Apple I

 

Apple Computer 1, also known later as the Apple I, or Apple-1, is a desktop computer released by the Apple Computer Company (now Apple Inc.) in 1976. It was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak's friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. The Apple I was Apple's first product, and to finance its creation, Jobs sold his only motorized means of transportation, a VW Microbus, for a few hundred dollars, and Steve Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500; however, Wozniak said that Jobs planned to use his bicycle if necessary. It was demonstrated in July 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.
The Apple I's built-in computer terminal circuitry was distinctive. All one needed was a keyboard and a television set. Competing machines such as the Altair 8800 generally were programmed with front-mounted toggle switches and used indicator lights (red LEDs, most commonly) for output, and had to be extended with separate hardware to allow connection to a computer terminal or a teletypewriter machine. This made the Apple I an innovative machine for its day. In April 1977, the price was dropped to $475. It continued to be sold through August 1977, despite the introduction of the Apple II in April 1977, which began shipping in June of that year. In October 1977, the Apple I was officially discontinued and removed from Apple's price list. As Wozniak was the only person who could answer most customer support questions about the computer, the company offered Apple I owners discounts and trade-ins for Apple IIs to persuade them to return their computers. These recovered boards were then destroyed by Apple, contributing to their rarity today.
Both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak have stated that Apple did not assign serial numbers to the Apple l. Several boards have been found with numbered stickers affixed to them, which appear to be inspection stickers from the PCB manufacturer/assembler. A batch of boards is known to have numbers hand-written in black permanent marker on the back; these usually appear as "01-00##" and anecdotal evidence suggests they are inventory control numbers added by the Byte Shop to the batch Apple sold them. These Byte Shop numbers have often erroneously been described as serial numbers by auction houses and in related press coverage.