A Brief History of Apple Innovations
Created in 1976 and sold locally to an electronics store, the Apple I was widely known as the first inexpensive, simple personal computer. After the success of the Apple I, creators Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak improved upon the design and came up with the Apple II-the first personal computer to have sound capabilities and 16-bit processing, among other features. The first ever floppy disk drive and expandable memory (with external memory card) soon followed. The Apple II became widely used in schools, but demand was growing for a less expensive, user-friendly machine for personal use at home. The Macintosh was widely released in 1992 and revolutionized personal computing, but soon became almost obsolete due the popularity of inexpensive PCs. In 1998, the popularity of Macs came roaring back with the invention of the sleek and trendy iMac, and Apple has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
Windows and Macintosh OS
It was the release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 that was seen as the downfall of the Mac in the ’90s. Windows 3.0 was user-friendly and less expensive than the Mac platform. Throughout the decade, Apple attempted to sell inexpensive, low-end Macs in an attempt to compete with Microsoft and IBM. In 1995, the release of Windows 95 with the Pentium processor was another big threat to Apple, and they started the Macintosh Clone Program in order to compete. This program licensed the Mac operating system for use on other machines, which made it possible for Window users to purchase the Mac OS for use on their PC.
Many positive advances in technology have come about thanks to the competition between Microsoft and Apple. Debuting in 1991, Apple’s QuickTime was the first program to allow users to watch high quality videos on their computer. This set the stage for Microsoft to release a slew of similar programs over the years and paved the way for YouTube and other video sharing websites. Apple also introduced touch pads on their 1994 PowerBooks, which soon became the standard for portable devices.
Microsoft was ahead of its time when it released the Tablet PC in 2011. The tablet didn’t catch on at the time because the current Windows operating system (Windows XP) was too bloated to run smoothly on a tablet. This market failure allowed Apple to step in and create the iPad-a faster and sleeker version of the Tablet PC. In the last few years, Windows 8 has introduced the concept of a “tile window,” which allows users to see several open programs and browsers at once on the same screen. This has become popular enough that Chrome, the Google web browser, introduced a similar feature.
- History of Macintosh: This visual timeline of Macintosh chronicles the evolution of the Mac from 1984 to 2014.
- Apple History – 1976 to 2004: Apple-History is a comprehensive website detailing the history of the brand since its beginning in 1976.
- Apple History – Revolutionary Highlights: This condensed timeline showcases some of the more revolutionary creations by Apple, including the first personal computer to use GUI, the first attempt at a laptop, and more.
- The History of Computer Design – Macintosh: In this article, the author describes the importance of the Macintosh design and how it has been influential to other computer designs over the years.
- A History of Windows: This history of the Windows operating system describes the advances made by the brand from 1975 to 2013.
- How Windows Has Evolved Over the Last 30 Years: In this timeline, the author describes how Microsoft was ahead of its time in many departments, including the invention of the tablet.
- PC vs. Mac – A History Lesson: This article compares the history of Mac to the history of the PC, and allows readers to peek through the (window) of technology throughout the last few decades.
- A History of the Computer – Micro: In this mini history lesson from PBS, the major milestones of Microsoft and Apple are listed in chronological order.
- The Innovative Success that is Apple, Inc. (PDF): Read through this scholarly paper and learn about the many technological innovations of Apple, Inc.
- How Apple Really Lost Its Lead in the ’80s: In this article from Business Insider, the author explores how Apple lots its edge to Microsoft in the 1980s.
- Apple v. Microsoft – Virtual Identity in the GUI Wars: Take a closer look at the copyright law case brought on by Apple to stop Windows from being the next big operating system.
- Battle of the Media Ecosystems: Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft: This in-depth article from Computer World explains the advancements made by these four companies and the advantages possessed by each of them.
- Apple vs. Google – Did Apple Learn Anything From Its War With Microsoft?: An interesting look at the Microsoft vs. Apple war with an emphasis on new technological platforms, like Android.