updated 03:00 am EST, Mon January 26, 2009
TIME Top 10 Apple Moments
TIME Magazine has created a list of the 'Top 10 Apple Moments,' outlining notable achievements and transitions throughout the company's history. The founding of Apple marks the first item, dating back to 1976 when 21-year-old Steve Jobs joined forces with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The group brought experience from previous positions with HP and Atari. Wayne did not stay with the company through its incorporation, instead selling his stake back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800.
The Apple I personal computer kit holds the next position, remembered as the first Apple computer. The basic device was hand-built by Wozniak in Jobs' parents' garage and sold as a motherboard with CPU, RAM and other components, but lacked a keyboard, monitor, mouse or hard drive.
TIME ranks the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984 as another significant achievement, spurred by the famous Superbowl ad that was directed by Ridley Scott. The commercial featured a dismal futuristic setting modeled after the Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and reminiscent of Scott's previous work with the movie Alien.
Apple's joint-venture with competitor IBM to create the PowerPC chip was another event that made the list. The AIM alliance, which also included Motorola, aimed to create a computing platform with a combination of hardware and software that would establish a formidable opponent to Microsoft.
Jobs' return to Apple has also been viewed as pivotal in the company's success. Although the board ousted him in 1985, he was brought back on in 1997 as the chairman. "He had become a far better leader, less of a go-to-hell aesthete who cared only about making beautiful objects," said Peter Elkind of Fortune. "Now he was a go-to-hell aesthete who cared about making beautiful objects that made money."
The iMac introduction in 1998 set the company apart from many competitors and the device became the best-selling personal computer in the domestic market. The company integrated many of the common peripherals into a self-contained package, while offering a unique aesthetic that combined a bright colored translucent case with a rounded form-factor.
Apple's current image has passed beyond just computers and into the realm of music, driven by the wild success of the iPod debuted in 2001. The devices hold a dominant market share across most of the globe, with total sales that have pushed into the hundreds of millions. The term "iPod" has nearly become a genericized trademark, in a similar way that adhesive bandages are referred to as Band-Aids or tissues called Kleenex.
Mac OS X establishes the eighth item on TIME's list, with the 2001 introduction of the Unix-based operating system that Jobs claimed was so beautiful "you just want to lick it." Mac OS X has contributed to the growing popularity of Apple's computers, with many users drawn to the attractive graphic layout, user interface, speed and stability.
The launch of iTunes in 2003 has further established the company's hold on the digital music market, including song distribution and iPod sales. The store has sold billions of tracks, with millions of available titles to choose from.
The iPhone completes the list of memorable Apple moments. The 2007 launch drew long lines of customers waiting to sign contracts for the handset, which also established itself as TIME's "Invention of the Year." Despite the criticisms and lawsuits that have been aimed at the phone, the current 3G model has become yet another icon for Apple. The App Store has followed a similar route, with total downloads now past 500 million.
[Apple's beginning, image courtesy of Tom Munnecke / Hulton Archive / Getty]
[Apple I, image courtesy of TIME]
[PowerPC, image courtesy of TIME]
[Jobs' return, image courtesy of TIME]
[iMac, image courtesy of TIME]
[1984 Macintosh ad]