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First Apple Computer Built by Steve Jobs Sells at Auction For $400,000

One of the first Apple computers has sold at auction for just under half a million dollars. Credit: Ed Uthman, CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the first Apple computer models sold at auction on Tuesday for $400,000. The computer was constructed by Apple’s two founding partners, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and was known as the “Apple-1.”

The precursor to the iMac desktop that has now become widespread, the model also has traces of the iconic chunky iMac computers of the late 20th century. The computer was still working at the time of its auction in California.

Anticipated to sell for roughly over half a million dollars, the model, known informally as the “Chaffey College,” is part of a line of 200 computers Jobs and Wozniak had created during the infancy of what has become one of the world’s most ubiquitous technology companies.

The computer is notable for its striking formal qualities that are absent from future Apple designs: the model is completely paneled with koa wood, a deeply colored wood found in the state of Hawaii. The model is one of the few computers in the group of 200 that was crafted from this material.

Experts say that the wood is likely an addition by the original buyers of Jobs and Wozniak’s Apple-1s.

“This is kind of the holy grail for vintage electronics and computer tech collectors,” Corey Cohen, who researches early Apple computers, told the Los Angeles Times before the model went up for auction. “That really makes it exciting for a lot of people.”

This specific model has not exchanged hands many times across the course of its life. The auctioneers responsible for the bidding said that this Apple-1 was only owned by two other people before Tuesday’s auction and that the lineage of its ownership is where it gets its name:

“It was originally purchased by an electronics professor at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who then sold it to his student in 1977.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the person who bought the computer from their professor paid just under $700 for the computer. Although the $400,000 sale is certainly nothing to frown at, the model performed slightly below its estimation at auction.

A fully functioning Apple-1 that was auctioned seven years made over $900,000.

Apple’s dominance wanes due to supply chain issues

Apple was the first company in history to surpass $1 trillion in market capitalization, a landmark it reached over the last three years. But the company has been wracked with difficulties this quarter due to supply chain shortages, which have massively delayed the production of the new iPhone 13.

Apple missed analyst’s expectations for Q4, reporting 83.36 billion in revenue.

“This year we launched our most powerful products ever, from M1-powered Macs to an iPhone 13 lineup that is setting a new standard for performance and empowering our customers to create and connect in new ways,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are infusing our values into everything we make — moving closer to our 2030 goal of being carbon neutral up and down our supply chain and across the lifecycle of our products, and ever advancing our mission to build a more equitable future.”

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