Unbeknownst to most everyone, even here in Queeristan just next door to Silicon Valley, today is the 35th anniversary of the release of the 6502 microprocessor chip – one of the very first “computers on a chip.” This became the heart of the Apple II (and other ancient and successful computers).
Because chips like the 6502 were so limited compared to what we have today it’s difficult to go back and understand how much ground was being broken at the time. Before chips like the 6502, a computer was a much larger affair because several (many) different circuit boards had to be wired together. Altogether far larger than would fit in a case as small as the Apple II – think back to old scifi flicks from the 70s that featured computers as big as furniture if not entire rooms.
The low price and (for the time) high capability of the 6502 brought attention and more importantly R&D money. With practical applications by companies like Apple, Atari and Commodore – not to mention Microsoft (still spelled Micro-soft back then!) which wrote a BASIC interpreter.
In just a few years the “personal computing” revolution was in full bloom.