Happy 40th Birthday Apple!

40 years ago today, Apple planted the seeds that changed everything.

40 years ago today, Apple planted the seeds that changed everything.

April 1, 1976 the 2 Steves took on the World

Only fools could have predicted on April 1, 1976 that four decades later the world would be shouting “Happy 40th Birthday Apple” to the world’s most valuable company. But from Garage to Greatness, a truly Happy 40th Birthday it is. Amazing things started in that family garage of Steve Jobs parents’ home.

There have been so many great moments and so many more predictions of “doom and Gloom.” Apple faced more predictions of its eminent death than any other company in history. What all those so called tech experts always fail to consider is the passionate loyalty of Apple’s installed base.

In the history of business, no company enjoys greater loyalty from its customers. That loyalty is due in large part to the company’s legendary commitment to making not just great products, but “Insanely Great” products. That is the never ending legacy of Steve Jobs.

There are countless moments in Apple’s journey that stand out for the Fanboys and Fangirls everywhere. Each person has his or her own top favorite products or memories. I’ve thought long and hard about my top five Apple moments in the company’s 40 year history. Here they are, counted down from number 5 to number 1.

Number 5. Steve Jobs 2007 MacWorld Keynote introducing iPhone.

We had all heard the rumors that Apple was about to enter the cellular phone market. Very few people could have predicted what Jobs was poised to present. Here’s how Steve set up the introduction.

“This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years. Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been – well, first of all, one’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.

In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple, it changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and… it didn’t just – it didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry. Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.

The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.

So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it?

These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.

Number 4. Steve Jobs returns to Apple as the company is on the brink of insolvency.

Without a doubt, the return of Jobs to the company he cofounded would go on to be recognized as the greatest “2nd Act” in business history. His impact is still being felt today, more than four and a half years since his death.

Number 3. “A thousand songs in your pocket.”

The iPod wasn’t the first digital music player available. And it sure wasn’t the least expensive. But it’s unique style and user interface made it the “must have” music player in the world. The descendants of that original iPod are called iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

Number 2. iMac, “Hello … Again!”

The re-imagination of the Macintosh by Jony Ive delivered a much needed “Wow” factor to Apple’s line of personal computers. iMac said goodbye to old standards while ushering in new ones. iMac did away with the venerable 3.5 inch floppy while introducing the CD drive as standard issue. The Apple Desktop Bus was also discarded in favor of the USB interface. As iMac evolved, Firewire was added and the tray loaded CD was replaced with the slot loading mechanism. And then there was color, lots of color. Yum.

Number 1. The 1984 Super Bowl Launch of Macintosh

The most stunning product introduction of all time left the television audience at home wondering what did they just see. What they saw was the initial salvo in the Platform Wars. On January 17, the world saw the computer for the rest of us. It was the computer that changed EVERYTHING!

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