Apple is widely recognized these days as the most valuable company in the entire world, with a market cap of around $1 trillion. Think of Apple products today and what comes to mind are slickly designed MacBooks, iPhones, and iPods. The earliest beginnings of the company were set in motion by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak working out of a garage to build computers that looked more like science projects, versus what we expect from Apple today. Those earliest of machines back then were known Apple-1 computers that were built in the ’70s and they certainly look far different than any current day modern PC.
Only 200 of the Apple-1 machines were produced, and working examples are exceedingly rare, with estimates that only 60 of them exist in the world today. One of those 60 machines has recently turned-up, however, and will be auctioned off by a service called RR Auction in September. This machine is one of those 200 original Apple computers and was designed and built by Jobs and Wozniak in 1976 and 1977. RR Auction claims this unit to be a complete machine with the manual for the computer and the cassette interface included.
The auction includes the Apple-1 board, original Apple Cassette Interface, operation manual, two original Apple Cassette Interface manuals, period surplus ASCII keyboard, period correct open frame Sanyo 4205 video monitor, new period-style power supply cable and the original Apple-1 power cable and connector, and the period cassette interface cables. Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen fully restored this Apple-1 and qualified bidders can get a copy of the technical condition report that Cohen put together, rating the machine at 8.5 out of 10.
One of the best things about this machine is that it is fully operational and was run for eight hours without fault during testing. Jobs and Wozniak originally envisioned these machines to be a bare circuit board sold as a kit to be built by hobbyists. Later 50 of the machines were purchased by Paul Terrell, owner of one of the first personal computer stores in the world. Those machines were fully assembled and sold as one of the first personal computers in the world not needing the end user to solder anything. This Apple-1 is one of the “Byte Shop” style machines. The auction house also points out that this machine is unmodified with a prototype area that is clean and unused. Expectations for the auction are for the gavel to drop at over $300,000.