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Time line of Apple milestones and product introductions

January 17, 2011|Reuters

A day before Apple Inc is scheduled to report quarterly results, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said he would take a medical leave for the second time in two years.

Expectations were that Apple's revenue would swell more than 50 percent, but its shares fell 8.3 percent in Frankfurt . The U.S. markets were closed for Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Here is a sample of Apple's big milestones and product introductions:

1976 - High-school buddies and dropouts, Steven Wozniak and Steven Jobs found Apple Computer. Their first product, Apple I, built in circuit board form, debuts at "the Homebrew Computer Club" in Palo Alto, California, to little fanfare.

1977 - The company unveils the Apple II, perhaps the first personal computer in a plastic case with color graphics. It is a big hit.

1983 - Apple starts selling the "Lisa," a desktop computer for businesses with a graphical user interface, the computer system most users are familiar with today. A year earlier, Jobs was booted from the Lisa project -- so he started working on the Macintosh.

1984 - Apple debuts the Macintosh personal computer. It is hyped with a dark, stylized commercial in which a lone "heroine" takes on "Big Brother" characters that are reminiscent of those in George Orwell's novel "1984" -- a metaphor for IBM. Directed by "Alien" and "Blade Runner" filmmaker Ridley Scott, the ad airs just once nationally, during the Super Bowl. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v-vNy-7jv0XSc)

1991 - Apple introduces the Powerbook 100, its first hit portable computer.

1993 - The Newton Message Pad, Apple's first handheld device, debuts. It has a touchscreen and features many tools found in today's smartphones, such as an address book, a calendar and an e-mail function. It flops.

September 1997 - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who left in 1985 after a power struggle, is named interim CEO of the struggling company, which had piled up losses of more than $1.8 billion in the previous two fiscal years.

November 1997 - Jobs introduces a new line of Macintosh computers, called G3. He also demonstrates a new website that will let people order machines directly from Apple.

1998 - Apple unveils the iMac desktop computer, boasting its simple setup and built for an Internet age.

2001 - Apple introduces the iPod, a palm-sized, hard-drive-based digital music player.

2003 - The iTunes Store opens. The software-based application allows users to shop for music, audiobooks, movies, and TV shows for downloading over the Internet.

August 2004 - Jobs announces he underwent successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas. He said it was a rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which is highly treatable.

2005 - The iPod adds video, and Apple fills out its portable media line with the low-end iPod shuffle, and sleek iPod nano. (Through 2009, it sold more than 220 million iPods.)

October 2005 - Tim Cook is named Apple chief operating officer. Cook, had been Apple's executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations since 2002.

January 2007 - Apple announces the iPhone. The device features one button on its smooth face and has a "virtual" keyboard. It also introduces Apple TV, considered to be one of Apple's lowlights.

September 2007 - Apple unveils the iPod Touch -- essentially an iPhone without the phone -- which has wireless capabilities and can perform much like a portable computer. 2008 - Apple opens the doors to the App Store as an update to iTunes. The store features small applications -- from games to social and business tools -- that add functions to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple also releases the Macbook Air, a slim portable computer.

January 2009 - Jobs takes leave for health reasons. COO Cook to lead the company in the interim

June 2009 - Jobs returns to the company in June after undergoing a liver transplant.

2009 - Apple releases the iPhone 3GS.

2010 - Apple awards COO Cook a bonus valued at $22 million for leading the company during Jobs' sixth-month leave, during which shares soared about 70 percent

April 2010 - Apple begins selling the iPad, a 10-inch touchscreen tablet. As of Dec. 10, Apple was expected to have shipped 12.9 million iPads in 2010, according to researcher iSuppli. Apple had an 84 percent share of the tablet market by year's end.

November 2010 - The Beatles' 13 albums become available on iTunes, ending years of talks between Jobs, Beatles' management company Apple Corps and Beatles label EMI Group. In the first week of release on iTunes, the group sells more than 2 million individual songs and more than 450,000 albums worldwide.

Jan. 17, 2011 - Jobs announces that he will take another medical leave.

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