The odds are probably something like 10 million to one or worse. But if you had taken a deep dumpster dive last April, it might have paid off big-time if you had uncovered a rare $200,000 Apple-1in that local recycling center.
By now, everyone’s pretty familiar with the dramatic story of the birth of Apple Computers—and its volatile CEO, Steve Jobs. Jobs is always relevant to tech nerds who today are streaming “Halt and Catch Fire,” a series about the early days in the computer business.
At the end of season one, after a tortuous beginning, the team at the fictional Cardiff Electric finally goes to COMDEX and takes orders for one of the first-ever portable PC’s. Their original design had been ripped off, so they had to strip away all the cool interactive features that were part of the original OS in order to make the machine faster than the competition.
They sold 60,000 units to Computer World – not bad. But on his way past one of the private business rooms, Joe, one of the partners, sees a big crowd. He walks in and sees his first Macintosh. The demonstrator inserts a disk and the machine turns on and says, “Hello, welcome to Macintosh.” Joe says, “It speaks?”
That was 1983. The Macintosh became the computer of choice for a generation of millennials—their first computer. For some, it was peripheral to Nintendo’s Mario Brothers, which also launched in 1983.
Seven years earlier, the men who started Apple—Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Rob Wayne—launched their first computer, the Apple-1. Only 200 units were produced.
In April, a woman in Silicon Valley who was cleaning out the junk in her house dumped an Apple-1 in a landfill. According to Gizmodo, an Apple-1 sold at auction last year for $900,000. Clean Bay, the recycling center in Silicon Valley sold the woman’s machine to a private collector for $200,000 and wants to split the money with her. But they can’t find her.
All they know is that she’s a widow and drives an SUV. And from the looks of it, she probably uses a PC.
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