RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
A rare piece of computer history was auctioned off yesterday. An Apple-1 computer sold for $400,000.
COREY COHEN: What we have with the Apple-1 is sort of like the holy grail of vintage computer collecting.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Corey Cohen, who's an Apple historian, says the Apple-1 helped to launch the personal computer industry.
COHEN: Yes, it was the first product of Apple Computer, but it was the first commonly available computer that was intended as a computer that had a keyboard. Today - right? - computers have keyboards or - whether it's a virtual keyboard or a real one. So that was key.
INSKEEP: The first Apple PC was designed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
COHEN: You were guaranteed when you got home and you plugged it in, it worked. I know we take that for granted today, but it really wasn't a common thing back in the mid-1970s.
MARTIN: In 1976, an Apple-1 would cost you precisely $666.66. So the $400,000 auction price reflects an increase of 60,000%. That's how the market for vintage tech is going. If your old device is in perfect shape...
COHEN: Any of the surviving Apple-1s could probably be made to work. The question is, how original would they be? An analogy would be, sure, I could find, you know, a 1920s car, right? But would it have the original engine? Would it run just like it did back then?
INSKEEP: If an old device around your house is not in that kind of shape, no problem.
MARTIN: Just take a device you have now and set it aside for about 45 years.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COMPUTER AGE")
NEIL YOUNG: (Singing) Computer age, computer age, computer age.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.