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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Apple turns 40

Apple Computer 1 (1976)

Macintosh 128K (1984)

Apple LaserWriter (1985)

Apple PowerBook 100, 140, and 170 (1991)

Newton MessagePad (1993)

Apple iMac G3 (1998)

Apple iBook (1999)

Apple PowerBook G4 (2001)

Apple iPod (2001)

Apple Power Mac G5 (2003)

Apple Mac Mini (2005)

Apple TV (2007)

The iPhone (2007)

MacBook Air (2008)

Apple iPad (2010)

Apple iPhone 4 (2011)

Apple Watch (2015)

In light of Apple celebrating its 40th birthday, we gathered some of its most iconic and memorable hardware products. Some devices helped usher in a new era for the company itself, while others changed the tech landscape altogether.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Advertised as "the first low-cost microcomputer system with a video terminal and 8K bytes of RAM," the Apple Computer 1 was a PC card that cost $666.66 when it first launched (about $2,772.29 in today's standard). As the first-ever product from the company, the Apple Computer 1 can now fetch a pretty penny on eBay (if you can find one).

Caption by / Photo by Sotheby's

Made famous by the iconic "1984" Super Bowl commercial, the Macintosh 128K was Apple's first Macintosh personal computer. The company planned to run the 128K with a Twiggy floppy disk drive (the same one used in the Apple Lisa 1 computer), but high error rates forced Apple to switch to the 400K Sony 3.5-inch disk drive instead.

Caption by / Photo by Jonathan Zufi

The LaserWriter was one of the premiere laser printers sold to consumers when it launched in 1985 and it played a crucial part in desktop publishing.

Caption by / Photo by Wikipedia

Though it doesn't look like much today, Apple's PowerBook 100 won several awards for its portable design. It featured a 9-inch monochrome display, a 640x400-pixel resolution and a trackball built into the keyboard. It went through other iterations (the 170 is seen here on the left) before being discontinued in 1992.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

As Apple's first personal digital assistant device, the MessagePad was the precursor to the iPad. It ran the Newton operating system, came with a stylus, and featured handwriting recognition.

Caption by / Photo by Wikipedia

With its quirky design, translucent body and bright color options, the iMac G3 helped lift Apple from (what seemed to be at the time) impending financial doom. It also marked the first mass-marketed device from Apple after the return of Steve Jobs as CEO in 1997, and ushered in the company's emphasis on industrial design.

Caption by / Photo by Wikipedia

Marketed to students, the iBook shared the same aesthetic as the iMac G3 and was Apple's first consumer-focused laptop.


Caption by / Photo by Wikipedia

At the time of the PowerBook G4's debut, Windows laptops were bulky and made of black or gray plastic. Apple's laptop, however, had a silver titanium body and sharp corners. It was sleek, and elegant, and its minimalistic design was a preface for more Apple devices that shared the same aesthetic.

Caption by / Photo by CNET
$1,999.00 MSRP

When it first launched, the iPod stored up to 1,000 songs (which seemed like a ton back in the day), and went on to dominate the MP3 player landscape. Its rotating clickwheel let you scroll through the menu bar with ease, and Apple spawned many other variations of the iPod afterward, like the Mini, Nano, Shuffle and Touch.

Caption by / Photo by Apple

(Debatably) touted as the "world's fastest personal computer" at the time, the Power Mac G5 was considered the first 64-bit PC. Though it was heavy and expensive, it still had a gorgeous design and was a powerful piece of hardware.



Caption by / Photo by CNET
$4,998.00 MSRP

Apple really kept it simple in 2005 with its Mac Mini, a minimalistic computer that was packaged without any accessories or peripherals. Though it wasn't the most popular device from the company, it took off with users who liked to customize and modify their computers, or needed home-entertainment servers.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

Hoping to bring iTunes into your living room, the Apple TV was a media player console that could stream content from your computer to your TV. At the time of its launch it also featured state-of-the-art 802.11n wireless networking.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

Featuring a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a new operating system known as iOS and mobile apps, the iPhone went on to single-handedly change the mobile landscape as we know it. Sure, its latest few iterations have stopped blowing us away, but as far as the original iPhone is concerned, no one can deny its impact on the way we use and view smartphones as the pocketable computers we do today.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

Stripping down the design and features of its MacBook, Apple delivered the MacBook Air, a super-portable, lightweight (and expensive) laptop. College classrooms were never the same again.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

Lampooned for its "size-XL iPhone" design, the iPad went on to pioneer a burgeoning new mobile device for the masses: the tablet. Though it didn't come close to replacing your laptop, it had a 9.7-inch, 768-pixel resolution display and A4 processor. Despite the criticism, many lined up to buy the iPad, and after 80 days, Apple sold 3 million units.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The iPhone 4 sported one of the more distinct design updates from Apple and was the first iPhone to feature a Retina Display (meaning it had a 960x640-pixel resolution compared to the 800x480 display on Samsung's flagship at the time, the Galaxy S). When Jobs introduced the phone to audiences, he also conducted the first public FaceTime call.


Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Though Apple wasn't the first player in the smartwatch race, its Apple Watch was one the most highly anticipated smartwatch when it launched. With a classic, well-constructed design, it's the company's first wearable device.

This story is part of CNET's coverage of the 40th anniversary of Apple's founding. For more stories in this package, click here.


Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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