When were personal computers invented?

"By rights Xerox PARC could claim the PC was invented there and built in 1972, they created ALTO the first PC ever built." (years before Apple built their version and marketed it to the public), "not to mention laying the foundation for the program that eventually became the basis for the Macintosh

and Windows operating systems."

---research who pirated Apple after they pirated rights from Microsoft-

-the facts were stated by cutting edge research among today's foremost scientist's, and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku

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First personal computer was invented by Steve Jobs and Steve Woznak in 1976. The first PC was an Apple computer.

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The PC industry began in 1977, when Apple, along with Radio Shack and Commodore, introduced the first off-the-shelf personal computers as consumer products.

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Personal Computers and microcomputers were made possible by two technical innovations in the field of microelectronics: the integrated circuit, or IC, which was developed in 1959; and the microprocessor, which first appeared in 1971. The IC permitted the miniaturization of computer-memory circuits, and the microprocessor reduced the size of a computer's CPU to the size of a single silicon chip.

The invention of the microprocessor, a machine which combines the equivalent of thousands of transistors on a single, tiny silicon chip, was developed by Ted Hoff at Intel Corporation in the Santa Clara Valley south of San Francisco, California, an area that was destined to become known to the world as Silicon Valley because of the microprocessor and computer industry that grew up there. Because a CPU calculates, performs logical operations, contains operating instructions, and manages data flows, the potential existed for developing a separate system that could function as a complete microcomputer.

The first such desktop-size system specifically designed for personal use appeared in 1974; it was offered by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS). The owners of the system were then encouraged by the editor of a popular technology magazine to create and sell a mail-order computer kit through the magazine. The computer, which was called Altair, retailed for slightly less than $400.

The demand for the microcomputer kit was immediate, unexpected, and totally overwhelming. Scores of small entrepreneurial companies responded to this demand by producing computers for the new market. The first major electronics firm to manufacture and sell personal computers, Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack), introduced its model in 1977. It quickly dominated the field, because of the combination of two attractive features: a keyboard and a cathode-ray display terminal (CRT). It was also popular because it could be programmed and the user was able to store information by means of cassette tape.

Soon after Tandy's new model was introduced, two engineer-programmers-Stephen Wozniak and Steven Jobs-started a new computer manufacturing company named Apple Computers.

In 1976, in what is now the Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created a homemade microprocessor computer board called Apple I. Working from Jobs' parents' garage, the two men began to manufacture and market the Apple I to local hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts. Early in 1977, Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple Computer, Inc., and in April of that year introduced the Apple II, the world's first personal computer. Based on a board of their design, the Apple II, complete with keyboard and color graphics capability, retailed for $1290.

Some of the new features they introduced into their own microcomputers were expanded memory, inexpensive disk-drive programs and data storage, and color graphics. Apple Computers went on to become the fastest-growing company in U.S. business history. Its rapid growth inspired a large number of similar microcomputer manufacturers to enter the field. Before the end of the decade, the market for personal computers had become clearly defined.

In 1981, IBM introduced its own microcomputer model, the IBM PC. Although it did not make use of the most recent computer technology, the PC was a milestone in this burgeoning field. It proved that the microcomputer industry was more than a current fad, and that the microcomputer was in fact a necessary tool for the business community. The PC's use of a 16-bit microprocessor initiated the development of faster and more powerful micros, and its use of an operating system that was available to all other computer makers led to a de facto standardization of the industry.

In the mid-1980s, a number of other developments were especially important for the growth of microcomputers. One of these was the introduction of a powerful 32-bit computer capable of running advanced multi-user operating systems at high speeds. This has dulled the distinction between microcomputers and minicomputers, placing enough computing power on an office desktop to serve all small businesses and most medium-size businesses.

Another innovation was the introduction of simpler, "user-friendly" methods for controlling the operations of microcomputers. By substituting a graphical user interface (GUI) for the conventional operating system, computers such as the Apple Macintosh allow the user to select icons-graphic symbols of computer functions-from a display screen instead of requiring typed commands. Douglas Engelbart, invented an "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System": the prototype of the computer "mouse" whose convenience has revolutionized personal computing. New voice-controlled systems are now available, and users may eventually be able to use the words and syntax of spoken language to operate their microcomputers.