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Piece of Apple History Goes on Sale

David Gilbert


Piece of Apple History Goes on Sale

Today Apple is all about style combined with performance, epitomized by the latest version of the MacBook Air. But it all started somewhere completely different for the manufacturer and next week one of the first ever Apple computers to be produced will go under the hammer here in London.

The Apple-1 was the first step taken in the personal home computer revolution and was built by Steve Jobs' own hands out of his parent’s garage in Los Altos, California in 1976. On Tuesday next, November 23rd, one of these computers will go on sale in Christie’s Auction House with a reserve of between £100,000 and £150,000.

Introduced in July 1976, the Apple-1 was sold without a casing, power supply, keyboard or monitor (similar to the iPad’s lack of camera, USB ports and Flash capabilities then). However, because the motherboard was completely pre-assembled, it represented a major step forward in comparison with the competing self-assembly kits of the day. The Apple-1 packs a 1MHz MOS 6502 CPU, a vast 8K of memory and outputs monochrome 280x192-pixel resolution. It could read and write to cassette.

Priced at $666.66, the first Apple-1s were dispatched from the garage of Steve Jobs' parents' house - the return address on the original packaging included in the lot going under the hammer next week. Jobs and Steve Wozniak built all the first Apple computers in the garage prior to shipping.

It is not clear how many Apple-1s were sold, but by April 1977 the price was dropped to $475, and it continued to be sold through August 1977, despite the introduction of the Apple II in April 1977 (a major advance with integrated keyboard, sound, a plastic case, and eight internal expansion slots). It was officially discontinued by October 1977.

One of the most interesting items included in the lot is an original typed letter from Jobs himself to the owner, which gives advice on how to use the computer. There is also the instruction manual and a picture of an unknown owner of the item for sale with Steve Wozniak along with one of his business cards included in the lot.

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