This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of Apple, and one dedicated couple has celebrated the milestone by forking over US$815,000 at auction for an original Apple 1 – the company's first commercial product and one of the world's first personal computers. This particular unit may even be the very first one built, with indications that it's a prototype that preceded those which were later sold to the public.
Boasting an astonishing 4 KB of RAM and costing $666.66 at retail, around 200 units of the Apple 1 were produced in 1976, of which around 60 are still known to exist. That makes it rare and highliy sought after, with a working example sold for over $900,000 in 2014.
What makes this particular Apple 1 so special is that it appears to be a prototype version that designer Steve Wozniak experimented with to iron out the kinks before the board went into production. Compared to the ones that went on sale, this one has a smaller heatsink, more expensive sockets, different capacitors and power supply components, and contrary to the bulk process of wave soldering used for the main production runs, this one seems to have been manually soldered.
Along with the board itself, the set was sold with a 4 KB memory expansion, a cassette interface board, two cassettes – one containing BASIC, and the other Blackjack and Star Trek games – and a whole host of original manuals, flyers and documentation.
The auction was hosted by Charitybuzz, with 10 percent of the proceeds donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to the BBC, the winning bidders, Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, plan to tour it around to schools and universities to inspire the next generation of computer engineers.
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