tape, early documentation and provenance, the lot also includes a commercially rare letter from Steve Jobs.

This letter, typed on ruled notepad-paper, and signed in a clear, legible hand "Steven Jobs", emphasises the simple beginnings of the company. So too does the invoice dated "12/7/76", typed on a "Rediform" invoice pad. The manuals have the company's original logo of Newton sitting underneath the apple tree; the iconic Apple logo had yet to be adopted.

It is not clear how many Apple-1s were sold, but it was available for 15 months, being officially discontinued by October 1977, and some estimate 200 were produced. Although perhaps as many as a quarter of these still survive, very few are in such good, near-original condition with associated ephemera and full provenance. Christie’s is proud to present this extremely exciting opportunity to acquire such an important milestone in the history of technology.

Related Sale
Sale 7882
Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts
23 Nov 2010
London, King Street

Related Departments
Books & Manuscripts

scientific instruments
medicine & science

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