- Apr 24, 2016
Steve Jobs's original "Apple Computer A" prototype, hand-soldered by Woz in 1976 and used to secure Apple's first big orderHistoric early prototype example of the computer that started it all—Steve Jobs's own Apple-1 Computer prototype, hand-soldered by Steve Wozniak on a unique "Apple Computer A" printed circuit board. In 1976, Jobs used this prototype to demonstrate the Apple-1 to Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, one of the first personal computer stores in the world. The demo resulted in Apple Computer's first big order and changed the course of the company—what Jobs and Woz had conceived as part of a $40 do-it-yourself kit for hobbyists became, at Terrell's request, a fully assembled personal computer to be sold at $666.66. Wozniak later placed Terrell's purchase order for fifty Apple-1s in perspective: 'That was the biggest single episode in all of the company's history. Nothing in subsequent years was so great and so unexpected.'
The board has been matched to Polaroid photographs taken by Paul Terrell in 1976 showing the prototype in use, first published by Time Magazine in 2012 and also covered by Achim Baqué of the Apple-1 Registry. This Apple-1 prototype, listed as #2 on the Apple-1 Registry and considered 'lost' until recently, was examined and authenticated in 2022 by Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen. It is accompanied by Cohen's notarized thirteen-page report.
This prototype resided on the 'Apple Garage' property for many years before being given by Steve Jobs to its current owner approximately 30 years ago. At that time, Jobs had been ousted from Apple and was looking forward to the promise of NeXT and Pixar. The board's present condition lends some insight into Jobs's judgment of it: he saw the prototype not as something to be enshrined, but as something to be repurposed. Several of the ICs have been plucked from their sockets, as have the microprocessor and other components, presumably for use on early production Apple-1 Computers.
Historic early prototype example of the computer that started it all—Steve Jobs's own Apple-1 Computer prototype, hand-soldered by Steve Wozniak on a unique Apple Computer A printed circuit board. In 1976, Jobs used this prototype to demonstrate the Apple-1 to Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte...