12:57 25th Oct, 2012
Apple I Computer Up For Sale In Germany Soon
...And it just works.
It's raining Apples here at TechTree.com! However, this one isn't quite a new launch: An original Apple I will soon be up for auction in Cologne, Germany. Amazingly, it’s in working order — the high bidder will actually be able to power it up and use it. This YouTube video proves that it works. The auction item includes a transformer, monitor, and tape player — all from the Apple I’s time.
If you’re familiar with the history — that is, if names like Altair 8800, IBM PC, Intel 8080, etc. ring old bells — then you know there are many computers that can claim to be the "first personal computer". The Apple I was among the first ready-to-use, affordable personal computers. Its successor — the Apple II, of course — had a display, so it has a claim to the name, too.
Still, the Apple I was Apple’s first computer, made in the same year that the company was formed (1976), designed by Steve Wozniak, assembled in Steve Jobs’ garage, and it cost $666.66 (about Rs 1.5 lakh in today’s rupees) — all of which make it ultra-special.
From The Sacramento Bee, only 43 of the 200 Apple I computers are known to exist, and six are still working. (I wouldn’t have guessed that there was even one working unit; this comes as a surprise to me.)
For younger readers who haven’t used an old Apple, or a ZX Spectrum (which became popular in India), here’s how you used these devices — which looked like motherboards with attached keyboards: You plugged in your TV, tape recorder, and speakers (if you could afford them). Then you "loaded" your game onto the computer via cassette tape. The wealthier among us could afford a microdrive, which loaded the games in a few seconds instead of five to ten minutes. (Yes, gaming was pretty much what we used them for — but some of us did BASIC programming on them, too.) (Nostalgic note: Back then, we had to work to get our games running!)
Back to the Apple I: Collectors the world over were disappointed when one unit attracted only £32,000 (about Rs 28 lakhs) at an auction in London this month. There’s no indication that that unit was in working condition, though. This one, which will be up for auction on 24th November, starts at €70,000 (about half a crore rupees); the Breker auction house is expecting it to go three times as high.
How much would you pay for this Apple I, if you had a five-crore bank balance? If you weren’t allowed to re-sell it, would you rather be gifted an Apple I or an iPhone 5? Which is the "first personal computer"? Tell us below!
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