Since its humble beginnings as a computer company flogging hand built machines conceived by an out of work college dropout, the Apple empire has certainly come far. Today, Apple Inc has almost 50,000 employees and reported a $14 billion profit in 2010, becoming one of the most valuable computer technology companies in the world. Moreover, it has become a unique brand phenomenon with Apple products being snatched up all across the world – and consumers are still clamouring for more.
From the first Apple I to the iPhone 4 – here's a look back at some of big Apple wins and a few of its failures through the years.
1976 – Apple was first founded on 1 April 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Wayne subsequently sold his share of the company back to his partners for $800. The first offering by the company was a hand built Apple I personal computer retailing for $666.66.
1977 – The Apple II was introduced. Boasting colour graphics, open architecture and a floppy disk drive interface, the Apple II was positioned well ahead of its competitors and subsequently became the personal computer of choice for the business world with the VisiCalc spreadsheet program.
1983 – The Apple Lisa was launched, the first to feature a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
1984 – Apple launches the Macintosh with its powerful TV commercial directed by Ridley Scott. The Mac was a success thanks to its advanced graphical capabilities – perfect for desktop publishing.
1985 – Co-founder Steve Jobs resigns from Apple and goes on to develop a new computer company, NeXT Inc.
1989 – 1991 – Macs go portable with the Macintosh Portable and the PowerBook, which set the ground for the layout and ergonomic design for most future laptops and personal computers.
1986 – 1993 – During this time, Apple produces a few product flops including a digital camera, portable CD players and video consoles. The Newton was Apple's foray into portable handheld computing devices but also had limited success.
1996 – Apple purchases NeXT, bringing Steve Jobs back into Apple as an advisor. He eventually became the interim CEO until 2000 when he officially stepped into the role permanently.
1998 – The iMac, with its advanced digital video editing capabilities, would become the launching pad for Apple's return to being a computer industry leader.
2001 – Apple introduces the first generation iPod which would revolutionise the digital music industry and become hugely successful with almost 300 million iPod units in its various forms and generations sold since its debut.
2003 – To follow up on the iPod's success, Apple launches its iTunes store.
2005 – Apple releases its popular line of Intel powered computers with the introduction of the popular MacBook, MacBook Pro and iMac. These would eventually come to replace its previous models of the PowerBook, iBook and Power Mac. Today, the Intel powered models have been updated and re-released and continue to be some of the most popular computer models sold today.
2007 – The first Apple iPhone is launched revolutionising smart phone technology and mobile computing. The App Store allowed third party developers to make and distribute iPhone compatible applications, including some of the most popular games today, like Words with Friends and Angry Birds.
2010 – Continuing to blaze new paths, Apple introduces the iPad tablet computer that worked with all iPhone applications. The iPad has already sold almost 15 million units in its first year and consumers are already looking to buy or rent an iPad 2.
Today, Apple fans are waiting for more updates on their favourite products with the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 expected to debut in 2011.