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Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak formed Apple Computer Co. on April Fool's Day, 1976. The Apple I, introduced soon after, was the first computer to come with a fully assembled motherboard (central printed circuit board). It sold for $666.66. (Science & Society Picture Library / Contributor/Life)

On Apple's Birthday, A Brief History Of Computing

by Adam Cole
Apr 1, 2011

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Two men operate the enormous UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) in 1960. With the arrival of UNIVAC, which first rolled out in 1951, computers were no longer reserved for the use of governments alone and became available to businesses. This early version of the mouse (named for its tail-like cord) was assembled by Douglas Engelbart and his Stanford team in 1963. This weaving loom, designed by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, was the first machine to use punched cards to control a series of sequences -- a key step in the development of computer programming. This "Analytical Engine" was conceived by English mathematician Charles Babbage in 1837. It was version 2.0 of his "Difference Engine," the first successful automatic calculator. This 1958 model of the first working integrated circuit, crudely soldered as it was, represented a huge breakthrough. It paved the path for smaller, more affordable computers.

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Today is Apple's 35th anniversary. But of course, well before Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak partnered up, other innovators paved the way. Their breakthroughs, though bulky and awkward to a modern eye, were technological marvels that led to the development of today's ubiquitous personal — and pocket-sized — computers. A gallery at Life follows this path from abacus to Apple.

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