Take a trip down memory lane with these original Apple computer designs

Check out these early Apple machines on display at a new permanent exhibition in Seattle - including the 1976 original and first ever Apple product, the Apple I.

Designers around in the 1970s and 80s, here’s your chance to reminisce over original Apple computers which are on display in a new permanent exhibition - including the first ever Apple product, the Apple I, released around this time 40 years ago in 1976. The chunky box screens, mouse and keyboard seem almost unreal - at least unfathomable to a younger generation - compared with the sleek iMac, Macbook Pro and iPad Pro as we know them today (see what Apple says about the future of Mac Pro).

But Apple, whether you like it or not, has been pivotal in transforming the creative process of design. Most designers can’t imagine a career without some interaction with Apple computers or products. A far cry from from paste-up boards from the 1980s, now laptops and Photoshop dominates, as the upcoming Graphic Means film explores.

Image: Apple I - designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak

Seattle is home to a museum dedicated to honouring the history of computing, and holds the world’s largest collection of fully restored and usable computers. It’s called the Living Computers Museum + Labs, and today it launches a new permanent exhibit dedicated to the first two decades of Apple.

Included in From the Garage to the iMac: 1976-1999 is the museum's most prized possession - the original Apple I, and the only operable one in the world available for public use. This machine will be joined by 10 usable computers representing Apple’s famous journey from a garage start-up to a brand that continues to dominate the technology market. People will be able to interact with the computers themselves, keeping in line with the museum’s aim to provide hands-on access to early computing technology.

Image: The original 1984 Macintosh design

The exhibit will showcase the original Apple I demo model displayed on Steve Jobs' desk, and the one he took on the road with him until 1985. Of the 200 odd Apple I computers produced by hand by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, fewer than 70 remain.

The early intertwined history of co-founder of Microsoft alongside Bill Gates, Paul G. Allen, Microsoft and Apple will also be explored - because in fact, Microsoft provided software titles for early Apple computers that helped accelerate Apple’s growth by allowing more software to run on their Apple II computers.

Image: Apple I keyboard/base 

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And if you’re super nerdy (and we will be very impressed if you know these models by name), here are other additional machines in the collection: the Sanyo MBC-550, Amstrad PC1512, Microsoft “Green-Eyed” Mouse, Apple III and Power Mac G4, Microsoft SoftCard.

Since most people probably can’t attend the exhibition in person, although surely some wish they could, we’ve put together a few images of the original Apple models for your dose of nostalgia.

For more Apple history, check out Macworld UK's in-depth feature on the History of Apple.

Image: The only functioning Apple I

Image: Homemade wooden computer case and keyboard for Apple I 

Image: On display at From the Garage to the iMac: 1976-1999

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Image: On display at From the Garage to the iMac: 1976-1999

Image: On display at From the Garage to the iMac: 1976-1999

Image: On display at From the Garage to the iMac: 1976-1999

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