Those were the days when MITS ALTAIR 8800 mircocomputer was seeming insane inspite of its internal technical design which was the first of its kind. Hobbyists who work on it were sensing the difficulty in ‘on-off’ing the whole system of switches in order to make a calculation or perform any other kind of operation on it. And if by mistake a switch is mis-operated or a power failure occurs after clicking the required set of switches, then the user can only sit back and weep….. In the earlier days of Computers, it used to be such a difficult and tedious job instructing a machine, the interface is just made up of switches and LEDs in its front panel with which the user had to perform all kinds of operations that are required to be done.
Feels like quite unimaginable, isn’t it…???! Yes, it is.
In early 1970s, a duo of Steves, namely Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs wanted desperately to bring a change in the world of computer technology, they had already invented the ‘Apple I’ personal computer, which looked nothing more than just a mother board wrapped up in a specially designed wooden-box and put up a keyboard on the top of it. They were now in the line of introducing second version of their personal computer, the Apple II. The Apple II came with an external 5¼-inch floppy disk drive, the Disk II, attached through a controller card. The Disk II interface, created by Steve Wozniak, was regarded as an engineering masterpiece for its economy of electronic components in those days. The two Steves didn’t want their Apple II PC to just be another tech- hobbyists’ toy, rather they wanted it to be used by all the people, in their daily lives, so they looked up for something additional that would help it to be so.
And exactly at the very same point of time, there had been a creation called VisiCalc:
A student, named Dan Bricklin, of Harvard Bussiness School, was seated in the classroom, watching his professor lecturing on how to calculate the estimations and how to analyse the future fate of a company’s income by taking the profit/loss rate of the present and previous years of the company. It was to be done very carefully, as it’s not just mathematics but the prediction of a company’s future, a situation where one mistake would mean disaster. The student was feeling difficulty in performing the calculations as whenever a new investment rate adds-in, the entire process of calcutions has to be erased and re-done again. So, this student thought to put it all into an electronic spreadsheet and build a computer program which would do this ‘erase-all-and-redo’ work by itself and would give out the derived accurate result. So, he met his friend Robert Frankston who was a programmer and discussed the idea with him. After some months of hardwork on
the idea, they came up with a computer program called VisiCalc, which would do the business estimates and would help the people to count their stars before forwarding with an investment in the shares of a company, which many people would do day in and day out.
Apple creators, the two Steves had met Dan Bricklin and Robert Frankston, and all four agreed upon putting the VisiCalc into the Apple II computer.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak participated in the ‘West Coast Computer Faire’ on April 16th 1977, displaying their Apple II infront of the whole world. The architechture built into the Apple II has mesmerized everyone in the exhibition and the VisiCalc had become the main attraction of the product.
That day, the Apple II had incarnated itself as a powerful business tool in the market. Apple II was the biggest commercial success and became the engine that shaked the world in those times.
Apple Inc. from then on went to make new revolutionary changes in the PC market.
Steve Jobs, once visited the Xerox PARC in December 1979 to see the Xerox Alto. The Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) had introduced the world’s first ever computer operating system with GUI (Graphical User Interface). It’s been a very distinctive invention. And Jobs was fascinated by the GUI of Xerox Alto and had forseen the future computer world that would depend entirely on GUIs. He then on strived to introduce the best GUI equipped commercial personal computer into the world. Apple Lisa was to be the next release by Apple, but unfortunately Steve Jobs was pushed out of the Lisa team due to some mishaps, and he took over the project of Macintosh. Lisa won the race by becoming the first PC with GUI to be introduced into the market but had become a commercial failure. Then in 1984 ‘Macintosh’ was released by Apple which went on to become a commercial revolution of the PC market, and was considered Apple’s masterpiece.
Since that day, Apple had changed the way people interacted with the computers. The idea taken up by the Apple computers to develop the graphical interface for the operating systems has brought in many revolutionary advances and had became the reason of today’s world with many finest operating system. The graphical interface for the computer users was the biggest thing that would ever happen in the field of personal computers. It then on went into every application and led all the programs and products to go gaga with the graphical interfaces. Many companies since those times, had believed that GUI is going to be a very big thing and started to restructure the operating system methodologies into a graphical form.
It didn’t ever stop anywhere in the history and is now being the most widely used interface for the computer operating systems.
One Apple in a very distant history, that fell on Newton’s head had changed the world in one way, and another Apple in these modern times of technology, that emerged in a garage of two friends had changed away the world yet again, as never imagined before.
Whatever may be the change, it all started with an ‘Apple’!