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HolidayBuyer's Guide

​April 1, 1976 - Apple starts

​January 1984 - Macintosh computer

​1985 - Steve Jobs is ousted

July 1997 - Steve Jobs returns as CEO

August 1998 - iMac

​January & October 2001 - iTunes and iPod

March 2001 - OS X

​January 2007 - iPhone

​April 2010 - iPad

​August 2011 - Tim Cook becomes CEO

​September 2014 - iPhone 6 and Apple Watch

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer in the Jobs' family garage in Los Altos, California. The company unveiled the Apple II in 1977, essentially creating a mass market for personal computers. Apple went public in 1981.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Apple grabbed the world's attention with its 1984 introduction of the Macintosh. The company unveiled the new machine at an event in the Flint Center, in Cupertino, California, not long after airing its Ridley Scott-directed ad during the Super Bowl. The Mac wasn't the first computer with a "graphical user interface" that relied on icons instead of command lines. That honor belonged to the Xerox Star. Even so, the Mac influenced the entire personal computing industry and prompted it to adopt more-intuitive software.

Caption by / Photo by Apple advertisement

Apple ousted Steve Jobs in 1985, marking one of the most dramatic moments in Apple's history. It was also a key milestone in Jobs' career. Jobs co-founded NeXT Computer that same year and, in 1986, went on to buy animation studio Pixar from Lucasfilm for $5 million.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs became the de facto CEO of Apple in 1997, almost immediately after the company fired then-CEO Gil Amelio. Jobs joked he was iCEO (interim, get it?), but wasted no time rebuilding a company that was close to bankruptcy. He convinced Microsoft to invest $150 million and support Office for the Mac for the next five years, even as he jettisoned many Apple's products. Among those cut: the Newton personal assistant.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs rejuvenated Apple with the first iMac. Its colorful, translucent design stunned the tech industry, prompting other computer makers to move away from me-too gray boxes. The iMac was also famous for what it didn't have: A floppy disk drive. Jobs decided the world would move to CDs and Internet downloads in place of disks. He was right.

Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Apple Computer

The iPod wasn't the first digital music player, but it became the most popular. Launched in 2001, the iPod became the primary driver of Apple's renaissance. Analysts called it a "halo" product that drew people into Apple's stores, where they sometimes bought other products.

Apple's iTunes software, which gave consumers an easy way to manage lots of music, contributed to the iPod's success. Apple released the software for Microsoft Windows in 2003, the same year Apple launched the iTunes Store, selling songs for 99 cents apiece and creating the online music market.

Caption by / Photo by Kim Kulish, Corbis SABA

Apple's OS X was a marriage of NeXT's software and Apple's designs. The technology built in OS X was later used in the software that powered the iPhone, the iPad and even the Apple Watch.

Caption by / Photo by EPA

Steve Jobs showed off Apple's first iPhone during a keynote presentation at the 2007 Macworld Expo in San Francisco. He said Apple would "reinvent the phone," and it did. The device went on sale in the US on June 29. Since then, Apple has sold nearly 900 million iPhones, making it one of the largest phone makers in the world. The day the iPhone was announced, the company also changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Apple followed up with the iPad in 2010, finally giving the tablet market the jolt it needed to become mainstream. The iPad inspired Apple to make its laptops even thinner, which in turn pushed the tech industry to do the same. During a 2010 interview, Steve Jobs said Apple had begun working on the iPad before the iPhone, but realized a phone needed the touchscreen software first.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

After three medical leaves, a surgery and a liver transplant, Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple's CEO, naming Tim Cook in his place. Jobs remained the company's chairman until his death less than two months later. He was 56.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin

The Apple Watch, unveiled at an event in September 2014, was the first new product line released after Steve Jobs' death. The watch went on sale in April 2015. Apple hasn't released sales data, and the tech community can't decide whether it's a success or a failure. Apple fans and foes continue to debate whether Apple's innovation engine died with Jobs.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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