Nobody realizes it at the time, but the tiny $399 iPod with its 5GB hard drive capable of holding 1,000 MP3s will soon transform not only Apple, but also the entire music industry. Honorable Mention Mac OS X Ships: After years of waiting, Mac users finally get memory protection, preemptive multi-tasking, symmetric multiprocessing, and more, but the initial release of Mac OS X isn’t quite ready for the masses.
Finally confident that Apple’s turnaround is no fluke, Jobs agrees to accept CEO role, splitting his time between Cupertino and Emeryville, where he’s also CEO of Pixar. Honorable Mention Power Mac G4 Cube Released: The Cube’s cool industrial design receives a warm reception, but sales turn out to be disappointing.
Officially brought on as an advisor following Next purchase, Jobs subtly orchestrates the removal of Amelio, then assumes the role of interim CEO. Honorable Mention Apple Ships Mac OS 8: To placate the faithful as they wait for a next-generation operating system, Apple releases Mac OS 8.0; it features PowerPC-native Finder, contextual menus, Personal Web Sharing, and other new technologies.
A decade after the 8MHz Mac 128K shipped, Apple makes a bold technological leap to a completely new architecture with PowerPC-based models starting at 60MHz, while maintaining backwards compatibility. Honorable Mention First Mac License Granted: Desperate to boost market share, Apple finally agrees to allow third-party vendors to create legit Mac clones.
After watching its Macintosh products steadily lose market share to Wintel clones, Apple finally sues Microsoft, claiming Windows 2.03 infringes on Lisa/Mac audiovisual copyrights. Honorable Mention Next Computer Introduced: Apple’s sole hardware release of 1988, the Mac IIx, pales in comparison to Jobs’ Next Computer, a 12-inch cube running a Unix-derived operating system.
After losing a boardroom struggle with Sculley, Jobs resigns from Apple, taking a loyal band of employees that would start NeXT. Honorable Mention Microsoft Granted Mac License: In exchange for delaying a Windows version of Excel, Apple grants Microsoft a license to use some Macintosh technology.
The much-anticipated Macintosh, “the computer for the rest of us,” finally ships. It comes with 128K of memory and a price tag of $2,495. Honorable Mention ‘1984’ Commercial Airs: Against the advice of its board, Apple announces the Macintosh by airing the Ridley Scott-directed ‘1984’ commercial during the Super Bowl.
John Sculley, president of Pepsi-Cola, succumbs to Jobs’ promise of a “chance to change the world” as president and CEO of Apple. Honorable Mention Lisa Introduced: The $9,995 Lisa is the world’s first commercial computer with a mouse and GUI, but it bombs due to high cost, slow speed, and incompatibility.
In the largest IPO since Ford went public in 1956, Apple debuts on the stock market with a valuation of $1.8 billion. Of Apple’s 1,000 employees, more than 40 became instant millionaires thanks to their stock options. Honorable Mention Apple III Ships: Priced from $4,340 to $7,800, the Apple III is supposed to be the firm’s flagship business computer, but instead flops badly due to reliability issues.
The Apple Disk II external drive stores 110K on 5.25-inch floppy disks. At $495, Woz’s creation is half as expensive as competitive floppy drives, and much more reliable than cassette tape storage systems. Honorable Mention Apple III Project Starts: Anxious for a follow-up hit to the popular Apple II, Apple launches the ill-fated Apple III project with engineer Wendell Sander at the helm.