1978-1981

1978

  • Exidy sells the Sorcerer ($895), with a Z-80, 8K RAM, 12K ROM, and serial, parallel, and cassette interfaces. It could use plug-in ROM cartridges and had user-definable characters.[1]
  • Epson releases the MX-80, one of the first low-cost dot-matrix printers.[2]
  • To improve the transmission of data packets between different networks, an Internet Protocol (IP) is added to the previous TCP concept, and the combination is officially called TCP/IP.[3]

1978 January

Applesoft I is released on cassette (the manual is dated November 1977, but the software was not ready to release until January).

1978 February

Apple II Reference Manual (also known as the “Red Book“) released.[4]

Call-A.P.P.L.E. begins publication.[5]

Ward Christensen, a member of the Chicago Area Computer Hobbyist Exchange (CACHE) starts the Computer Bulletin Board System (CBBS) in order to allow members to communicate and exchange information. It runs on an S-100 computer system, and connects callers at 110 and 300 baud.[6]

1978 April

Apple II Communications Card released.[7]

1978 May

Applesoft II released on cassette, adding hi-res graphics commands.[8]. The revised manual (“Blue Book”) does not come out until August.

Contact, Apple’s first user newsletter, begins publication.

1978 June

Disk II floppy disk drive introduced (DOS 3, still buggy, not released, Jun 29, 1978).[9],[10], [11],[12]

1978 July

Apple DOS 3.1 released July 20, 1978.[13],[14]

1978 August

Apple II Serial Interface Card released.[15]

1978 September

Apple sells 7600 computers in fiscal 1978.[16]

1978 October

Softside begins publication.

1978 November

Orange Computer, one of the first Apple II clones, appears at the Third West Coast Computer Faire.[17]

1979

  • Intel introduces the 8088 processor.[18]
  • Hayes Microcomputer Products begins selling the Micromodem 100 for S-100 bus computers, one of the first modems that had a direct connect line for the phone rather than sending and receiving the tones through the handset.[19]
  • A database program called Vulcan by Wayne Ratliff appears; it later is known by the name dBase II.[20]
  • MITS (under Pertec management) goes out of business.[21]

1979 February

Programmer’s Aid #1 announced.

DOS 3.2 released Feb 16, 1979.[22],[23]

Apple President Mike Scott tells Apple employees not to use typewriters any longer; only computers are to be used for all office functions.[24]

1979 March

Jef Raskin proposes the original Macintosh project to Mike Markkula.

1979 May

Processor Technology (creator of Sol computer) goes out of business.[25]

1979 June

Apple II Plus introduced.[26], [27]

Applesoft Firmware Card released for Apple II, making it possible for these older computers to use Applesoft.[28]

Apple Silentype printer (which used thermal paper) introduced.[29]

William von Meister announces The Source, the first consumer-oriented online service for personal computer users equipped with modems.[30]

1979 July

DOS 3.2.1 released July 31, 1979.[31],[32]

CompuServe makes its computer network available for non-peak (evening and weekend) use as a commercial online service called MicroNET, offering bulletin boards, databases,and games for users of personal computers equipped with modems.[33]

MAUG (MicroNET Apple User Group) is one of the early forums on CompuServe.

1979 August

Apple Pascal and the Language System released.[34]

1979 September

Apple sells 35,100 computers in fiscal 1979.[35]

Macintosh project formally begins, although some preliminary work was done as early as late 1978. It is given the code name “Macintosh”, since project leader Jef Raskin’s favorite apple was the Mcintosh. The name misspelling was done on purpose to avoid conflict with an audio manufacturer, McIntosh Labs.

IMSAI goes out of business.[36]

1979 October

VisiCalc released by Personal Software, Inc.[37]

International Apple Core formed in San Francisco.

Contact, Apple’s first user newsletter, ceases publication.

Compute! begins publication.

1979 November

Programmers for Apple’s Lisa project writing their Pascal code on Apple II computers are running out of space, having filled up the available 64K space on a Language card-equipped Apple II. Burrell Smith designs a Language Card with an additional 16K of RAM, creating one of the earliest bank-switched memory cards for the Apple II to allow it to exceed the 64K barrier.[38]

Atari 400 and 800, with a 6502 processor, finally ship (they were announced in late 1978). The Atari 400 had a membrane keyboard, and the 800 came with 8K expandable to 48K, and both could take ROM cartridges.[39]

TI-99/4 computer by Texas Instruments is introduced ($1150), including a 16-bit TMS9900 processor, a color monitor, and a poorly designed keyboard. It was slow, and the company kept a tight reign on peripheral and software cartridge support, which made it difficult for third parties to support it.[40]

1980

  • Sinclair Research introduces the ZX80 (sold in Great Britain), with Z-80 processor, with 1K RAM, 4K ROM (integer BASIC), and a membrane keyboard. It is the first microcomputer to cost less than $200. Its successor, the ZX81, is later sold as the Timex-Sinclair in the U.S.[41]
  • Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Color Computer, with a 6809 processor, and capability of using ROM program cartridges.[42]
  • Digital Research announces CP/M-86.[43]
  • WordPerfect announced for Data General computers.[44]
  • Personal Software introduces Zork for the Apple II, an advanced version of the old game Adventure.[45]
  • H&R Block purchases CompuServe, and renames its MicroNET service to “CompuServe Information Service”.[46]

1980 January

Nibble begins publication.

1980 March

Apple Orchard begins publication.

Osborne 1 Portable computer introduced at the Fifth West Coast Computer Faire, with Z-80 processor, 64K RAM, two serial interfaces, two 5.25 disk drives, 5-inch monitor built-in, and $2000 worth of software bundled with it ($1795).[47], [48]

1980 May

Online Systems begins business with the game Mystery House, the first hi-res graphics adventure for the Apple II.[49]

The Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard (later called just “Microsoft SoftCard”) first demonstrated at the Fourth West Coast Computer Faire. This card provided a Z-80 processor that was used parallel to the 6502 on the motherboard, allowing the Apple II to run CP/M software. It sold 5,000 in just three months, and continued to be a popular product for several years.[50], [51]

1980 June

Sirius Software begins business.[52]

1980 July

Broderbund Software begins business.[53]

1980 August

Apple DOS 3.3 released Aug 25, 1980.[54],[55]

Peelings II begins publication.

IBM meets with Microsoft regarding Project Chess, their planned personal computer. Microsoft is asked to supply computer languages for this computer, and in order to help provide IBM an operating system appropriate for a small computer they purchase the rights to SCP-DOS from Seattle Computer Products. This forms the basis for PC-DOS (MS-DOS) that was provided with the IBM PC when it was released.[56]

1980 September

Apple III introduced. It had the 6502B processor, came with a built-in disk drive and four peripheral slots, and sold for $3495.[57]

Apple sells 78,100 computers in fiscal 1980.[58]

Softalk begins publication.[59]

1980 October

Apple Assembly Line begins publication.[60]

1980 November

Apple reorganizes. Mike Markkula becomes President and CEO, and Mike Scott becomes Vice-Chairman.[61], [62]

1980 December

Apple’s initial public stock offering; 4.6 million shares were purchased.[63]

1981

  • Timex-Sinclair 1000 sold for under $100 in the U.S.[64]
  • Atari VCS and Mattel Intellivision home video games introduced.[65]
  • The Xerox Star is announced. It took the Alto of 1973 and moved it forward, but it was a closed system and was expensive at $16,000. Steve Jobs’ tour of the Palo Alto Research Center included a preview of the Star, and inspired him to develop the graphic interface later used in the Lisa and Macintosh.[66]
  • Bill Mensch and his company, Western Design Center, creates the 65c02, a low-powered CMOS version of the 6502.[67]

1981 January

Apple Super Serial Card released.[68]

Steve Jobs, blocked from working on the Lisa computer project, discovers the Macintosh project that Jef Raskin has been developing, and begins to assemble a team to advance work on it.[69]

The problems causing Apple III‘s to mysteriously fail are identified, and steps are taken to correct them.[70]

Commodore introduces the VIC-20, with a 6502A processor, 5K RAM, BASIC in ROM, serial, cassette, and modem interfaces, and color. It could take program cartridges, and sold for $299.

1981 February

Steve Wozniak and his fiance, Candy Clark, are injured in plane crash; he begins a leave of absence.[71]

Apple announces that it will no longer offer a built-in clock/calendar in the Apple III, due to unavailability of reliable parts. The price is dropped $50 in compensation for this missing component.

“Black Wednesday” at Apple. Forty employees are fired in the wake of problems with the Apple III and other projects.[72]

1981 March

Shipments of the Apple III resume after correction of reliability problems.

Apple’s first million dollar shipping day.[73]

1981 April

Steve Jobs becomes chairman of Apple Computer, Inc.[74]

1981 May

Work begins on custom Apple II chips, and the Apple IIe project begins.[75]

1981 June

Central Point Software releases Copy II Plus v1.0.

Apple begins airing commercials featuring Dick Cavett as a spokesman for their products.

The Boston Computer Society holds Applefest ’81, the first Apple-only trade show at the Boston Plaza Castle, on June 6-7.

1981 July

Mike Scott leaves Apple.[76]

Hardcore Computist begins publication.

Elk Cloner virus first appeared.

1981 August

IBM PC introduced.[77]

1981 September

Apple sells nearly 180,000 computers in fiscal 1981.[78]

Apple introduces the Profile 5 MB hard disk for the Apple III, for $3499.[79]

Softdisk begins publication as one of the first disk-based magazines (calls itself a “Magazette”, for magazine on diskette.)

1981 October

Apple introduces the Family System for home use. It includes an Apple II Plus computer, Disk II drive, RF modulator, tutorial, software, manuals, and software directory, all for $2495.

1981 November

Apple announces that it will no longer allow its products to be sold to consumers via mail or telephone orders. As a result, six retailers file suit against Apple.

1981 December

Apple III re-introduced after solution of technical problems.[80]

Virus 3 (Dellinger Virus) written.

NOTES

  1. [1] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  2. [2] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  3. [3] Hafner, Katie & Matthew Lyon. Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996: 236-237.
  4. [4] Chien, Philip. “The First Ten Years: A Look Back”, The Apple II Review, Fall/Winter 1986: 12.
  5. [5] —–. “A.P.P.L.E. Co-op Celebrates A Decade of Service”, Call-A.P.P.L.E., Feb 1988: 12-27.
  6. [6] Derfler. Jr., Frank L. “Dial Up Directory”. Kilobaud Microcomputing Magazine, April 1980: 80-82. (reproduced on “An Interview With Ward Christensen and Randy Suess”,PortCommodore.com (Dec 2002) http://www.portcommodore.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=larry:classiccomp:bbs:about_cbbs)
  7. [7] Bernsten, Jeff. GEnie, A2 Roundtable, Apr 1991, Category 2, Topic 16.
  8. [8] Bernsten, Jeff. GEnie, A2 Roundtable, Apr 1991, Category 2, Topic 16.
  9. [9] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  10. [10] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  11. [11] Deatherage, Matt. “The Operating System”, The Apple II Guide, Fall 1990: 117-125.
  12. [12] ——. Contest Winners, Softalk, Sep 1983: 299.
  13. [13] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  14. [14] ——. Contest Winners, Softalk, Sep 1983: 299.
  15. [15] Bernsten, Jeff. GEnie, A2 Roundtable, Apr 1991, Category 2, Topic 16.
  16. [16] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  17. [17] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  18. [18] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  19. [19] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  20. [20] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  21. [21] Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. Fire In The Valley. Berkley, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984: 53.
  22. [22] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  23. [23] ——. Contest Winners, Softalk, Sep 1983: 299.
  24. [24] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  25. [25] Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. Fire In The Valley. Berkley, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984: 124.
  26. [26] Rubin, Charles. “The Life & Death & Life Of The Apple II”, Personal Computing, Feb 1985: 73.
  27. [27] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  28. [28] Connick, Jack. “…And Then There Was Apple”, Call-A.P.P.L.E., Oct 1986: 26.
  29. [29] —–. “Apple and Apple II History”, The Apple II Guide, Fall 1990: 9-16.
  30. [30] Lessard, Daniel. 2002. “PC’s Timeline”. pcbiography (click on “PC’s Timeline” link).
  31. [31] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  32. [32] ——. Contest Winners, Softalk, Sep 1983: 299.
  33. [33] Lessard, Daniel. 2002. “PC’s Timeline”. pcbiography (click on “PC’s Timeline” link).
  34. [34] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  35. [35] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  36. [36] Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. Fire In The Valley. Berkley, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984: 77.
  37. [37] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  38. [38] Hertzfield, Andy, “We’ll See About That”, Folklore.org, <folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Well_See_About_That.txt>
  39. [39] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  40. [40] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  41. [41] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  42. [42] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  43. [43] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  44. [44] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  45. [45] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  46. [46] Lessard, Daniel. 2002. “PC’s Timeline”. pcbiography (click on “PC’s Timeline” link).
  47. [47] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  48. [48] Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. Fire In The Valley. Berkley, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984: 263.
  49. [49] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  50. [50] Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews. Gates (New York: Doubleday 1993): 137-138.
  51. [51] Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. Fire In The Valley. Berkley, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984: 269.
  52. [52] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  53. [53] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  54. [54] Don Worth and Pieter Lechner. Beneath Apple DOS (Quality Software, Reseda, CA, 1981) pp. 2.1-2.3.
  55. [55] ——. Contest Winners, Softalk, Sep 1983: 299.
  56. [56] Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. Fire In The Valley. Berkley, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984: 269-275.
  57. [57] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  58. [58] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  59. [59] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  60. [60] Hoover, Tom. GEnie, A2 Roundtable, Apr 1991, Category 2, Topic 16.
  61. [61] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  62. [62] Rose, Frank. West Of Eden: The End Of Innocence At Apple Computer (Penguin Books, New York, 1989) p. 48.
  63. [63] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  64. [64] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  65. [65] Smarte, Gene, and Reinhardt, Andrew. “15 Years Of Bits, BYTEs, And Other Great Moments”, BYTE, Sep 1990: 369-400.
  66. [66] Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews. Gates (New York: Doubleday 1993): 182.
  67. [67] Slater, Michael. Microprocessor Report July 11, 1994: 12.
  68. [68] Weishaar, Tom. “Control-I(nterface) S(tandards)”, Open-Apple, Oct 1987: 3.65.
  69. [69] Rose, Frank. West Of Eden: The End Of Innocence At Apple Computer (Penguin Books, New York, 1989) p. 50-54.
  70. [70] Freiberger, Paul, and Swaine, Michael. “Fire In The Valley, Part II (Book Excerpt)”, A+ Magazine, Jan 1985: 46,51.
  71. [71] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  72. [72] Freiberger, Paul, and Swaine, Michael. “Fire In The Valley, Part II (Book Excerpt)”, A+ Magazine, Jan 1985: 46,51.
  73. [73] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  74. [74] Freiberger, Paul, and Swaine, Michael. “Fire In The Valley, Part II (Book Excerpt)”, A+ Magazine, Jan 1985: 46,51.
  75. [75] Williams, Gregg. “‘C’ Is For Crunch”, BYTE, Dec 1984: A75-A78, A121.
  76. [76] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  77. [77] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  78. [78] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  79. [79] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
  80. [80] —–. “Back In Time”, A+ Magazine, Feb 1987: 48-49.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Make a public comment


+ seven = 11

Protected by WP Anti Spam