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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

April 25 - 30: HP Frees Woz, Lisa Discontinued, iTMS Launched
Updated April 25th, 2005

[Authors Note: Owen and I are still behind in this series, but we are committed to getting caught up by Macworld Boston. Look for a blast of This Week in Apple History installments during the next two weeks. - Bryan]

It's ironic that HP could have put the kibosh on Apple before the company ever got off the ground. Steve Wozniak was an employee of HP when he developed the original Apple I computer, and his contract with HP said that HP owned anything Mr. Wozniak developed. It was this week in 1976 that Mr. Wozniak asked HP for a legal release from that contract, freeing him to continue work with Steve Jobs at Apple.

Cutting ahead almost a decade, it was this week in 1985 that Apple officially killed the computer Steve Jobs had reportedly named after his daughter, Lisa.

Other important events in Apple's history this week include Ron Okamoto leaving Adobe to join Apple as VP of developer relations, and important post at Apple. Since that time, Mr. Okamoto has been credited with improving developer relations, and the World Wide Developer Conference grew tremendously during the his tenure.

Most importantly, it was this week in 2003 that Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, and event that changed the music industry, and brought legitimacy to the concept of online music delivery.

You can find more information on many of the entries below in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0. The other entries can be found in TMO's archives, and we link to articles whenever we can.

April 25-30

1976: Almost a month after founding Apple Computer Company to sell the Apple I motherboards that he had designed in his spare time, Steve Wozniak finally got around to requesting a legal release from his employer Hewlett-Packard. Fortunately, HP promptly granted the release on May 5, and Woz and Jobs were free to create the first truly personal computer.

1985: After selling only 60,000 units over two years, Apple officially discontinues the Lisa computer, the forerunner to the Macintosh.

1987: Steve Wozniak files for divorce from his second wife, former Olympic kayaker Candice Carson Clark, citing irreconcilable differences. The two share joint custody of their three children. Woz would eventually remarry in 1990.

1990: Frustrated at the inability to sell its high-end Pixar Image Computers in significant volume, Pixar announced the $2 million sale of its hardware unit to Vicom Systems, a supplier of imaging products based in Fremont, California. Three years later Jobs' other company, NeXT, would also stop selling hardware.

1997: Steve Jobs' best friend and Oracle CEO Lawrence J. Ellison called off his hostile takeover bid of Apple. Ellison had been publicly boasting that he had lined up a group of investors that would back his acquisition plans, but then CEO Gil Amelio suspected Ellison's true motive was to shake the board's confidence in his leadership of Apple.

1999: Apple settles out of court with Abdul Tarya, who had registered AppleiMac.com. Terms of the settlement are not released, but apple reportedly paid attorney fees, along with a token amount of money to Mr. Tarya in exchange for the domain.

2001: Apple hires Ron Okamoto from Adobe to be VP of Developer Relations.

2002: Building upon its success with the iMac, Apple unveiled the eMac (US$999), a new desktop line designed specifically for the education market. The original eMac featured a 17-inch flat CRT and a 700 MHz PowerPC G4 processor in a compact white case. Demand proved so strong for the new model that Apple eventually expanded its distribution to the public at large. Apple also updates the "TiBook" series of PowerBooks to 800 MHz.

2003: In a move that rocked the music world, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, a revolutionary online venture that lets customers quickly find, purchase, and download music for 99 cents per song. Concurrent with the iTunes Music Store unveiling, Apple released iTunes 4.0 and the third generation of iPods. At the same time, Apple revved the iPod product line with 10, 15, and 20 GB units.

Apple is awarded patents for handwriting recognition and "throughput optimization," or techniques of improving communication between devices.

Apple CEO Fred Anderson joins the board of directors of E.piphany.

2004: Apple announced it has hit the 70 million download mark at the iTunes Music Store. At the same time, the company announced that there are currently 700,000 songs to choose from at the store. Apple also released iTunes 4.5.

is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, published by No Starch Press earlier this year (US$13.97 - Amazon).

is the editor of The Mac Observer, and was egged on, in-part, in his obsession with the Mac by Owen's first book, The Mac Bathroom Reader.

You can send your comments directly to Owen and Bryan, or you can also post your comments below.

This Week in Apple History Archives

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