Think Different: 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Apple
The history of Apple is such a great story. Some guys get together to revolutionize the computer world and success. One charismatic one, Steve Jobs, has the company taken from him by traditional business types. After they run it nearly into the ground, they beg Jobs to return, and he does. His skills and personality not only help return Apple to success, but make it the most envied name in all of business. But you’ve seen all of that in movies, or read about it in books, but there are still lots of things you might not already know about Apple. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Apple actually had three founders
We all know that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak put together the first Apple computers in the garage of Woz’s parents’ home in Cupertino, California. But few know that there was a third guy working along with them. Ronald Wayne was a friend of Jobs from when they both worked at Atari, and he agreed to help start Apple with him. Not only did he help develop the computer, he wrote its manual and even came up with Apple’s first logo. When he realized that if Apple didn’t work out, his own assets would be at risk, he decided to bail. He sold his share of the company to the Steves for $800. A real bad move. That share would be worth something like $40 billion now. After the sale, Wayne had a lackluster career in electronics and now sells stamps and coins in a Nevada trailer park. Interestingly, he never owned an Apple product until someone gave him an iPad in 2011.
2. Apple started with a calculator
To get the cash needed to start Apple, Jobs sold his VW Microbus and Woz sold his calculator. That might sound pretty one-sided now, but the fact is that the calculator was worth more than the van. Back in those days, computers were extremely rare, and a good scientific calculator, a programmable one yet, was worth its weight in gold (almost, actually, the 312 gram Hewlett-Packard HP-65 calculator retailed for $795 and 312 grams of gold in 1976 probably would have sold for anywhere from $1,100 to $1,400). It’s a credit to Woz’s salesmanship that he managed to get $500 (about $2,000) for it. Sadly, the market for scientific calculator hasn’t stayed strong. You can buy a decent one for eight bucks (or sue one for free online), and can even get a working condition HP-65 on eBay for less than $50.
3. Steve Jobs’ biological parents put him up for adoption
University of Wisconsin student Joanne Schieble found herself to be pregnant in 1955. Although she and her boyfriend, Syrian immigrant Abdulfattah Jandali, had a strong relationship, pressure from her parents coerced Schieble into reluctantly putting the baby up for adoption. Although she specified that the baby should go to an educated couple, he was adopted by Paul Jobs, a high school dropout, and Clara Jobs, who hadn’t finished college. Schieble and Jandali later married and had Jobs’ sister, Mona Simpson. Jandali, who manages a Nevada casino, never met his son, but the two did exchange brief emails just before Jobs died.
4. Steve Wozniak is still an Apple employee
Woz never liked working at Apple once it got big, and hated management duties. After an airplane crash in 1981, he stopped showing up to work regularly and officially quit fulltime employment in 1987. But he remained an Apple employee, first working on a universal remote control, then reducing his official role to being an ambassador of sorts, shilling the Apple name at public and private appearances. His $120,000 a year salary pales next to his income from Apple stock.
5. Apple’s first computer had a Satanic connection
The retail price of Apple’s first computer, the apple-1, was $666.66. When asked why he came up with that price, Woz (who claims to have had no idea that it had Biblical overtones) claimed that it was because he wanted a one-third markup over the wholesale price. But that would have made the price $666.67, it was pointed out to him. Woz then replied that straight sixes is easier to type, and that he has an affinity for repeating numbers. Woz being Woz, the questions stopped there.
6.Forget standard shipping, apple flies all their products first class to customers
Instead of shipping assembled products from China, Apple flies all of it. Of course, it’s more expensive, but it has its advantages. By arriving on average in 15 hours (shipping usually takes 30 days), they get on shelves quickly and Apple doesn’t have to pay interest on its investment in them. Apple also believes that aircraft are much harder to hijack and less likely to meet with catastrophic accidents than ships. Because of their fixation with flying, Apple is Cathay Pacific’s biggest corporate customer.
7. Steve Jobs hated the name Macintosh
When Jobs became interested in Jef Raskin’s Macintosh project, it went on the fast track. Raskin had named the project after his favorite variety of apple, and Jobs was okay with that as an internal project name, but found it too cute for the marketplace. Once, when Raskin was not in the office, Jobs tried to change the product’s name to bicycle, but it was in the era when the suits were in charge of Apple, and his request was shot down.
8. Apple: Hope you like your computers white
When Jobs returned to Apple, he was determined to make computers look cool. He wanted them to be something people would proudly show off, rather than consider a necessity or appliance. He hand-selected Jony Ive from Apple’s design department and let him run wild. The one part of Ive’s design sense Jobs was not fully sold on was the use of the color white. So he asked for an alternative. Ive quickly prepared the same products in a color he called “Moon Gray.” Jobs hated them, and white became the dominant color of Apple products from then on.
9. Apple believes in lucky outfits, which explains Jobs’ iconic turtleneck, jeans and new balances
One of the ways Jobs made an impression on the public consciousness was to always wear the same iconic outfit at public appearances. His uniform — that consisted of a black St. Croix mock turtleneck, Levi 501s and New Balance crosstrainers — made it easy to recognize and identify with him. Even though Jobs is gone, the tradition continues. Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Industrial Design and the company’s public face, wears the same T-shirt (same style, color and manufacturer) for every one of his public appearances.
10. The first iPod came with an Easter Egg – you could play breakout
When the first iPod came out, it was a massive success. When one of the reviewers was gushing about it, he also found that it came with a secret. In his review for Geek.com, Nick Triano wrote: “Go to the About menu, hold down the center button for about three seconds, and you’ll get a Breakout (Pong) game to play while you listen.” Nobody has claimed responsibility for putting the game in there, but it’s noteworthy that Breakout was one of the games Jobs and Wozniak worked together on at Atari. Of course, Breakout is a huge part of Apple lore because the Steves decided to split the fee 50-50 and when Atari gave Jobs $5,000, he told Woz they had given them $700 and gave him his $350 “share.”
11. Apple is all about Isaac Newton – their first logo even incorporated the physicist
Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was an English physicist and mathematician who is considered by many to be the smartest person to have ever lived. The founders of Apple certainly thought so. The name Apple comes from the apocryphal story that says that Newton was inspired to come up with his theories of gravity when an apple fell from a tree onto his head (it’s almost true, he was inspired by an apple falling from a tree, but it did not conk him on the noggin). And the company’s original logo, drawn by the unlucky Wayne, featured a picture of Newton sitting under and apple tree with the words: “Newton—-‘A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought — alone.’” And, of course, Apple also marketed one of the first handheld computers, the Apple Newton, from 1987 to 1998.
12. Apple sold a digital camera before everyone else did
In 1994, when film, developing and disposable flash bulbs were still big business, Apple brought out the first mass-produced color digital camera. Called the Apple QuickTake 100, it was revolutionary, but it had its drawbacks. It could only take eight pictures, there was no digital viewfinder and the picture quality wasn’t great. At $749 (about $1,200), it found few takers and was dumped in 1997, just before the digital camera revolution.
13. Apple Makes A Lot Of Money, Raking In Over $5,000 Per Second
Okay so it’s not all that surprising that Apple makes a lot of money, but the actual numbers are. In 2013, the brand generated $171 billion in revenue. There are 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour day, and 365 days in a calendar year. This means that averaged out over the entire year, Apple is raking in just north of $5,400 every second, of every day. That’s a whole lot of money.
14. Apple Has More Cash On Hand Than The U.S. Treasury
That’s right, the tech brand we all know and love has more operating cash on hand than the U.S. Treasury does to run our government. And the worst part is, it’s not even close. As of 2014, Apple reports $160 billion in cash available on the balance sheet, while the Treasury has only $49 billion. So what is Apple doing with all that cash? Well for starters they are currently building a spaceship inspired, 2.8 million square-foot headquarters in Cupertino. The cost you ask? The budget is currently set at $5 billion, but judging from the renderings (along with Apple’s constant quest for perfection) we imagine it could end up being even more when all is said and done.
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