By this time they had other competitors, in addition to the Altair

By this time they had other competitors, in addition to the Altair

By this time they had other competitors, in addition to the Altair

By this time they had other competitors, in addition to the Altair, most

notably the IMSAI 8080 and Processor Technology Corporation’s SOL-20.

The latter was designed by Lee Felsenstein and Gordon French of the

 

Homebrew Computer Club. They all had the chance to go on display during

Labor Day weekend of 1976, at the first annual Personal Computer Festival,

held in a tired hotel on the decaying boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

Jobs and Wozniak took a TWA flight to Philadelphia, cradling one cigar box

with the Apple I and another with the prototype for the successor that Woz

was working on. Sitting in the row behind them was Felsenstein, who looked

 

at the Apple I and pronounced it “thoroughly unimpressive.” Wozniak was

unnerved by the conversation in the row behind him. “We could hear them

talking in advanced business talk,” he recalled, “using businesslike

acronyms we’d never heard before.”

 

Wozniak spent most of his time in their hotel room, tweaking his new prototype.

He was too shy to stand at the card table that Apple had been assigned near

the back of the exhibition hall. Daniel Kottke had taken the train down from

 

Jobs and Wozniak took a TWA flight to Philadelphia, cradling one cigar box

with the Apple I and another with the prototype for the successor that Woz

was working on. Sitting in the row behind them was Felsenstein, who looked

 

at the Apple I and pronounced it “thoroughly unimpressive.” Wozniak was

unnerved by the conversation in the row behind him. “We could hear them

talking in advanced business talk,” he recalled, “using businesslike

acronyms we’d never heard before.”

 

Manhattan, where he was now attending Columbia, and he manned the table

while Jobs walked the floor to inspect the competition. What he saw did not

impress him. Wozniak, he felt reassured, was the best circuit engineer, and the

 

Apple I (and surely its successor) could beat the competition in terms of functionality.

However, the SOL-20 was better looking. It had a sleek metal case, a keyboard, a

power supply, and cables. It looked as if it had been produced by grown-ups.

 

The Apple I,

on the other hand,

appeared as scruffy

as its creators.

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