On April 16, 1977, the Apple II was computer was introduced at the first West Coast Computer Faire, held at the Brooks Auditorium in San Francisco.
Apple had been founded on April Fools Day a year earlier by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Its purpose was to sell a computer kit hand built by Steve Wozniak in Jobs’ parents home – the Apple I.
The Apple I was a motherboard – to which the purchaser had to add the necessary power supply, keyboard, and video output device and connectors.
The new Apple II was a complete personal computer – with which required only the addition of a monitor, and an optional storage device – either a cassette tape, or a 5-1/4 inch floppy drive.
image from rebel pilot under CC-BY-SA-2.0
Dan Bricklin and Bob Rankston chose the Apple II do develop “VisiCalc” – the spreadsheet program which became the first must-have “killer app” for business.
To compete with (or submerge) these new upstarts, IBM, after a crash development effort, on August 12, 1981 introduced IBM model number 5150 – the IBM Personal Computer, with a choice of operating systems, including an inexpensive new operating system PC-DOS from a relatively new company called Microsoft. The other operating systems offered, while more established, were more expensive. Most IBM PC buyers, many of whom had never heard of an operating system, opted for PC-DOS from the new company, “Microsoft”.
The term ‘personal computer’ had been vaguely in existence since 1972, when it was used to describe the “Alto” developed at Xerox Parc.
With the appearance of the Apple II, and then the IBM Personal Computer, the era of the ‘personal computer’ began in earnest.