Timeline: key dates in the history of Apple

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL; formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) is an American multinational corporation that designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company’s best-known hardware products are the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

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Its software includes the OS X and iOS operating system; the iTunes media browser; and the iLife and iWork creativity and production suites. Apple is the world’s third-largest mobile phone maker after Samsung and Nokia. Established on April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, California, and incorporated January 3, 1977, the company was named Apple Computer, Inc. for its first 30 years. The word “Computer” was removed from its name on January 9, 2007, as its traditional focus on personal computers shifted towards consumer electronics.

The following are key dates in the history of Apple:

1976: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak unveil the first Apple computer in Palo Alto, California. It consists of little more than a circuit board and costs just under $700.

1977: The Apple II with a one-megahertz processor becomes the first mass-produced computer and an instant hit.

1980: Apple becomes a publicly traded company.

1983: Lisa, the first personal computer featuring a mouse for navigating and desktop icons and folders, is introduced. Its failure is blamed on a daunting price of nearly $10 000.

1984: The Macintosh personal computer makes its debut. It is affordable and features innovations such as a disk drive and built-in monitor, along with a mouse.

1997: Jobs returns as head of Apple, more than a decade after being stripped of control in an internal power struggle. Arch-rival Microsoft invests $150-million in the company.

1998: Jobs revamps Apple’s product line, churning out colourful $1300 iMac PCs with monitors and drives in the same casing.

1999: The iBook, marketed as a mobile iMac, is introduced.

2001: Apple launches the iPod pocket digital music player for $399 and opens its first retail store in Palo Alto.

2003: Apple opens online music store iTunes.

2007: Apple kicks off the era of the touchscreen smartphone with the new iPhone.

2010: Apple unveils the iPad tablet computer, a huge hit after it goes on sale in April. Apple passes Microsoft in May as the largest US technology company in terms of market value.


  • 24 August: Jobs announces his resignation as CEO for health reasons and is replaced by chief operating officer Tim Cook, but stays on as Apple board chairman.
  • 4 October: Apple unveils the iPhone 4s, which includes a built-in “personal assistant” but fails to dazzle investors as it is not the next-generation iPhone 5 smartphone many had hoped for.
  • 5 October: Apple announces the death of Jobs at the age of 56.


  • 12 September: Apple introduces its new iPhone 5, a lighter, thinner and more powerful version of its mobile device.
  • 21 September: The iPhone 5 is released around the world. Apple says that it received more than two million orders for the phone in the 24 hours after it began pre-sales online on 14 September.
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