10 Baffling Facts About Apple Inc.

Posted Mar 04, by Alison Stanton

An Apple engineer recreated a 2000 year old computer using Legos!

In his own garage, Apple software engineer Andrew Carol constructed a recreation of the 2000 year old Antikythera Mechanism made out of Legos. The Antikythera Mechanism was built by the Ancient Greeks around 150 BC. It was recovered from a shipwrecked Roman vessel in 1901. The Antikythera Mechanism was so corroded from the seawater that no one fully understood its significance. 

It took another century and advanced imaging tools for researchers to truly understand what it was. The Antikythera Mechanism was the world’s first computing device. The mechanism was used to track celestial movements and predict lunar and solar eclipses. 

The original Antikythera Mechanism is in the National Archeological Museum in Athens, Greece. Scientific American’s parent company commissioned the videographer John Pavlus to record Carol as he worked on the recreation. Carol completed the project in 30 days using 1,500 Lego Technic parts. Carol’s work is pretty exciting in the science realm. 

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Apple makes their employees work on fake projects until they can be trusted!

Apple takes serious pride in its work, and in its privacy. A book written by Adam Lashinsky examined the intensity of Apple’s work environment. Apple sometimes makes fake projects for their employees to work on. If the project leaks, then they know who did it and they are fired immediately. 

Once they are proven trustworthy, they’re brought in to work on real projects. The interviewing process alone can take nine months, and then each engineer is still given fake projects to work on for an indefinite period of time. These aren’t just new engineers, though. It has been said that senior engineers are also given fake projects. Simply put, Apple doesn’t trust people. 

You could have a baby before even getting a job at Apple. Lashinsky says that if you want to work for Apple, it’s best to check your own ego at the door, because you’ll have to embrace Apple’s egomania times 1,000,000.

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Bill Gates helped save Apple from bankruptcy!

In 1997, Gates and Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple. He also developed and shipped versions of Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and development tools for Macintosh. Gates and Jobs made the announcement via satellite link at the Macworld Trade Show in Boston, Massachusetts. 

More than 8 million customers of Mac were using Microsoft Office on their Mac computers. It was a move meant to boost Apple popularity while making Gates and Microsoft a load of cash. Additionally, the move was done to keep anti-trust lawyers off Microsoft's back.

It seems like a lot of money to give to Apple, but Microsoft spent $450 million alone that year on WebTV. The companies both agreed to work together on Java programming language and other programming language to be user friendly and consistent with both companies. 

The investment news along with Jobs stating they would be getting new board members pushed the company’s stock up more than 40%. The $150 million investment was to be used in its core markets of education and creative content. They hoped to gain a higher percentage of its revenue from software and services from these core markets. 

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Old Apple laptops used to have the logo upside down. It wasn't an oversight but a user-friendliness decision.

This should be interesting for those of you that like to think about usability in technology. The Apple logo on old Apple laptops used to be upside down when you opened the lid. Why would Steve Jobs, the perennial perfectionist permit that? 

The answer is that it was for the laptop owner's sake. Look at your current Apple laptops, which have the logo on the right side when open. If you close the computer, you'll notice that the logo is facing away from you.

In their studies, when a laptop had the logo facing away from the user (so it wasn't backwards when open) people would attempt to open the laptop from the wrong side. 

This brought up an interesting decision between usability (aka making it intuitive which side the laptop was supposed to be opened from) and design (making the laptop look pretty to others when it was open). In the beginning Steve Jobs decided usability came before design. 

Eventually the Apple design group (and Jobs) decided that while on one hand it's a usability problem to have the logo facing away from the users, most people will probably only attempt to open the laptop on the wrong way once or twice, and then learn how to open it.

On the other hand, the problem of having the logo facing the wrong way when the laptop was open lasted for a much longer time, and the decision (and the logo) were reversed. It's reported that this was a problem for tv- and filmmakers who would even sometimes put Apple stickers on products so that the logo was displayed the right way.

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The original Apple I computer sold for $666.66

Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple and creator of the personal computer, priced his creation with an even but culturally odd number.

The Apple I was hand built by Wozniak himself with no outside assistance and in 1975 the Company sold 200 units for $666.66 a piece. This price raised some eyebrows and shocked many consumers because of its relation to the devil.

No need to worry though, Wozniak is anything but the devil. When asked about the price he said he had no idea about the correlation and mentioned that he just “likes repeating numbers." In 1977 Apple lowered the price of the Apple I to $475. Today an original Apple I is estimated to sell for around $15,000, although one sold for $50,000 at auction in 1999.

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Products made by Apple don’t have a direct off switch because Steve Jobs was afraid of death

How he explains it is that often times he would question himself about the afterlife, thinking that the wisdom you’ve accumulated carries on, somehow not just ending. But he didn’t like to imagine it as an “on/off switch” that once it is off, you are gone.

Also, the Macintosh was named for a variety of real apple: Steve Jobs is said to have tried to change the project’s name to 'Bicycle' while the McIntosh-loving staffer was out of office.

Apple made their own video game system in the 90s.

The Pippin, which Apple produced with the help of toy company Bandai, was a $600 CD-based game console that came out in 1995. This would have put it in direct competition with the Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, and the Nintendo 64, except for one thing -- it failed miserably. When it came out, the only game publisher to produce software for it was Bandai itself. When you combine that with a $600 price tag, and it’s no surprise they were only able to sell 42,000 units. On the plus side, at least you could use it to play Marathon, the predecessor to Halo.

Click here for some pics of the Pippin.

Apple could afford to buy everyone in the United States an iPod Touch and still have money left over.

As of the end of fiscal year 2010, Apple Inc. had $75.18 billion in total assets. With an excess of 311 million people in the United States (and counting), Apple’s total assets are just shy of being able to buy every American a $249 160 GB iPod classic. ($75,180,000,000/311,836,448* people=$241.09 per person). That would be $8 per person, or $2.5 billion total, short.

The slightly more affordable 8GB iPod Touch is $229. Theoretically, if Apple sold off all of its assets and used all that money to buy an iPod Touch for everyone, they would still have roughly $3.7 billion left. Of course, this requires that you ignore the very obvious question of “If Apple sold all its assets, who would it buy the iPods from?”.

*The Census website's population clock updates in real time, so that number will be out of date by the time you read this.

Apple predicted its own future!

Apple created a video to showcase a digital personal assistant. You can speak naturally to it, asking questions about the weather or having it set up meetings or alarms for you and it'll  figure out what you're trying to say and intelligently respond to what you're trying to say. Sound familiar? No, we're not talking about Siri, one of the new features of the new iPhone 4S, coming out on October 14th. 

 

These features come from a video that Apple produced in 1987 showing a futuristic interface, with a full virtual butler on screen. The best part about this? According from the information on the video, it takes place on September 16, 2011! This means that Apple predicted it's own features 20 years ago with only a one month margin of error!

 

Check out the video below:

Apple currently has more money than the U.S. government!

According to the most recent financial statement from the U.S. Treasury, the United States has an operating cash balance of $73.8 billion. Remarkably, our government has nearly $3 billion less in usable cash than one of the most powerful tech companies in the world! Apple currently has cash reserves of $76.2 billion, according to their last earnings report. This just goes to show how rabidly popular Apple have become in the past decade, with products such as the iPod hitting shelves ten years ago and the iPhone making its debut back in 2007. Perhaps in the future Uncle Sam ought to focus less on creating jobs and more on creating guys like Jobs.
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