Chronology of Apple Computer Personal Computers

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Last updated: 2022 April 29.


  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Plus. It features a 8 MHz 68000 processor, 1 MB RAM, SCSI connector for hard drive support, a new keyboard with cursor keys and numeric keypad, and an 800 kB 3.5-inch floppy drive. Price is US$2600. It is the first personal computer to provide embedded SCSI support. [46] [75] [120] [140] [180.222] [203.68] [346.167] [346.268] [593.350] [597.94] [611.41] [750.49]
  • Apple Computer introduces the LaserWriter Plus printer. [346.268]
  • John Sculley becomes chairman of Apple Computer. [75]
January 17
  • NeXT and Apple Computer reach an out-of-court settlement on Apple's lawsuit against Next. Next agrees to not use Apple technology. [734.99] [930.335] [2605.158]
  • Apple Computer releases System 3.0 operating system for the Macintosh. It includes RAM cache, Hierarchical File System, and laser printer support. [1559] [1648.54] [1886.67] [1897.128]
  • Apple Computer acquires rights to publish a French database program, 4th Dimension, in the US. [617.4]
  • Burrell Smith and Michael Boich start Radius, Inc., to produce Apple Macintosh enhancement products. [650.41]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the original Macintosh. [597.94]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh 512K. [46] [75] [597.94]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh 512K Enhanced, for US$2000. It features an 8 MHz 68000 processor, 512 kB RAM, and 800 kB 3.5-inch floppy drive. [46] [75] [597.94]
  • Sales to date of Lotus Jazz for the Macintosh: 42,000. [346.168]
  • Apple Computer creates KanjiTalk software to recognize two-byte characters required for Japanese language use with the Macintosh OS. [1295.9]
(month unknown)
  • Adobe introduces Adobe Illustrator, a PostScript drawing tool, for the Macintosh. [618.226] (1987 [1077.136])
  • Apple Computer purchases the trademark to "Macintosh" from McIntosh Laboratory. [2605.87]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh XL. [75]
  • Microsoft announces Microsoft Works software for the Macintosh. [346.268]
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(month unknown)
  • Home computer market share: IBM 12%, Commodore 31%, Apple Computer 16%, Atari 14.7%, Tandy 9.5%, Leading Edge 1%. [154.36]
September 15
  • Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIGS computer. It features a 16-bit Western Design Center W65C816 microprocessor operating at 1 MHz or 2.8 MHz, 7 expansion slots, built-in ports, QuickDraw II in ROM, Apple Desktop Plus, and Apple 3.5 Drive. Compatibility with Apple II software is about 90 percent. Base price is US$1000, with a full system priced at US$1900. "GS" stands for Graphics and Sound. [46] [75] [120] [199.1] [218] [593.350] [1399.D1] [2605.19]
  • Quote by Jeffrey Ehrlich, a personal computer manager for the General Electric Company: "Apple is positioned for the future. The IBM machine is not.". [1399.D3]
  • Apple Computer releases AppleWorks 2.0. [218]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Works for the Macintosh. [1299.328]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Apple 3.5 drive for the Mac and the Apple IIGS. [218].
October 27
  • In New York City, Microsoft announces Microsoft Word 3.0 for the Macintosh. [346.139,269]
(month unknown)
  • Origin Systems releases the OGRE game for the Apple II. Price is US$39.95. [222.32]
November 26
  • Paramount Pictures releases the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home to theaters in the USA. An Apple Computer Macintosh Plus is used to graphically depict a complex metal formula. A person from the future who travels back to 1986 tries to talk into the mouse of the computer. [1577.31] [1886.67] [2086]
  • WordPerfect ships the WordPerfect software for the Apple IIgs for US$180. [330.109]
  • Apple Computer revenues: US$2.3 billion. [203.68] (US$2 billion [958.42])


  • Apple Computer introduces the Apple Platinum IIe. [218]
  • Apple Computer introduces the AppleShare fileserver. Price is US$799. [1886.67]
  • Apple Computer introduces the AppleTalk PC Card. Price is US$399. [1886.67]
  • Apple Computer's John Sculley tells Ashton-Tate's Ed Esber that Apple Computer will not compete with Ashton-Tate by publishing the 4th Dimension database program. [617.6]
March 2
  • Apple Computer introduces the expandable Macintosh SE. It features 8 MHz 68000 processor, and 1 MB of RAM. A dual floppy system sells for US$2900. With one floppy drive and a 20 MB hard drive, price is US$3700. [16] [46] [75] [120] [593.350] [597.94] [1396.D1]
  • Apple Computer introduces the open architecture Macintosh II, the first for Apple with color graphics. It features 16 MHz 68020 processor, and 1 MB of RAM. A basic system with one 800 kB 3.5-inch floppy drive and no monitor sells for US$3900. A system with 1 MB RAM, one floppy drive, 40 MB hard drive, and color monitor is priced at US$7000. The system features a plug-and-play "NuBus" architecture for expansion cards. [16] [41] [46] [75] [120] [140] [178] [203.68] [582.95] [593.350] [597.94] [1396.D1]
March 17
  • Apple Computer makes its 1 millionth Macintosh personal computer. Six Mac Plus computers are designated the 1 millionth Macintosh; one is given to Jef Raskin. [663.87] [734.69] [2605.98] (February [1396.D5])
  • Apple Computer releases System 4.0 operating system for the Macintosh. Size of the software is 260 kB. [1559] [1648.54] [1886.67]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh 512K Enhanced. [597.94]
  • Forethought introduces the PowerPoint graphics software for the Macintosh. [1299.344] [2444.66]
  • Debut of QuarkXPress for Macintosh. [1886.67]
  • Guy Kawasaki resigns from Apple Computer. [617.8]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Excel 1.04 for the Macintosh II. [346.269]
(month unknown)
  • Lotus Development announces its intention to announce Lotus 1-2-3 for the Macintosh. [679.30]
  • Nashoba Systems buys the Nutshell Macintosh utility software, and renames it FileMaker. [861.21]
  • Letraset releases ImageStudio, the first commercial, gray-scale image-editing program for the Macintosh. [582.94]
  • Microsoft acquires Forethought, for US$12 million cash. Forethought is the maker of the PowerPoint presentation graphics program for the Macintosh. [346.269] [1299.344] [2444.66] (buys PowerPoint from Forethought for US$14 million [663.87])
  • Apple Computer creates the company Claris, to handle some of Apple Computer's software for the Apple II and Macintosh. Apple Computer owns 82% of the company's stock. [218] [419.75] (April [627.203])
August 11
  • At the Macworld Expo show, Apple Computer introduces HyperCard (with script language HyperTalk), MultiFinder 5.0 co-operative multitasking, and AppleFax Modem for the Macintosh. The Hypercard software allows users to create database applications with "cards" containing text, graphics, sound, and animation, linked to each other via hypertext links. The software will ship for free with new Macintosh computers, and costs US$49 for existing Macintosh owners. [140] [180.247] [320.36] [413.196] [593.350] [750.50] [1402.D4]
  • Raymond Lau releases the Stuffit file archive utility for the Macintosh, for US$15. [582.199]
  • Ashton-Tate ships dBase for the Macintosh. [617.4] (1988 [650.74])
  • Lotus Development announces Lotus 1-2-3 for the Macintosh. [346.170]
  • Apple Computer releases System 4.2 operating system for the Macintosh. Size of the software is 2 MB. [1648.54] [1886.67]
(month unknown)
  • Apple Computer begins shipping the Macintosh II. [710.136]
December 31
  • Shipments of Apple IIgs computers to date: 340,000. [307.219]
  • Shipments of Apple Macintosh SE computers to date: 255,000. [307.219]
  • Shipments of Apple IIe computers to date: 231,000. [307.219]
  • Apple Computer revenues: US$2.3 billion. [203.68] (US$2.5 billion [958.42])


  • Digital Equipment and Apple Computer agree to integrate Macintosh and Vax computers. [1095.115]
  • Apple Computer releases its first Ethernet networking product, the EtherTalk NB Card for NuBus equipped Macintosh computers. [675.197]
(month unknown)
  • Apple Computer pays AT&T Microelectronics to develop a low-power, second-generation version of AT&T's C-machine Reduced Instruction Set Processor (CRISP), for use in Apple Computer's pen-based system. [660.1]
  • Apple Computer ships A/UX for the Macintosh II, Apple Computer's combination of the Mac interface with UNIX. [46] [75] [611.120]
March 17
  • Apple Computer files an 11-page copyright infringement suit in federal court in San Jose, California, accusing Microsoft of stealing visual display features of the Macintosh computer for use in Microsoft Windows 2.0. Apple claims Windows violates 13 different copyrights. Hewlett-Packard is also named as a defendant, for copyright violations in its New Wave software. [38] [46] [75] [309.256] [328.15] [346.193] [346.270] [477.160] [548.337] [580.191] [909.231] [1149.352] [1886.67] [2142.31] [2605.172]
  • Market share of personal computers in Europe: IBM 26.6%, Olivetti 8.6%, Apple 7.4%, Compaq 7.1%. [2132.S3.4]
  • Microsoft countersues Apple Computer, accusing the company of breaking the 1985 licensing agreement and deliberately trying to damage Microsoft's business with negative publicity. [1149.354]
  • Apple Computer first mentions System 7, at the Apple Developer's conference. [750.52]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Excel 1.5 for the Macintosh. [346.170]
May 20
  • At AppleFest in Boston, Massachusetts, Apple Computer introduces AppleLink - Personal Edition, an online service run by Quantum Computer Services. Cost is US$6 (non-primetime) and $15 (primetime) per hour, US$35 for Apple II software and first year's subscription, and US$35 per following year subscription. (The service is later renamed America Online.) [218] [1409.45] [2605.148]
  • Judge Robert Aguilor agrees to split the Apple Computer - Microsoft case into two separate phases, to decide if Microsoft had been licensed to use Macintosh features in Windows 2.03, and, if necesssary, to determine if Microsoft had violated Apple's copyrights. [1299.363]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft PowerPoint software for the Apple Macintosh. [686.50] (1987 July [1886.67])
  • Lotus Development ceases production of Lotus Jazz for the Macintosh. [582.200]
  • Apple computer releases the System 6.0 operating system for the Macintosh. [1886.67]
(month unknown)
  • Researchers at Apple Computer begin investigating using Acorn Computer's Acorn RISC Machine microprocessor in future Apple Computer products. [675.41]
  • Ashton-Tate releases the Full Impact spreadsheet program for the Macintosh. [679.30]
  • Adobe ships Adobe Illustrator 88 for the Macintosh. [582.92] [618.226]
  • Aldus ships Aldus FreeHand for the Macintosh. [582.92]
  • Novell ships NetWare for the Macintosh. [582.92]
  • Syquest introduces its SyQuest storage cartridge system to the Macintosh market. [612.209]
  • Caere ships the OmniPage OCR software for the Macintosh. [685.155] [709.41]
  • Jean-Louis Gassée is named president of Apple Products. [2605.184]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIc Plus for US$1100. [46] [593.350] (April [75]) (US$675 [218])
  • Claris releases the AppleWorks 2.1 software. [218]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh IIx computer, using Motorola's 16 MHz 68030 and 68882 processors. Base price is US$7770 with a 1.4 MB SuperDrive floppy drive, and 4 MB RAM, or US$9200 including an 80 MB hard drive. [46] [75] [593.350] [597.95]
  • Apple Computer releases GS/OS, a 16-bit operating system for the Apple IIGS. [218]
  • Apple Computer reports net sales of US$4 billion for fiscal 1988. [46]
  • Apple Computer and Quantum Computer Services launch the AppleLink Personal Edition computer network. [316.22]
  • ReadySoft demonstrates its AMAX Macintosh emulator for the Amiga at the World of Commodore show. [623.45]
  • Apple Computer sales for the year: US$4 billion. [958.42]
  • Shipments of Apple computers for the year: 1.271 million. [448.69]


  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh SE/30, with MS-DOS and OS/2 disk compatibility. It uses a 16 MHz 68030 processor, and comes with 4 MB RAM and 1.4 MB SuperDrive floppy drive, for US$4370. Price with an 80 MB hard drive is US$6500. [46] [593.350] [597.95] [750.50]
  • Apple Corps files a lawsuit against Apple Computer, charging Apple Computer with violating its 1981 agreement not to market audio/video products. (Apple Computer pays US$26 million in 1991 to settle the dispute.) [597.102] [1578.42] [1886.68] [2605.19]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh IIcx. It features a 16 MHz 68030 processor, 1 MB RAM, 1.4 MB SuperDrive, and 40 MB hard drive, for US$5370. [46] [75] [310.187] [593.350] [597.95]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 4.0 for the Macintosh. [346.140] (\iMacWord\i, April [1701.352])
March 21
  • In San Francisco Federal District Court, Judge William Schwarzer rules that Microsoft Windows 2.03 is not covered in the Apple Computer / Microsoft 1985 technology licensing agreement. The judge rules that only Windows 1.0 as it appeared in November 1985 was covered, and that Windows 2.03 is fundamentally different. This allows the issue to proceed to trial, in the suit of Apple Computer against Microsoft filed in March 1988. [309.256] [1149.355] [1299.383] (April [346.195])
  • Market share of personal computers in Europe: IBM 24.4%, Compaq 10.2%, Apple 8.0%, Olivetti 7.2%. [2132.S3.4]
  • Apple Computer releases 32-bit QuickDraw for the Macintosh. [582.94] [750.50]
May 9
  • Apple Computer announces details of the System 7.0 operating system for the Macintosh. [310.187] [548.159] [2205.D10]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Excel 2.2 for the Macintosh. It can handle spreadsheets up to 8 MB in size. [346.170] [346.271]
  • Apple Computer announces AppleTalk Phase 2. [593.B15] [676.158] [1064.145]
  • Claris releases AppleWorks 3.0 software. [218]
(month unknown)
  • Informix releases the WingZ spreadsheet for the Macintosh. [679.30]
  • Photonics ships Photolink for the Apple Macintosh. [634.210]
  • Maxis releases the SimCity game for the Macintosh. [1422.56]
  • Apple Computer releases System 6.0.2 for the Macintosh. [1559]
July 6
  • Apple Computer announces it will sell its 16.4% stake of Adobe Systems. [2130.D1]
July 21
  • US Federal District Judge William Schwarzer tentatively rules that most visual features of Windows 2.03 are covered by the 1985 license agreement between Microsoft and Apple computer. Of 260 similarities claimed by Apple, ten remain to be decided. [2142.31]
July 25
  • US Federal District Judge William Schwarzer confirms his earlier decision removing all but ten of Apple Computer's claims against Microsoft. [346.195] [1299.384] [2145.D3] [2605.173]
(month unknown)
  • Tektronix introduces the ColorQuick ink jet printer for Macintosh computers. Price is US$2495. [1069.187]
  • DayStar Digital introduces the Accelerator II and Accelerator IIx accelerator cards for Apple Macintosh II and IIx computers. They feature speeds of 25 to 50 MHz, zero wait states, 32 kB cache of 15 ns static RAM, optional 40 MHz 68882 math coprocessor, Extended CPU Interface (XCI) backplane card. Prices range from US$2995 to US$6995. [1069.52]
  • Symantec releases the Think C v4.0 compiler for Macintosh computers. Price is US$249. [1069.81]
  • Apple Computer introduces 1.4 MB floppy drives for the Macintosh. [582.95]
  • Apple Computer buries 2700 Lisa/Mac XL computers in a landfill in Logan, Utah. [2605.80]
  • Newsfield releases the first issue of Prepress With the Macintosh magazine in the UK. [2650.50]
  • At the Seybold Computer Publishing Conference, Apple Computer and Microsoft announces an alliance to standardize on Apple's TrueType font technology, and Microsoft's printer page-description language TrueImage. [416.195] [593.41] [618.226] [680.165] [1255.295] [1299.386]
September 20
  • Apple Computer announces the Macintosh Portable, featuring a 16 MHz Motorola 68000 CMOS processor, 1 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive, 3.5-inch 1.4 MB SuperDrive floppy drive, keyboard, trackball, 9.8-inch active matrix 640x400 monochrome LCD screen. Weight is 17 pounds; size is 15.25 x 14.3 x 4 inches; price is US$6500. The system runs for about 8 hours on a lead-acid gel battery pack. [46] [75] [593.350] [597.95] [750.52] [1069.98] [1084.154] [1205.36] [2605.159]
  • Apple Computer announces the Macintosh IIci, featuring a 25 MHz 68030 processor, 25 MHz 68882 math coprocessor, 4 MB RAM, 80 MB hard drive, 3 NuBus slots, 3.5-inch 1.4 MB SuperDrive, for about US$8700. [46] [75] [593.350] [597.95] [1069.98] [1084.154]
  • Byte by Byte releases Sculpt for the Macintosh, for US$1495. [442.35] [1145.35]
  • Apple Computer reports net sales of US$5.3 million for fiscal 1989. [46]
(month unknown)
  • Apple Computer begins shipping the Macintosh Portable. [710.138] (spring 1988 [686.50])
December 14
  • Xerox files a US$150 million lawsuit challenging the validity of Apple Computer's copyrights covering the Lisa and Macintosh computers' graphical user interface. Xerox claims Apple Computer copied the Xerox Star system interface. [46] [75] [594.47] [734.43]
  • Apple Computer sales for the year: US$5.2 billion. [958.42]

End of 1986-1989. Next: 1990.
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1976-1981 1982-1983 1984-1985 1986-1989 1990-1991 1992 1993 1994-1995 1996-1997 1998-1999
2000-2001 2002-2003 2004-end

A list of references to all source material is available.

Other web pages of interest:

  • Chronology of Personal Computers
  • Personal Computer References in Pop Culture
  • This Day in Personal Computer and Video Game History
  • This Day in History

  • Last updated: 2022 April 29.
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