News In Brief

An illustrated history of Apple’s products and executives

Matt Berger Aug 24, 2011

Apple: An Illustrated History. Click to see a full-sized version of this illustrated timeline that charts Apple’s milestone products and executive changes against its stock price for the past 30 years.

Today’s announcement that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs will step down from his long-held position as chief executive officer, has many pondering the company’s future without its visionary. But Apple has had a long history of executive changes mixed in with its key product releases. We put together this illustrated timeline to illustrate. The facts for this graphic were culled from the following sources: WikiPedia; CNET; and BusinessWeek.


1976: The Apple I personal computing system is released with a market price of $666.66. The following year, Apple Inc. is incorporated by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.

1977: Michael M. Scott becomes Apple’s first president. Mike Markkula joins the company. Ronald Wayne sells his shares to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Apple II is released.

1978: Apple moves into its new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Apple releases Disc II, which incorporates floppy disks as storage devices rather than the cassette tapes used previously.

1979: Apple Inc. now employs 250 people. It introduces Silentype, the first printer, and also releases Apple II+.

December 1979: Several Apple employees, including Jobs and Jef Raskin, were granted access to Xerox Parc facilities to see the Xerox Alto. Jobs was convinced that all future computers would use a graphical user interface (GUI), a belief that inspires his work in the development of the Apple Lisa.

1980: Apple goes public with 4.6 million shares. Apple III is released to disappointing sales in an attempt to compete with IBM and Microsoft in the corporate computing market.

1981: Steve Jobs becomes Apple’s chairman, and Markkula becomes the company’s president. The European headquarters open in Paris and Slough, England.

1982: The company hits the $1 billion-mark in annual sales. Jef Raskin resigns, and Jobs takes over his lower-cost computer project, the Macintosh, after Jobs was squeezed out of the Lisa computer development team due to infighting over whether the LIsa or the Macintosh would be the first personal computer sold to the public with a GUI.

1983: The Lisa won out: it was marketed to the public and the Lisa and Macintosh divisions were combined. But its high prices and limited software capabilities made it a commercial failure. John Sculley is named president and CEO of Apple.

January 22, 1984: The Macintosh is released, announced by the landmark $1.5 million Superbowl commercial, “1984,” directed by Ridley Scott:

The Macintosh sold well initially, but sales faltered for the same reasons as the Lisa. Later that year, the addition of the Laserwriter and PageMaker software helped reinvigorate sales. Andy Hertzfeld, one of the main authors of the Macintosh system software, leaves the company.

1985: The infighting between Jobs and Sculley escalates. The Board of Directors tells Sculley to limit Jobs’ role; Jobs in turn attempts a coup, for which he’s dismissed from his role at the company. After he leaves, Jobs founds NeXT Software. Wozniak resigns from Apple as well. The same year, President Reagan presents Jobs and Wozniak with the National Technology Medal.

1986: Jobs establishes Pixar, buying LucasFilm’s computer graphics group for $10 million. The Apple Programmers and Developers Association forms. The Macintosh Plus is released.

1987: Mac II and Mac SE are released.

1988: Jean-Louis Gassee is named president of Apple. The company sues Microsoft over its GUI.

1989: The Mac Portable is released. The company is sued by both the Beatles’ Apple Corps and by Xerox.

1990: Jean-Louis Gassee resigns, and Mac LC is released. The company is listed on the Tokyo SE.

1991: Apple releases the PowerBook 100, which set the standard for the modern laptop. It weighed 17 pounds and had a 12-hour battery life. The company also introduced System 7, an upgraded operating system which added color to the interface and introduced new networking capabilities. System 7 would remain the architectural basis for Mac OS until 2001. The magazine MacAddict named the period between 1989 and 1991 the “first golden age” of the Macintosh.

1992: The company reaches its first $2 billion-revenue quarter.

1993: The Newton Messagepad, Apple’s first handheld device, is released – and flops. Michael Spindler is named Apple’s CEO, and Sculley is named chairman. He resigns later the same year. PowerBook sales top the 1-million mark.

1994: The PowerMac 6100/60 is launched. Mac celebrates its 10th birthday.

1995: DOS-compatible Quadra 610 is launched. The one millionth PowerMac is produced.

1996: Gil Amelio replaces Michael Spindler as CEO and implements massive layoffs. The company acquires Jobs’ NeXT Software company. Apple’s fourth-quarter results in $25 million profit.

1997: Amelio is ousted by the Board of Directors from the CEO position after overseeing a three-year record-low stock price and major financial losses. Jobs is named the interim replacement. At the 1997 MacWorld Expo, Jobs announces that Apple will join Microsoft to release new versions of Microsoft Office for the Macintosh, and that Microsoft would make a $150 million investment in non-voting Apple stock.

1998: The iMac/233 is released. The iMac design team was led by Jonathan Ive, who would later be the designer of the iPod and the iPhone. The iMac sold nearly 800,000 units in its first five months. The Newton Operating System is scrapped.

1999: The company invests $100 million in Samsung and sues eMachines over an iMac lookalike.

2000: PowerMac Cube launches. Jobs becomes Apple’s permanent CEO, and chief sales exec Mitch Mandich steps down.

2001: The iPod launches, as well as OS X. The company opens its first retail store in MacLean, Virginia.

2002: iMac G4 launches. Retail stores go overseas.

2003: Jobs is diagnosed with cancer in his pancreas and tries to treat the illness by switching to a special diet, according to a 2008 Fortune magazine article. Apple does not tell investors. iTunes music store opens and hits 25 million downloads.

2004: iMac G5 launches. Jobs, now 49, discloses his cancer to the public when he announces that he had successful surgery to extract a tumor. The ad campaign featuring U2 kicks off.

2005: The Video iPod and iPod Nano launch. Jef Raskin dies at 61. iTunes downloads top 500 million. Jobs talks about his fight with cancer during a commencement speech at Stanford, saying that his surgery had been a success “and I’m fine now.”

2006: The iMac Core Duo launches. Disney buys Pixar, putting Jobs on the board at Disney. Software development leader Avie Tevanian leaves Apple. The PowerMac, iBook and PowerBook brands are retired, replaced by the Mac Pro, MacBook and Macbook Pro. Between early 2003 and 2006, the price of Apple’s stock increased more than tenfold, from around $6 per share to over $80.

2007: Apple Computer, Inc., becomes Apple Inc., because computers are no longer the company’s singular focus. The iPhone and Apple TV are announced. The following day, Apple shares hit an all-time high (at that point) at $97.80.

2008: Apple launches the App store to sell third-party applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Within a month, the store sold 60 million apps and brought in $1 million daily on average. Apple becomes the third largest mobile handset supplier in the world due to the iPhone’s popularity. Apple also releases MacBook Air, a slimmed-down portable computer.

December 16, 2008: After 20 years of attending MacWorld, the company announces that 2009 will be its final year of doing so. And, instead of the expected Jobs, Phil Schiller would deliver the final keynote.

January 14, 2009: Jobs announces in an internal memo that he would be taking a six-month leave to focus on his health.

June 29, 2009: Apple announces Jobs’ return to work. At the time, Apple shares have risen 70 percent since January 15.

2009: Apple releases the iPhone 3GS.

January 27, 2010: Apple announces the impending launch of the iPad.

April 3, 2010: The iPad launches in the U.S., and more than 300,000 units are sold on that day, reaching 500,000 by the end of the first week.

May 2010: Apple’s market cap exceeds that of competitor Microsoft for the first time since 1989.

June 2010: Apple releases the fourth generation iPhone, with video calling, multitasking and a new uninsulated stainless steel design which acts as the phone’s antenna. Some users report a reduction in signal strength due to the new antenna.

October 2010: Apple shares hit an all-time high, surpassing $300.

November 2010: For the first time, The Beatles’ 13 albums are up for sale on iTunes, ending years of talks among Jobs, The Beatles’ management company Apple Corps and The Beatles’ label EMI Group. The group sells more than 2 million songs and more than 450,000 albums in its first week on iTunes.

January 17, 2011: An internal memo from Jobs, now 55, announces he will once again take a medical leave for an indeterminate time period. COO Tim Cook will take up Jobs’ day-to-day operations at the company.

January 18, 2011: Apple’s stock opens for trading at $327.05 per share, down more than five percent from its close on the previous trading day.

August 24, 2011: Steve Jobs announces his resignation as chief executive officer at Apple. Cook takes over, while Jobs takes on role as company chairman.

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