News hardware You Can Buy Apple’s Very First Computer… If You Have Lots of Money
It’s a nice piece of history that is currently being auctioned off: a working Apple I, signed by its creator Steve Wozniak. Of course, prices are skyrocketing.
As of this writing (Friday, June 10 at 11:23 a.m., to be completely transparent), a copy of the Apple I reached
over $201,000 on eBay
. The auction ends Sunday at 6 p.m. and should rise significantly by then. The previous Apple I models sold have indeed all exceeded 450,000 dollars, with a record in December 2020, established at 736,862 dollars.
But what exactly are we talking about? Simply from the very first computer designed by Apple, in 1976. The company was then a few months old and had three founding members: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The design of the computer is thought by Wozniak and it is assembled in the garage of the Jobs family. So Apple really started in a garage in Silicon Valley, as the legend of any good California start-up would have it.
A computer built “by hand”, for a small handful of buyers
Before experiencing its first real success with the Apple II in 1977 (one of the first microcomputers to seduce the public), the Apple I remained confidential and was intended to be particularly artisanal. An estimated 200 units were produced – all assembled by hand – and 50 of them were sold by a local electronics store.
And don’t imagine a complete computer: when you bought an Apple I, you left with a “simple” motherboard and it was up to you to add a case, a keyboard and a screen. However, the fact that all the components are already assembled (processors, memory, etc.) is a first in the history of computing and greatly simplified things.
The Apple I ran with a MOS Technology 6502 processor clocked at 1 MHz and offered 8 KB of RAM. Graphically, it was able to display 40 x 24 characters. The Apple I was sold for $666.66 at launch, for an estimated cost of $540 according to Steve Wozniak. If we take inflation into account, this corresponds to approximately 2700 dollars today, or approximately 2548€.
A unique copy of the Apple I for sale on eBay
This copy of the Apple I put up for auction is a rarity in more ways than one: it is thus one of the rare models still functional, thanks to a first-rate restoration, while retaining almost all of the original components. . The video that accompanies this news shows it well: it is in excellent condition and you can use it.
It is a copy acquired by an executive of the oil company Schlumberger Overseas SA in 1977. He then left for Europe, making it the first Apple I to be released in the United States. It was then acquired by the private collection AAPL Collection during a previous sale.
Finally, the icing on the cake: this Apple I was signed by Steve Wozniak himself in 2021, which further adds to its value.
In short, this veritable piece of computer history is almost unique and bears witness to Apple’s impressive journey: from its beginnings in a modest garage in an American suburb to the gigantic Apple Park in Cupertino, the company knew how to build and maintain his legend.