Someone has just bought one of the first computers built by Steve Jobs – and it still works.
The rare Apple-1 was one of just 200 the late Apple founder and Steve Wozniak designed, created and sold in 1976. Now, it has been sold for more than £100,000.
Although relatively humble looking now, it was this machine that gave birth to the humongous Apple empire. It was also the first ever ready-made PC to come on the market, costing $666 at the time.
Apple-1 had a tiny 8K of RAM – around 600,000 times less than is standard in Apple computers today. It wouldn’t have even been able to store one song.
There are thought to be only 60 Apple-1 computers that have survived, with just eight still in working order.
Just 200 were made at first
This particular machine, Apple-1 No. 01-0073, belonged to a software engineer from Berkeley in California’s Silicon Valley, who has had it ever since he bought it new at the time.
And it had extremely good provenance. It came with a rare white ceramic 6502 microprocessor and a complete set of time-correct chips and historic documents, including receipt of purchase from November 1976 and the earliest provisional manual.
It even had contemporary notes of telephone conversations between the owner and Wozniak – also known as Woz – from 1977.
Of the 200 machines made by Jobs and Woz, 50 were sold to a local shop called Byte.
It had just 8k of RAM
Uwe Breker, from the Team Breker auctioneers in Cologne, Germany, said: ‘The Apple-1 really is the symbol for the American dream.
‘Two students had an idea, built and marketed it, and 40 years later it is the highest valued company ever.
‘Steve Wozniak designed the Apple-1 computer, the first fully assembled computer kit, in 1976 and Steve Jobs took on the task of selling it.
‘In Jobs’ parents garage the pair built 200 Apple machines and sold 50 to a computer shop called Byte.
‘The shop marketed it with the slogan “Byte into an Apple” which gave Jobs the idea for the iconic logo we know so well today.
It had been kept by the original owner since they first bought it in the 70s.
‘As with all Apple products the Apple-1 wasn’t around long before a better model was launched, but a legend had begun.
‘The rest is history.
‘You couldn’t actually do very much with the Apple-1. You had to load your program each time on a cassette and it only had eight kilobytes of memory – enough for only the most basic of word processing.’
The computer was sold to a buyer in the room for a hammer price of £78,000, which rose to £115,000 with fees included.