Rare photos of 'Apple II Forever' media event surface, reveal Apple keynote progenitor

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2017
A set of photographs taken during Apple's 1984 announcement of the Apple IIc surfaced online on Thursday, showing company cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak taking part in a media bonanza that would serve as a model of contemporary Apple keynotes.


Apple cofounder Steve Jobs at the "Apple II Forever" event at Moscone Center in 1984. | Source: San Francisco Chronicle


Recently unearthed by the San Francisco Chronicle, the photos of depict a large-scale showing at San Francisco's Moscone Center, a venue often used by Apple for product launches, conferences and other gatherings. The presentation, dubbed "Apple II Forever," was one of Apple's first attempts at spectacle-as-marketing.

"Apple II Forever" took place just three months after the first Macintosh was released in January 1984. Though the portable IIc failed to gain traction with consumers, its splashy reveal would serve as a guide for future Apple debuts.

The early event started with an iconically 80's video titled "Apple II Forever," shown on three large onstage screens. Set to a theme song of the same name, the short featured a slideshow of photos chronicling Apple's history and successes up to 1984, including the Apple I, a groundbreaking ceremony and the company's IPO.

As the Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub points out, Apple might have contracted Pat Benetar to sing "Apple II Forever," a valid guess considering Michael Jackson was originally slated to close the show before pulling out at the last minute. Herbie Hancock's Rockit Band stood in for the King of Pop, according to John Dvorak, who covered the event for the Sunday Examiner/Chronicle.



Jobs, Wozniak and then-president John Sculley took turns speaking onstage. Jobs discussed recent Macintosh sales numbers before turning to Apple IIc, the meat of the presentation. Like modern Apple keynotes, Jobs threw to Wozniak, who further detailed the IIc and its capabilities as a portable personal computer. Though the terminal lacked a monitor, it was relatively small and lightweight compared to its contemporaries.

Interestingly, Jobs ceded the presentation's "big surprise" to Sculley. Apple employees carrying IIc terminals were planted among audience members, and when Sculley gave the cue, they held the computer above their heads, showing off its lightweight design.



Following the presentation, the Apple executives met in a separate room to answer questions from the gathered media horde. Similar to present day keynotes, Apple had set up a few IIc terminals with monitors as part of a practical demonstration. This latter portion was more structured than more recent product unveilings, at which Jobs, and now CEO Tim Cook, milled among reporters in the hands-on area. There are photos of Wozniak talking with the crowd following the press conference, however.

Finally, Apple II Forever marked the debut of Apple's first ad blitzes aimed at children. According to Chronicle coverage of the event, one ad previewed during the event carried the headline "How to talk your parents into parting with $1300."
UlrikeM
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    I remember wanting to buy a IIc back in the day.
    xzuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Frankly, I dispute the fact that "the portable IIc failed to gain traction with consumers". It was great, solid computer and Apple sold plenty of those shiny little computers.
    xzuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    I liked the Apple II for what it was, but I'm glad I moved onto the Mac in '85. Good move. It's quite amazing how far the Mac has come in three decades. But back then, with my first Mac, and every one which followed, I knew I had the latest and greatest. Each one, ever faster and more powerful, enabled me to do the work that I loved. It's still true today.
    lolliverStrangeDayscornchipcoolfactorpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator
    Frankly, I dispute the fact that "the portable IIc failed to gain traction with consumers". It was great, solid computer and Apple sold plenty of those shiny little computers.
    You can disagree all you'd like, but the fact of the matter is the IIe far outlasted and outsold the IIc, even through multiple hardware revisions. Despite the "all in one" nature, I guess the expansion slots were preferred.

    I do agree that it was great and solid, though.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 637member
    I watched the video. Some things are just timeless.      But not that.
    edited March 2017 jony0StrangeDaysrobertwalterretrogusto
  • Reply 6 of 24
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,811member
    We had an Apple IIe that the whole family used - my brothers mainly for games. I wanted to do more programming, so I asked if I could get a Commedore 128 for Christmas, for my own use. My parents surprised me with an Apple IIc. Did a lot of BASIC programming until I started working on an RPG game similar to the Ultima series of games from Origin. The game was way too slow, so I taught myself 65C02 assembly and used the built-in mini assembler/disassembler to recode it in assembly... was much, much faster. :-). I used it a lot until they bought me a MacSE in '87 for high school graduation. Went on to learn Pascal, C, M68k Assembly, and HyperTalk on that Mac. And believe it or not, I still have my SE and it still runs! Unfortunately, I do not have the Apple IIc - my Mom sold it, so my younger brother could get his own computer, but I do still have my ImageWriter, although the ribbon has since dried up! ;-P



    edited March 2017 coolfactorxzupscooter63damn_its_hotwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 24
    My parents bought a IIc when it was released, it was the first computer I used growing up in the 80's, it was the first computer I learned to program with AppleBASIC and now it lives in my office for me to boot it up and play ZORK!
    retrogustoxzuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    You can disagree all you'd like, but the fact of the matter is the IIe far outlasted and outsold the IIc, even through multiple hardware revisions. Despite the "all in one" nature, I guess the expansion slots were preferred.
    Even back then pros wanted expansion ports and Apple denied us them.  :p
    coolfactorxzu
  • Reply 9 of 24
    jony0jony0 Posts: 269member
    williamh said:
    I watched the video. Some things are just timeless.      But not that.

    :p LOL … literally … and I'm still laughing, very well put, even the extra spaces gave it comedic timing.

    Yeah the farce is strong in that one. That was the height of cheesy, and I say that affectionately while still giggling. I'm not just talking about the video quality, the oh so 80s Flashdance-ish soundtrack whereby I highly doubt that was Pat Benatar, she has a much more powerful voice. The fashion in hairstyle as well as in clothing is so time bound, and that I would even notice let alone comment about the fashion is a statement in itself. The annoyingly repetitive fast paced flashes were harbingers to the ADHD generation style of music videos. It was all so deliciously awful.

    Even the 1983 Apple Event Dating Game presented a year earlier holds up better in spite of some seriously cringeworthy moments (yeah I’m looking at you ‘Bachelor’ #3). Who knows how the latest keynotes will stand up in 30 years yet I feel their more polished and classical style should fair much better. But then again who’s gonna care anyway. This was fun.

    edited March 2017 williamhspheric
  • Reply 10 of 24
    GS. Apple IIGS.
    coolfactorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,193member

     "How to talk your parents into parting with $1300."

    Hah!
    coolfactor
  • Reply 12 of 24

    Mmm...

    Brings back memories...

    Have an Apple I manual someplace in storage.

    Bought an 8K RAM Apple ][ in July 1978 -- ~ $1,500 -- about $5-$6,000 in today's dollars. That was the computer and game paddles only -- no floppies then -- had to buy a  a cassette tape deck (storage I/O), TV adapter and TV (display)  separately -- all in for about $2,000 in 1978 dollars (my wife bought it for my birthday) -- About 2 months backlog. *

    Got to ride in the Apple hot air balloon twice -- once at Apple HQ on Bandley, other at party at Woz's castle..,

    ...Fun times!



    * Kinda piddly when compared to the price/capabilities of an iPhone or iPad.
    edited March 2017 tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    tcltcl Posts: 17member
    That is NOT Pat Benatar. Maybe Bonnie Tyler, but probably just some unknown studio vocalist.

    xzu
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator

    Mmm...

    Brings back memories...

    Have an Apple I manual someplace in storage.

    Bought an 8K RAM Apple ][ in July 1978 -- ~ $1,500 -- about $5-$6,000 in today's dollars. That was the computer and game paddles only -- no floppies then -- had to buy a  a cassette tape deck (storage I/O), TV adapter and TV (display)  separately -- all in for about $2,000 in 1978 dollars (my wife bought it for my birthday) -- About 2 months backlog. *


    My first computer was a Apple II with 32K, right around the same timeframe. Dad splashed out for the 5.25, though, as I was all of eight.

    And here I am :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    Loved my IIc -- it was my first real computer after the TI 99/4A. Used it for close to three years before moving onto the GS then finally the Mac.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,007member
    Seeing Scully there before he back stabbed Steve is more of a piece of history to me than the IIc of which I had many through my hands as an Apple dealer back then.  Scully visited us at our dealership in person, after the board room coup, when he did a tour of the best dealerships in UK.  It was was unsettling for me to shake his hand to be honest.  I really wanted to say 'I wished he was still selling sugar water for the rest of his life, and had left Steve to change the world' to take liberties with Steve's unfortunately successful enticing statement to Scully.
    edited March 2017 xzuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    I was at the event, being at the time a technical writer in the Apple// division. The Apple//c documentation set was the last major project I worked on at Apple. Lessee now...

    1. What's with the articles' calling the //c a "terminal"? Being as it's the computer itself, it would make more sense to call it an almost-laptop. As it happens, there was an LCD display that was made for the //c, smaller and lighter than the CRT display Apple sold with the computer. Never saw the LCD display in the wild, as far as I can remember, but it shows up in an early scene in the movie 2010.

    2. Nope, not Pat Benetar nor Bonnie Tyler, just some local voice talent.

    3. The earthquake was a nice touch, making the announcement "earthshaking". When it hit, you could tell which exhibitors were not from California, as they began packing up to leave right now. The main hint that the quake was happening was the big roll-up doors at the back of Moscone started shaking and rattling like some really big kid wanted in.

    The epicenter of the quake also happened to be about two miles from our home at the time in Morgan Hill, about 60 miles south of SF. We'd recently put up about 20 quarts of canned cherries, all of which ended up shattered on the floor of the garage. What a mess to clean up.
    smaceslinpscooter63watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 24
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    With so many photographers crammed into that room it is amazing that these pictures are rare
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    jd_in_sb said:
    With so many photographers crammed into that room it is amazing that these pictures are rare
    Scanning physical photos (or negatives, what have you) is too time consuming for most. It’s something of a pain for at home users, certainly. I have a slide scanner which has worked pretty well, but I had a ton of slides. It’s still a pain to use.
  • Reply 20 of 24

    steveh said:
    I was at the event, being at the time a technical writer in the Apple// division. The Apple//c documentation set was the last major project I worked on at Apple. Lessee now...

    1. What's with the articles' calling the //c a "terminal"? Being as it's the computer itself, it would make more sense to call it an almost-laptop. As it happens, there was an LCD display that was made for the //c, smaller and lighter than the CRT display Apple sold with the computer. Never saw the LCD display in the wild, as far as I can remember, but it shows up in an early scene in the movie 2010.
    Two partners and I opened our Sunnyvale Computer Plus store in 1978 -- We were an Apple dealership (among others).  At the same time, I worked at the IBM Palo Alto DB/DC Systems Center.  In 1979 IBM announced a new CRT terminal -- AIR, this was an IBM 3101 terminal.  The terminal was a breakthrough for IBM in that it was ASCII and used asynchronous communications -- which allowed it to connect to non-IBM computers -- maimframes, minis, etc.  The terminal used a RS-232 connecter -- either hard-wired or dial-up.



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_3101

    Remind you of anything???

    Another group in the Systems Center was responsible for the introduction of the this terminal to the IBM marketing reps and customers.   The only problem was that they didn't have access to any non-IBM computers to test the connection...  They knew I had an Apple ][ and they asked me to bring it in so they could setup and test the RS-232 interface. Everything worked fine -- the IBM ASCII CRT Terminal connected to an Apple ][ computer.  :D  

    AIR, the IBM Terminal was a lot bigger than the Apple ][, had beaucoup electronics inside and cost several hundreds of $ per month rental.


    As to the LCD display:   Our store was the best Apple Dealership in the area and was 7/10 mile from Apple HQ.   Whenever anyone had some new accessory for an Apple Computer, they'd visit Apple HQ, and our store -- to see and be seen.  AIR, again it was sometime in 1979-80, when a couple of men from a small startup  in Taiwan (I think) brought in an LCD display that they wanted to connect to an Apple ][ computer.  It was about 3" high x 8" wide and 1/1/6" thick clear plastic.   The LCD was slightly bigger and a about the same shape as the label on the Apple ][.  If you covered the label with masking tape the LCD looked like it belonged there!  



    Again, everything worked fine.   It was neat!

    These two men found out that our store was going to have a booth at the upcoming West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco -- and we agreed that they could show their LCD Display in the booth...  The Faire was really crowded and our booth was a hit -- we had the first Joy Stick for the Apple ][, a full Assembler and some Hi-Res Graphics apps...  When word got around that we were demoing an LCD Display, the booth was overrun by people from various Asian countries.  They all talked excitedly in languages that none of us understood.   I suspect that some big deals were going' down!   FWIW, one of the advantages of a clear LCD Display was that you could place it on an overhead projector and display the output on a white board -- an old teachers' trick.

    edited March 2017 icoco3tallest skilpscooter63
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