Today is a celebration of my newest addition to my Apple collection. I acquired a sealed, Brand New- still in the Box and never opened, 1st Gen iPad.
The original iPad was released in April of 2010. No, it’s not a vintage machine, like a lot of my collection, but it is still super significant. Steve was hyper-excited about it too. It represented one of his highest milestones of Apple innovation.
And while I bought the 1st Gen iPad the first day they went on sale and now have retired it to my collection (for sentimental reasons), I made the decision to get this one because it’s never been opened and is brand new, and I like sealed, new in the box Apples of all varieties. They are more expensive than a used collectible, but, if and when I ever decide to sell, they will be much easier to sell and will command a premium.
Apple fans love the iPad. It is one of the more recent Apple innovations and has Steve’s fingerprints all over it. He foresaw it back in 1983, built it when technology allowed and then launched it in 2010. Today, 6 years later, the iPad seems commonplace, but at the time the iPad was unlike any other Apple product, and man, was it cool!
“The iPad is a magical and revolutionary device.” Steve Jobs
One of the things I find most interesting is it is obviously a computer, but to the non-computer literate, it isn’t seen as such. It simply doesn’t have the intimidation factor of a computer to someone who never owned one before. It wasn’t intended to be a workhorse, like a laptop (albeit the iPad Pro is a step in that direction). Instead, it is a machine made for surfing the web, playing on social media and checking email. Yes, I know there are almost 800,000 iPad apps allowing tons of functionality, but I don’t play games, nor do I want to do ‘work’ on my iPad.
Because the iPad is the ultimate in mobile computing, I love it. Steve’s vision early on was three things: make computing personal, make it mobile and make it so someone can learn to use it in 20 minutes. And man, is the iPad the dream machine, more than another product they’ve made (and yes, I know the iPhone offers those three also, but it is more like mini-me to me). The iPad, on the other hand, is the coolest Apple product ever. I do realize too, Apple didn’t invent the tablet. No, they didn’t invent a lot of things, but perfect it, now that they did.
Collecting pieces of Apple’s history is fun. I like the devices, but at the same time I get off on the era they reflect.
There are many examples from Apple’s history illustrating their willingness to step out with a revolutionary device, but sometimes they’d let another company make a device first. Obviously, they didn’t produce the first MP3 player, nor did they make the first smartphone or even the first tablet. In those cases, Apple knew they could make each of these better. Significantly better. They did just that. We now know the iPod ultimately became a core product for the computer maker.
The iPod and all the generations and models stand as an icon representing THE device for music lovers. Fast forward to today, we know the iPhone cannibalized the iPod, but Apple knows when that is likely to happen with their devices and machines.
From the introduction of the “classic” first gen iPod, Apple wanted to stay way ahead of the competition. I don’t know if we could call the original iPod revolutionary, like the iPhone and iPad, but Steve stood on it as significantly more user-friendly than the other MP3 devices available at the time.
Apple also has this way about making their products, and in this case, the iPod, super cool and they made us see it that way too.
That’s how they succeeded with the iPod. Apple branded this device as the hippest thing on the planet. I love the dancing silhouettes campaign particularly and it was with the introduction of their 3rd generation iPod in 2003 when the dancing started. Just a silhouette of a person rocking out, but with a white device held in their hand, and of course, white earbuds in their ears.
Apple launched the 3rd gen in April of 2003 and, of course, Steve was out there bragging on it.
“The competition hasn’t even caught up with our first generation iPod, and we’re introducing our third generation,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
And then Apple started a new ad campaign with the dancing silhouettes in September of that year. The first ads were placed on outdoor billboards in Los Angels. After three months of silhouette advertising, iPod sales were up by 50 percent over that of the previous quarter. In the U.S. by then, the iPod also had the biggest market share of all MP3 players. Apple outspent the competition by “a factor of about a hundred” according to Steve.
Apple, meanwhile, was doing a full-court press pushing for a media “buzz effect” on its iPod + iTunes music and marketing. By December 2003, Apple’s PR machine had secured 6,000 iPod stories in publications worldwide. Advertising Age magazine named Apple “marketer of the year” based on the its iPod advertising campaign.
Apple sold over two million iPods, and iTunes more than 50 million songs by the end of 2003. They stopped using the dancing silhouettes in 2011 and by that time they had sold over 300 million iPods and we’d downloaded over 15 Billion songs off iTunes. I’d say all the dancers performed very well for the music giant.
In 1979 Apple Computer employed 250 people and they worked in only four buildings there in Cupertino. And looking back now with Apple employing over 110,000 employees and building a new 28 million square foot building, I think we can say that year was smack dab in the middle of Apple’s very early days. The Apple II, released in 1977, was selling like hot cakes and the Macintosh project was just getting underway. Apple had not yet gone public and only incorporated two years earlier.
That same year Apple released the Apple Graphics Tablet (AGT). A highly innovative device used to draw and paint. The tablet drew power directly from the Apple II and was originally to be used with a television set rather than a monitor. It’s easy for us today to look at this tablet and almost snicker, especially considering the capabilities of the new iPad Pro launched this last year. And while the AGT looks archaic now, it was super cool and cutting-edge back then. Unlike the Pro today, it was only an input device for creating images on the Apple II’s screen and for a little perspective, it predated the Apple II’s mouse by six years.
The $650 graphics tablet came with an interface card, a stylus, cables, a plastic overlay, a manual and software on a 5.25-in. floppy disk. This tablet was large too- 15.5 x 15.5 x 1 inches and weighed 6 pounds. The Pro, for comparison, is 12.04 x 8.69 x 0.27 inches and weighs only 1.57 pounds.
One of the most interesting things about the AGT is it required an expansion card that both the tablet and the stylus had to be connected to. The expansion card is crazy looking too, like a robot’s internal organs.
I was fortunate back in 2010 to grab a Mint tablet, along with everything the manual says should be included, short of the piece of foam tape, warranty card and static cloth. I also got one of the first paint programs for the AGT, the Utopia Graphics System, with two disks and mint condition manual.
A real interesting comparison between the AGT and an iPad (not the Pro though) is over at ComputerWorld. Check it out.
I was going to show you how it worked, but couldn’t find a single video on YouTube about it. Crazy.
Source: Apple Graphic Table GIF: Countach
The unveiling of Macintosh
"When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."