Wk. 2 – Radiance Zeigler

28 May

The leap from computers as monstrosities to people personally owning them can be greatly attributed to the creation of the microprocessor. Primarily developed for Busicom, a Japanese calculator company, in 1971, the chip went unused by the corporation. So, shortly after buying back the rights, Intel advertised their new “computer on a chip”. Although very expensive to design, this chip was fairly inexpensive to manufacture. The integrated circuit is another thing that influenced the creation of personal computers. After discovering that circuits had many problems, the integrated circuit was introduced by Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce which created a smaller, more reliable circuit than it’s predecessor.

Microcomputers were then introduced. ┬áDeveloped by MITS in 1975, the Altair 8800 was the beginning of the commercial micro computer industry. But what’s important is that this was not yet considered a personal computer. This computer came as a kit and was intended to be used primarily by hobbyist, not the general public. However, this along with the birth of The Homebrew Computer Club was responsible for the idea of the personal computer. Although this club only consisted of hobbyist, their newsletters were very influential in spreading the word to the public about this new and upcoming “computer culture”. This was a pivotal changing point in perceptions about computers.

Finally in 1976, the first personal computer, Apple I, was introduced. Hand built by Steve Wozniak and demonstrated by Steve Jobs, this computer went on sale in July of 1976 for $666.66. Making it unique from others, this computer came fully assembled, as opposed to in a kit, which made it virtually usable by everyone.

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