Last night I finished the first Apple, written by Apple-1 collector Bob Luther. While it started a bit slow and I was surprised at the book’s format, but by midway, the interview style it was written in hooked me. Now don’t expect a page turner, we’re talking about computer history here.
Bob came by an Apple 1 and his curiosity took him on a trip back in time to learn as much about the facts around the Apple 1, and whether or not the claims about his Apple 1 were true. No spoiler alert needed here. His plot was enough to keep me moving through the book, but it was several of the book’s characters that intrigued me the most.
The other aspect of the book I like is it’s not the same ol’ same ol’- at the risk of sounding sacrilegious…you know the same early guys recounting their spin on those first days. The glue that held the book together for me was the collector interviews, even though they were conducted in the context of the Apple 1 and Bob trying to find out about the history of his machine.
His interviews I found the most interesting range from a rich guy who paid one of the highest prices for an Apple 1 to Apple collectors who have warehouses full of old machines. I loved the interview format that book was written in because you can gleam interesting tales not totally germane to the plot, as well as hear how crazy these collectors are. All collectors are a bit weird and these guys are the pinnacle of crazy and I love it. Another guy Bob interviewed was like the biggest broker of Apple 1s. His story is extremely interesting too.
The book was definitely worth the read. If you are an Apple history fan and/or a collector, you will enjoy it.
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Side note, Woz was onto the Apple II in a blink after the Apple 1. The popularity of the Apple 1 provided Steve and Steve some seed money to help get their infant company to the next phase. Think about it- only 200 Apple 1s were made. Only 200. And while the two Steves and company were fulfilling the Btye Store order of 50, the design of the II was already in Woz’s head. It was the II that propelled Apple into the stratosphere of the fastest growing company in the history of the US.
The Apple 1 sold beginning in July 1976 (it was discontinued in October 1977). The Apple II was introduced in April 1977 and began shipping in June. Not to take anything away from the Apple 1, but without the huge success of the Apple II, there would be no Macintosh, no iPod, no iPhone, no iPad. The company would have disappeared as did all of the other early computer models that started in the late 1970s.