Vintage Apple Products

Vintage Apple Products: Before The iPhone Age


Apple is one of the major leading companies that create devices that most consumers use now. In this article, we’ll take a look at vintage Apple products that paved the way for the products that we’ve grown to love over the recent years.

College dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the popular brand on April 1st, 1978, in a garage in Cupertino, California in the United States.

From iPods, iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads, the industry continues to shape a number of gadgets into technological advancements with each product released.

What most of us do not know is: where did the company, Apple, start from?

We know that Apple first introduced the iPhone to the market in 2007, but what were the vintage Apple products made before then?

Below is a timeline of vintage Apple products that came way before the iPhone.


1. Apple I

Initially named the Apple Computer and later recognized as the Apple I — this was the first product of the company.

Steve Wozniak built and designed the machine himself in 1976 while it was Steve Jobs who suggested selling it.

In order to finance their creation, both Jobs and Wozniak had to sell their belongings. This included a Volkswagen Microbus (Jobs’ only car) and an HP-65 calculator of Wozniak.

In July 1976, the prototype was showcased in Palo Alto, California at the Homebrew Computer Club.


2. Apple II

Apple II was a much more improved computer in comparison to its predecessor, the Apple I. This computer already included the company’s rainbow apple logo.

This design was introduced in 1977 at the West Coast Computer Faire where Jobs introduced the product to the first authorized dealer of Apple in Japan.

The computer stood out from those available in the market because of its graphics and color.

It was marketed as something portable, with its plastic hard case, and had a keyboard built-in, and was able to run VisiCalc, a spreadsheet application.

Apple II used cassette tapes as first storage devices. That later changed to floppy disks with storage of 4 KB RAM, known to be the Disk II.


3.  Apple III

With businesses using the Apple II for the VisiCalc accessory,  in the year 1980, another improved Apple computer was released which became a competitor to IBM in the business computing environment.

The Apple III had an upper and lowercase keyboard while the Apple II was limited to the uppercase.

Despite this, the computer did not sell well because of its tendency to overheat, which as claimed by Wozniak, was caused by the design of the marketing committee on it and not himself.

This led to the remaking of the models and the incorporation of some of its features into the Apple II, but to no prevail, sales still plummeted.


4. Lisa

The Apple Lisa was responsible for introducing the terms mouse, icon, and desktop.

This desktop computer was also among the first to have a graphical user interface.

During the project, Steve Jobs was forced to leave because of a power struggle in the company.

It was then introduced in 1983 in the market at a price of almost $10,000 which was the primary reason for its failure.


5. Apple IIC

In 1984, the Apple IIC was released as a portable computer of the brand.

Despite catering to the user’s convenience in carrying the machine, the computer failed to have a battery installed or a source of power when brought around.

With this, it required a power socket for the computer to be used.

This led to the downfall of the product.


6. The Macintosh

Job’s leave during the Lisa project created an opportunity for him to create the Macintosh which was marketed as a computer that was affordable and portable, and it was said to be a “redefined Lisa”.

The features of this invention include a hard drive with a memory of 2 megabytes and a wider and higher resolution display screen, which was more customized for documents.

What boosted the sales of the Macintosh was its controversial commercial that aired in 1984.

Here, the computer also released its applications called MacPaint and MacWrite.


7. PowerBook 100

The PowerBook 100 was launched as the first laptop product of Apple.

This was designed and made by the company Sony in collaboration with the aforementioned company.

It was released in 1991 and the PowerBook designs that followed, namely the Powerbook 140 and 170, were then solely made by Apple.

In 2005, a magazine entitled Mobile PC, listed the PowerBook 100 as “the #1 gadget of all time”.

The size of this can be comparable to the size of a 13-in MacBook Pro (2012). 

8.  Newton Message Pad

In 1993, this invention was created by Apple as a “digital assistant device” for the platform Newton.

The product was an attempt to be a personal pocket computer.

This gadget had the ability to recognize a user’s handwriting anywhere on the screen whether it is printed, cursive, or both used in a line text.

According to Apple, the Message Pad took six and a half years to be developed.

There were trials to also allow the device to perform calculations, but these were never released.

The makers of this were also responsible for creating the iPod.


9. QuickTake 

The QuickTake was Apple’s first digital camera and, according to Time Magazine, is “the first consumer digital camera”.

Launched during 1994, the camera’s first two versions had a storage capacity of 1 MB and was able to take pictures with 24-bit color and 640×480 sized pixels.

Its first and second model, the QuickTake 100 and 150, were made by Kodak while its third, the QuickTake 200 was later manufactured by Fujifilm.

This product was short-lived because of Apple’s release of the first iPhone which already included a point-and-shoot camera.


The history of Apple is yet to be discovered by many. As more products are released, the more these vintage Apple products are forgotten. Through the years, the inventions made by Apple served as an inspiration for other advancements in technology, especially in the computer industry, which still continues at present. Even today, Apple’s mission stands in creating products for and only for the consumers. 

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