This Week in Apple History
Published October 31st, 2004
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.1981:
1972: Steve Jobs begins his freshman year at Reed College in Portland, Oregon; he attends classes for only one semester. After officially dropping out in December, he remains on campus, auditing classes and crashing with friends and in empty dorm rooms. He never returns to school and goes on to co-found Apple Computer four years later, becoming one of the most successful college drop-outs in history.
1982: Jesse John Wozniak is born to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and second wife Candice Clark. The following day marks the opening of the US Festival, a celebration of contemporary music and technology, thrown by Woz and legendary rock promoter Bill Graham. The first US Festival is held at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore, California, and features 18 different bands performing over the three-day weekend.
1984: Apple releases the Macintosh 512K (US$3,300). The so-called Fat Mac features four times the memory of the original Mac, addressing one of the major complaints of potential buyers.
1990: Newton project leader Larry Tesler dumps AT&T's Hobbit CPU in favor of the ARM 610. The switch to the new low-cost RISC (reduced instruction set computing) processor is a major engineering shake-up, but one that would reap unforeseen rewards for Apple. As part of the switch, Apple acquired 43 percent of ARM and placed Tesler on its board of directors. Nine years later, ARM went public and Apple eventually sold its holdings for a combined pretax profit of US$792 million, more than making up for the entire outlay on the ill-fated Newton project.
1997: Steve Jobs begins flexing his muscle at Apple, undoing several strategic decisions made by former CEO Gil Amelio. First, in a move that signals the beginning of the end for the era of Mac clones, Apple announces it will acquire Power Computing's customer database, its license to distribute the Mac OS, and certain key employees for US$100 million in Apple stock and roughly US$10 million to cover debts and closing costs. The following day, Jobs tells the executives of Apple's spin-off Newton Inc. not to bother moving into their new offices. Within a week, Apple publicly announces that it is pulling the Newton subsidiary back in and creating a division for the eMate 300.
2002: Apple announces that starting in January 2003, all new Mac models will boot into Mac OS X as the only start-up operating system, though they will retain the ability to run most Mac OS 9 applications in Classic mode.
2003: Apple announces new 20GB (US$399) and 40GB (US$499) models of its iPod digital music player. These third-generation models are most easily distinguished by the port on the bottom allowing them to dock for easier synching. On the same day as the new iPod announcement, Apple also announces significant enhancements to its flat-panel iMac line. The G4 processor in the 17-inch model (US$1,799) is cranked up to 1.25GHz, supported by 333MHz DDR memory, faster NVIDIA graphics, and USB 2.0 ports.
is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the Worlds 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.
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