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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

June 1 - 6: Capps Leaves Apple For Microsoft, eMac Goes Public
Published September 10th, 2004

[Authors Note: Owen and I are still behind in this series, but are working hard to catch up - Bryan]

Every road is built with little steps; we're certain there's some sort of old phrase along those lines, but the point is that it was this week in 1969 that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs went one step closer to meeting each other. Mr. Wozniak decided to leave the tender embraces of the University of Colorado in Boulder to return to his home town in the Bay Area. Soon enough, he would be building his first computer, and soon after that he would be introduced to Mr. Jobs.

This week in Apple history also has a couple of Newton items. It was this week in 1993 that the Newton wasn't the first PDA to market, by which we mean that the much anticipated Newton was beaten to market by the Casio/Tandy Zoomer. Oops.

Three years later, Steve Capps, one of the original Mac team members and one of the principal architects of the Newton, left Apple for Microsoft. He was brought to Microsoft to help make the GUI for Windows not suck. He eventually left Microsoft as well, apparently unsuccessful. In an interview in 2003, Mr. Capps told us that Microsoft's main problem was that deadlines rule the company's product release schedule, instead of the product itself, which will forever doom the end result.

In 1997, however, we have another one of Steve Jobs returns to Apple. It was this week in 1997 that Mr. Jobs returned to the fold of major Apple shareholders with 1.5 million shares of stock to his name. He got the stock as part of Apple's acquisition of NeXT, and promptly sold it off, causing an eventual ripple of concern in the then-desperate Apple-watching community.

It was this week in 1999 that Apple finally crossed the 400 MHz barrier with its Power Mac G3 product line. The Blue & White G3 went on to become a successful product line for the company.

In 2002, Apple broadened another popular product line's reach by making the eMac available to the general public. Apple had originally introduced the G4-powered eMac exclusively for the education market.

There's more in the time line below in This Week in Apple History.

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.

June 01-06

1969: An 18-year-old Steve Wozniak leaves the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he had been studying electrical engineering for several semesters. Upon returning to the San Francisco Bay Area where he was raised, he takes general education classes at De Anza College in Cupertino. Two years later he would build his first computer with friend Bill Fernandez, who would ultimately introduce him to Steve Jobs.

1993: Apple's Newton, the pet project of CEO John Sculley, is beaten to market by the Casio/Tandy Zoomer. Apple's Newton project had been under way for almost six years, and during that time the company was instrumental in advancing the notion of the personal digital assistant (PDA) as a revolutionary force in computing. Unfortunately it's MessagePad wouldn't ship until two months after the Zoomer.

1996: Steve Capps leaves Apple, again. Capps came to Apple from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to work on the ill-fated Lisa. After moving to the Mac team, he co-wrote the original Finder with Bruce Horn, then left Apple in 1985 to build his own music software company. In 1987, he was enticed back to Apple to work on the Newton project, where he was one of the driving forces behind the nascent PDA effort. Three years after the first Newton shipped, Capps left Apple to work on user interface design for Microsoft.

1997: Steve Jobs is once again a major Apple shareholder with some 1.5 million shares of AAPL. The shares were part of Apple's buyout of NeXT. Even as this news becomes public, it is also being reported that he has already filed to sell those shares. Later, Mr. Jobs says that he sold the stock because he had no faith in Apple's leadership, which is what eventually led him to orchestrate a boardroom coup to oust Gil Amelio, the CEO that bought NeXT in the first place.

1999: Apple finally breaks the 400-MHz barrier with the introduction of a Power Mac Blue & White featuring a 450-MHz PowerPC G3 microprocessor running Mac OS 8.6. The new high-end model carries a list price of $2,999 and comes equipped with 1MB of level 2 backside cache, 128MB of DRAM, an ATI RAGE 128 video card with 16MB of video SDRAM, an 9GB Ultra 2 SCSI 7200rpm hard drive, and a 24X CD-ROM drive.

2002: Apple begins selling the popular eMac to the general public. The all-in-one eMac with a 17-inch flat CRT was introduced in April and originally available only to education customers. The consumer model comes in a new configuration with a 700-MHz PowerPC G4 and a CD-RW optical drive priced at $1,099, making it the most affordable PowerPC G4 system to date.

In conjunction with the eMac announcement, Apple also releases Mac OS X 10.1.5. The new version includes a variety of new features and other improvements, including support for many new FireWire devices, improvements to the Mail application, several security enhancements, improvements to iDisk's WebDAV support, and Korean and Chinese localization improvements. The most significant new feature, however, is support for 2D and QuickTime hardware acceleration for Rage Pro.

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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