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Why Was Apple I the “Forbidden Computer?”

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Apple Computer co-founder Stephen Wozniak designed the Apple I while still employed with Hewlett-Packard. When Steven Jobs put his marketing skill into selling them, he didn’t do terribly well. The duo only sold 200 of the computers. Introduced in April 1976, the Apple I was priced at $666.66, a rather unique number.

Some Christian extremists screamed “Satan!” They knew that 666 was the number of the beast, that an apple was the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that the computer had no soul, and that the long-haired people who made it were obvious devil worshippers.

The truth is much more subtle:

* Jobs claimed that he priced the Apple I at such an odd number because his lucky number was 7. He wanted to set it at $777.77, and while his cohorts liked the sequence, the price was too high, so they dropped all the numbers by one.

* The apple may be popularly depicted as the “forbidden fruit” from the Garden of Eden, but nowhere in the Bible does it outright say that the fruit was an apple. Besides, Jobs named the company Apple because he had fond memories of a summer spent working at an orchard in the Pacific Northwest.
* And while their argument that computers were soulless was a legitimate one (ask anyone who’s begged their system to not crash), most young Californians of the 1970s wore long hair, and the vast majority of them did not submit to the evil one.

Besides, the Apple I couldn’t have done much damage anyway, with its 1 MHz CPU and 8 KB of onboard RAM.

One last thing — although the Apple I was an inexpensive computer system for its time, don’t expect to find a cherry one for that price nowadays. At auctions over the past several years, original models have occasionally sold for upwards of $50,000.

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  • George Bridges

    As a Christian I always thought those ideas about the name and the price were bogus to begin with. Now I have facts to back my viewpoint. Thanks for the article and God bless you. 🙂