news hardware You can buy Apple’s first-ever computer… if you have a lot of money
It’s a beautiful piece of history currently up for auction: a working Apple I, signed by its creator, Steve Wozniak. Of course, prices skyrocket.
As of this writing (Friday, June 10 at 11:23 am, to be completely transparent), I received a copy from Apple
over $201,000 on eBay
. The auction ends on Sunday at 6 p.m. and should rise significantly by then. In fact, previous Apple I models sold have all surpassed $450,000, with a December 2020 record of $736,862.
But what are we talking about exactly? Simply since the very first computer designed by Apple in 1976. The company was a few months old at the time and had three founding members: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The computer was designed by Wozniak and assembled in the Jobs family garage. So Apple really started out in a Silicon Valley garage, as the legend of any good Californian startup would have it.
A “hand” built computer for a small handful of buyers
Before 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 meant to be particularly handcrafted. An estimated 200 units were produced – all assembled by hand – and 50 of these were sold by a local electronics store.
And don’t imagine a complete computer: when you bought an Apple I, you left it with a “basic” motherboard and it was up to you to add a case, keyboard and display. However, the fact that all the components are already assembled (processors, memory, etc.) is a first in computer history and simplifies things considerably.
The Apple I ran a MOS Technology 6502 processor clocked at 1MHz and offered 8K of RAM. Graphically, it could display 40 x 24 characters. The Apple I sold for $666.66 at launch for an estimated cost of $540 according to Steve Wozniak. If we take inflation into account, this equates to around $2700 today, or around $2548.
A unique copy of the Apple I for sale on eBay
This example of the Apple that I am putting up for auction is a rarity in several respects: it is one of the rare models that are still functional thanks to a first-class restoration that has retained almost all 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 in 1977 by an executive of the oil company Schlumberger Overseas SA. He then went to Europe and made it the first Apple I to be released in the United States. It was then acquired in a previous sale by the private collection AAPL Collection.
Finally, the icing on the cake: This Apple I was personally autographed by Steve Wozniak in 2021, which further increases its value.
In short, this veritable piece of computing history is almost unique and a testament to Apple’s impressive journey: from its beginnings in a humble garage in an American suburb to the gigantic Apple Park in Cupertino, the company knew how to build and nurture its legend.