This collaboration between Canon and Texas Instruments (TI) is the first handheld battery-powered electronic calculator. Introduced in the US in 1971, but a year earlier in Japan, it was preceded by nearly five years by a “skunk-works” project at TI. Before it, electronic calculators were large, heavy machines. Pat Haggerty, then-president of TI, conceived the project and appointed Jack Kilby to lead it. Kilby had developed the first integrated circuit device in 1958. Kilby added to his team Jerry Merryman, a new engineer at TI with expertise in digital design; and James Van Tassel, an expert in the creation of prototype hardware. Van Tassel designed the keyboard. The result was small in size (4” X 6” X 1 ¾ “), weighing just under 3 ½ pounds. It was powered by ni-cad rechargeable batteries which made up 1.8 pounds of the total. The machine printed out to thermal tape, readable through a small plastic magnifying window. It retailed at $345. That same year, other calculators were on the market, including Sharp, Busicom, SCM, Bowmar and Sanyo. By 1975, an avalanche of pocket calculators forced Keuffel & Esser to stop making slide rules, the traditional engineer’s friend since Englishman William Oughtred invented the mechanical tool in 1632. 100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
Introduced in April 1984, the IIc was Apple’s first compact model, the first with user-friendly icon graphics, and the first with significant visual design quality. It was cited as one of the best designs of the year by Time magazine. Just three month before, Apple had introduced the Macintosh computer, the first to use a Graphical User Interface (GUI), running at 8 MHz, with 128 kB RAM, and was the first to use 400 kB 3.5” disks. The Apple IIc was a refinement of the original Apple II computer, introduced in 1977 when the company was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniac. The Apple II was the first mass-produced personal computer, featuring Visicalc, the first spreadsheet program. It remained the best-selling computer until IBM entered the market in 1981. The Apple IIc design included a much-refined mouse design engineered by consultants Hovey-Kelly, founded by Stanford University product design graduated Dean Hovey and David Kelley. Their firm later evolved into IDEO design firm, founded in 1991. The IIc had a speed of 1 MHz,128kB RAM (expandable to 1 MB, a 32 kB ROM, and a floppy drive storage of 140 kB. Apple’s improved external appearance on both the IIc and Macintosh was a result of collaboration between frogdesign and Apple staff. Helmut Esslinger’s frogdesign firm was founded in Germany in 1969. The name came from FRG (the Federal Republic of Germany.) In 1982 Esslinger opened a branch office in California in response to Steve Jobs invitation to work on his NeXT workstation, introduced in 1988. Jobs left Apple in 1977 and founded NeXT in 1985.
NeXT, Inc. was founded in 1985 by Steve Jobs and a number of former Apple employees, after Jobs resigned from Apple. Jobs engaged Paul Rand to design a brand identity and a 100-page brochure promoting the brand for $100,000. Jobs hired frogdesign, to design the NeXT computer workstation, a black, 1ft X 1ft X 1ft magnesium case called “the cube.” Frogdesign was a global innovation firm founded in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) by Harmut Esslinger and partners Andreas Haug and George Sprend, in Mutlangen, Germany in 1969 as Esslinger Design. Soon afterwards, the firm moved to Altensteig, Germany, and then to Palo Alto, California, where Jobs had invited Esslinger to collaborate with Apple design staff on the design of the Apple IIc computer case. Esslinger changed the name of his firm to frogdesign in 1982 and in 1984, the Apple IIc was introduced. In 2000, frogdesign’s name was changed to frog design. Introduced with great fanfare in 1988, the NeXT computer was targeted at educational establishments only, and sold for $6,500. In 1989, it was commercialized with worldwide distribution, and sold at $9,999. Tim Berners-Lee used a NeXT computer in 1991 to create the first web browser and web server. In 1992, NeXT initiated the NeXTSTEP operating system. In 1993, NeXT withdrew from hardware and became a software company. In 1996, Apple acquired NeXT for $429 million and used the NeXTSTEP object-oriented operating system as a foundation to replace the dated Mac OS operating system, which led to the Mac OS X 10.0 in 2001. In 1997, Jobs returned to Apple and became interim CEO, and in 2000, became permanent CEO.