Between the birth of home computers in the 1970s and the 1990s, there were no rules or conventions regarding their appearance. A small slideshow of what existed at the time from the Minivac 601 dating from 1961 to the IMac of 1998, which will be a revolution in computer design that will make the success of Apple.
1961 – The SDC Minivac 601 was an electromechanical digital computer system created by information theory pioneer Claude Shannon as an educational toy using digital circuits.
1973 – Micral is a range of computers designed and marketed by a French design office.
The very first model of this range, named “Micral”, has the characteristic of being microprocessor based and having reduced dimensions. It is thus recognized as the first microcomputer in history.
1975 – The Altair 8800 from the American manufacturer MITS was sold in kit form, with a few thousand units sold to private individuals.
This microcomputer was based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor.
1977 – The Commodore PET 2001 for Personal Electronic Transactor was released by Commodore International
It is monobloc with a central processing unit based on a 6502 processor clocked at 1 MHz, a RAM of 4 or 8 Kio, a monochrome screen (white, then green) of 40 columns by 25 lines, an audio cassette storage unit and a 73-key QWERTY computer keyboard, including a numeric keypad.
1979 – The Intertec Superbrain was an all-in-one computer that was first sold by Intertec Data Systems Corp. of Columbia, South Carolina, USA. The machine used the CP/M operating system and was somewhat unusual in that it used two Z80 CPUs, the second being used as a disk controller. In 1983, the basic machine sold for about $2,000.
1980 – The ZX80 is an 8-bit personal computer designed and marketed by the Sinclair Company. It is the first microcomputer for under 1,000 francs, marketed in France.
Built around a Zilog Z80 microprocessor and a kilobyte of memory, the ZX80 incorporates a BASIC ROM language that makes it operational as soon as it is switched on, like most computers of the time. It is initially sold as a kit to be assembled. It has an inconvenient membrane keyboard.
1982 – The Dragon 32 and Dragon 64 are computers for the European market by Dragon Data, Ltd. in Port Talbot, Wales, and for the American market by Tano of New Orleans, Louisiana. The model numbers are the main difference between the two machines, 32 KB of RAM for the Dragon 32 and 64 KB of RAM for the Dragon 64.
1983 – The Apple IIe (called Apple //e) is the third model in the Apple II series of personal computers produced by Apple Computer. The e in the name stands for “enhanced”, which refers to the fact that several popular features are now built in that were previously only available as updates or additions to previous models. The improved expandability combined with the new features has created a versatile machine that is very attractive to novice computer buyers. As the last surviving model in the Apple II line of computers before it was discontinued, and having been manufactured and sold for nearly 11 years with relatively few changes, the IIe has been distinguished as the longest-lived computer in Apple’s history.
1985 – Alice is a microcomputer manufactured by the French company Matra-Hachette, sold from 1983. It is a clone of an American microcomputer from the Tandy firm, the MC-10.
It is built around a Motorola 6803 processor (8 bits of data, 16 bits of address).
This one displays its results on a television, via a SCART socket like many microcomputers of its generation. It is programmed like all other microcomputers of the time in BASIC language and in assembler for the 32 and 90 versions.
1987 – Acorn Archimedes is the name of a wide range of computers produced by the English company Acorn Computers from 1987 onwards.
Superior in terms of power over its rivals the Atari ST from Atari and Amiga 500 from Commodore and Apple at the time, the Archimedes will not be successful with the general public outside its borders.
1990 – The Amiga offered as standard a more colourful and animated display, better sound and a more advanced operating system (multitasking with graphical interface) than most of its competitors.
In nine years of marketing, about ten models are proposed to the public and professionals. The most famous version remains the Amiga 500, released in 1987, which sold more than a million copies in Germany. Commodore went bankrupt in 1994, signing the end of their production.
1998 – The iMac G3 is the first model of iMac, a family of all-in-one computers designed and produced by Apple Inc. then Apple Computer Inc. The iMac G3 combines a 15-inch display and CPU in a single enclosure. Initially only available in blue, it was later available in other colours. The iMac comes with a keyboard and mouse to match the colour of the case.
This computer was a commercial success and was one of the first computers to put design at the heart of its novelties, sharply contrasting with a coloured case at a time when the majority was beige.