facts about the invention of the
Personal Computer by Steve
Steve Wozniak in 1976.
|Personal Computers, microcomputers were made possible by two
technical innovations in the field of microelectronics: the integrated circuit, or IC,
which was developed in 1959; and the microprocessor, which first appeared in 1971. The IC
permitted the miniaturization of computer-memory circuits, and the microprocessor reduced
the size of a computer's CPU to the size of a single silicon chip.
The invention of the microprocessor, a machine which
combines the equivalent of thousands of transistors on a single, tiny silicon chip,
was developed by Ted Hoff at Intel Corporation in the Santa Clara Valley south of San
Francisco, California, an area that was destined to become known to the world as Silicon
Valley because of the microprocessor and computer industry that grew up there. Because a CPU calculates, performs logical
operations, contains operating instructions, and manages data flows, the potential existed
for developing a separate system that could function as a complete microcomputer.
||The first such
desktop-size system specifically designed for personal use appeared in 1974; it was
offered by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS). The owners of the system were
then encouraged by the editor of a popular technology magazine to create and sell a
mail-order computer kit through the magazine. The computer, which was called Altair,
retailed for slightly less than $400.
for the microcomputer kit was immediate, unexpected, and totally overwhelming. Scores of
small entrepreneurial companies responded to this demand by producing computers for the
new market. The first major electronics firm to manufacture and sell personal computers,
Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack), introduced its model in 1977. It quickly dominated the
field, because of the combination of two attractive features: a keyboard and a cathode-ray
display terminal (CRT). It was also popular because it could be programmed and the user
was able to store information by means of cassette tape.
Soon after Tandy's new model was introduced, two
engineer-programmersStephen Wozniak and Steven Jobsstarted a new computer
manufacturing company named Apple Computers.
||In 1976, in what is now the Silicon Valley, Steve
Jobs and Steve Wozniak created a homemade microprocessor computer board called Apple I.
Working from Jobs parents garage, the two men began to manufacture and market
the Apple I to local hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts. Early in 1977, Jobs and
Wozniak founded Apple Computer, Inc., and in April of that year introduced the Apple II,
the worlds first personal computer. Based on a board of their design, the Apple II,
complete with keyboard and color graphics capability, retailed for $1290.
|Some of the new features they introduced into their own
microcomputers were expanded memory, inexpensive disk-drive programs and data storage, and
color graphics. Apple Computers went on to become the fastest-growing company in U.S.
business history. Its rapid growth inspired a large number of similar microcomputer
manufacturers to enter the field. Before the end of the decade, the market for personal
computers had become clearly defined.
In 1981, IBM introduced its
own microcomputer model, the IBM PC. Although it did not make use of the most recent
computer technology, the PC was a milestone in this burgeoning field. It proved that the
microcomputer industry was more than a current fad, and that the microcomputer was in fact
a necessary tool for the business community. The PC's use of a 16-bit microprocessor
initiated the development of faster and more powerful micros, and its use of an operating
system that was available to all other computer makers led to a de facto standardization
of the industry.
In the mid-1980s, a
number of other developments were especially important for the growth of microcomputers.
One of these was the introduction of a powerful 32-bit computer capable of running
advanced multi-user operating systems at high speeds. This has dulled the distinction
between microcomputers and minicomputers, placing enough computing power on an office
desktop to serve all small businesses and most medium-size businesses.
Another innovation was
the introduction of simpler, "user-friendly" methods for controlling the
operations of microcomputers. By substituting a graphical user interface (GUI) for the
conventional operating system, computers such as the Apple Macintosh allow the user to
select iconsgraphic symbols of computer functionsfrom a display screen instead
of requiring typed commands. Douglas Engelbart,
invented an "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System": the prototype of the
computer "mouse" whose convenience has revolutionized personal computing. New voice-controlled systems are now available, and
users may eventually be able to use the words and syntax of spoken language to operate
Biography from The Great Idea Finder
from The Great Idea Finder
Computing from The Great Idea
History of Household Items from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages (1983) / Bluewood Books
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a
really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.
Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer
by Douglas K. Smith, Robert C. Alexander / Paperback: 276 pages / iUniverse.com;
Those within the high-tech community certainly appreciate the open ended research
that Xerox PARC conducted which has lined the pockets of so many that were never in any
way associated with Xerox.
Fire in the
Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer
by Paul Freiberger, Michael Swaine / Paperback: 463 pages / McGraw-Hill
Trade; 2nd edition (1999)
Fire in the Valley is an accurate, insightful, and often entertaining look at the
many accidents and mistakes that eventually led to the computer you have on your desktop
Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most
by Owen Linzmayer / Paperback: 323 pages / No Starch; 2 edition
Apple Confidential examines the tumultuous history of America’s
best-known Silicon Valley start-up – from its legendary founding almost
30 years ago, through a series of disastrous executive decisions, to its
return to profitability, and including Apple’s recent move into the
by Mary Northrup / Library Binding - 112 pages (July 1998) / Enslow Publishers, Inc.
This entry in the Collective Biographies series covers major players in the development of
the computer, from Herman Hollerith, the inventor of punch cards, through the inventors of
ENIAC and UNIVAC, as well as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Marc Andreessen of Netscape. Each
section, approximately ten pages long, briefly profiles the subject's early life, then
moves on to cover their contribution to the industry.
ON THE SCREEN:
The Creation of the Computer
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / 73090 / Less than $25.00
Trace the technological advancements that led to the first true modern
"computers" and the rapid progress that saw computers shrink from
room-sized monsters to the desktop units that are revolutionizing life
in the '90s.
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
The incredible breakthroughs and refinements that have marked the
development of the computer are so familiar that they have lost some of
their power to amaze.
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
See how the computing capacity of World-War II era room-sized computers
is now surpassed by hand-held devices; visit Zenith to see a
side-by-side comparison of regular television and HDTV; discover how a
Cold War era NASA program is transforming personal photography, and get
the inside story about MP3s.
Silicon Valley (1999)
Color, Closed-captioned, Dolby, (VHS) NTSC / Rated: NR
Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Noah Wyle (as Steve Jobs) / Director: Martyn Burke
This dramatization of the tangled history of Apple Computer and Microsoft, based on a book
by Paul Frieberger, hits enough of the right notes to make its failures all the more
ON THE WEB:
American Computer Museum
Located in Bozeman, Montana, USA is one of the world's largest and most
comprehensive collection of computer and information age history anywhere on public
From the Microsoft Encarta Online
SciTech, Carbons to Computers series from the Smithsonian Institution.
Dimension - Inventor of the Week
Celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual
awards to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
Featured Steve Jobs and Steve Woziank for their invention of the Personal Computer.
This site is intended to provide a broad history of Apple Computer, Inc., from the
invention of the Apple I in 1976 to the troubled times of the past few years to the
Hall of Fame
Located at Inventure Place, the online home of creative minds. Steve Wozniak was
inducted in 2000 for his invention Microcomputer for Use with Video Display Personal
Computer Patent # 4,136,359.
What was the
first personal computer?
Edmund Berkeley first described Simon in his 1949 book, "Giant Brains,
or Machines That Think" and went on to publish plans to build Simon in a
series of Radio Electronics issues in 1950 and 1951. Presented by the
Blinkenlights Archaeological Institute.
DID YOU KNOW?
- On Novenber 9, 1982 patent D266,848
iddues to Richard Dickinson for Sinclair Computer
Sources in BOLD Type
January 30, 2007.
Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing
The invention of the Internet,
should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed
with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend
book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the
technologically advanced reader alike.
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