This Macintosh-inspired $15 Apple Watch stand could be the cutest one yet

We spotted what could win the award for the cutest Apple Watch stand yet, the Elago W3. Just insert your own charging puck and slip your Watch into the slot to turn it into a miniature replica of the original Macintosh.

 

The stand emulates the general shape of the Macintosh from the side as well as the front, though it is angled back for easier Nightstand viewing.

It’s made from soft silicon, so there should be no risk of scratching the Watch and it ought to stay put well on your bedside table. I think I need one of these.

The Elago W3 stand costs $14.99 from Amazon.

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Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs visits the Soviet Union

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July 4, 1985: Steve Jobs visits Moscow for the one and only time, with the aim of selling Macs to the Russians.

During a two-day trip, Jobs lectured computer science students in the Soviet Union, attended a July Fourth party at the American embassy, discussed opening a Mac factory in Russia, and almost ran afoul of the KGB by praising assassinated Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

Coming shortly after reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise to power, Jobs’ trip to Moscow came at a tough time for the Apple co-founder. He had lost a political war with John Sculley, and was left in virtual isolation after being abandoned by the higher-ups running the company. Looking for something to do, Jobs went on a trip overseas where he visited Paris, Tuscany and eventually Moscow.

In Paris, Jobs met future-U.S. President George Bush, who discussed with him the idea that distributing Macs to the Russian people could help provoke “revolution from below.” At the time, the less-powerful Apple II had just been launched in Russia, which remained very guarded about technology being available for the masses.

Intriguingly, Jobs claimed he had the “feeling” that the attorney who helped organize his trip to the Soviet Union “worked for the CIA or the KGB” although he never elaborated on this in public. The trip was, however, notable enough that it received a mention in Jobs’ FBI file — mentioning that while there he met with an unnamed professor from the Academy of Science, “to discuss possible marketing of [Apple Computer’s] product.”

Although Jobs’ dream of paving the way for a Russian Apple division didn’t pay off at that time, there is one other fascinating development from the visit. Staying in the hotel with Jobs was Apple VP Al Eisenstat. One night, Eisenstat was awoken to the sound of a nervous computer programmer knocking on his door. When he answered it, the coder pushed a floppy disk into his hand which, upon Eisenstat’s return to the U.S., turned out to have accurate handwriting recognition software on it.

According to several members of the Apple Newton team I’ve spoken to, this code became the basis for the handwriting recognition built into Apple’s MessagePad series of devices.

 

Apple collectibles are a seller’s market

Bids for this Apple I started at $370,000.

Starting a collection of Apple’s past is relatively easy and often affordable. But once you get started and a pricey, rare object presents itself, will you be able to control yourself?

Here’s a list that will test whether you have the fever and an intense desire to hold personal computing history in your hands. It may also test your fiscal fitness.

Apple collectibles

This tempting lineup is a snapshot of eBay on any given day, and comes from the keyword search: Apple Vintage Computer. Many of these Apple collectibles are still available for bid or purchase, including some recent auction items that were priced jaw-droppingly high. You’ve been forewarned.

A device’s collectibility is largely based on the number of units produced, its revolutionary impact, and whether it includes working components and original packaging. All of this, coupled with demand, may be the difference between a valuable piece and a boat anchor, says Atlanta computer collector Lonnie Mimms.

But buyer beware: Prices, especially for “factory-sealed” items on eBay are all over the map and are not based on any official value guides, says collector and author Jonathan Zufi. While some sellers will list items at a grand or two, others will list the very same item for thousands more, says Zufi.

It only takes one person who wants something bad enough.

Proceed with caution and check your impulses.

Apple 1

The Steves’ — Jobs and Wozniak — first computer was built in a garage in 1976, and will cost you a small fortune since only about 60 are known to exist. The Ricketts Apple-1, named for its original owner, Charles Ricketts, fetched $365,000 in December 2014, and is the only machine known to exist with documentation showing Jobs personally handled the sale. The record price on an Apple 1 was set a few months earlier, when the Henry Ford Foundation wrote a check for $905,000 to have the machine in its museum in Dearborn, Mich.

Be careful, replica Apple 1s do pop up on eBay. These are unassembled kits and should only be priced at around $1,000.

Apple II

An Apple II that is in its box and has never seen the light of day. It was listed for $7999.99 but was removed Monday.

Apple’s first commercial success, and the machine made by Wozniak, is a relatively easy find. Many are still in good working order — there is even a yearly event, KansasFest, devoted to the Apple II and attended by the people who keep them running. You could spend as little as a grand on some version of the II, while eBay dealer kevincm out of Canada recently listed an Apple IIe, brand-new and still sealed in the box, for $7,999.99. (The listing has since been removed from eBay.)

Apple Lisa

This working Lisa 2 can be yours for $6,499.

Designed and marketed for business use, Lisa’s $10,000 price tag contributed to its poor sales. They’re kind of rare, especially the Lisa 1, and still highly valued. Working Lisas have gone for as little as $3,000 in the past, but there are two currently on eBay, here and here, that far exceed that. One dealer is offering up a prototype of a Lisa 2’s four-chip controller board. For $499.99, this could be your gateway drug for the unique addiction of collecting prototypes.

This is prototype of a controller board for an Apple Lisa 2 - yours for $499.99.

Prototypes or pre-production devices

This is a prototype of an Apple Macintosh Portable M5120 on eBay for $2,749.

You can easily determine whether the Apple device you stumbled upon is a test unit. Early models of pre-production computers were often encased in a clear plastic (known to collectors as “clear shots”). There is also usually some sort of tag or label indicating a pre-production status. How rare are these? Depends on the device. There may be only 10 units of a first-generation Classic iPod. But for the iPhone, Apple makes dozens of units and sends them around the world for testing by certified testers.

Prototype collector Hap Plain found his first Apple collectible on Craigslist, but some of his best pieces came from meeting former Apple engineers who hung on to their work, he says, but happily sell — or sometimes donate — a piece if they know it is going to a good home.

You could start your collection off by buying one — for $95,000. The dealer, asti7127, also out of Canada, is selling Apple collectibles that include a prototype Apple Powerbook 100, a prototype LaserWriter printer an Apple Dual 3.5 inch disk drive, which never went into production and a prototype Apple Newton. The dealer will also throw in a couple of Apple Lisas, a corduroy picnic bag with the Apple logo and other pieces of Apple schwag.

A bit steep? A dealer who goes by theapplegurug has a nice Prototype Apple Macintosh Portable M5120 with software, manuals, a case and other accessories for $2,749.

Original Macintosh

The first Macintosh from 1984 is among many coveted Apple collectibles.

The 1984 machine that made many Apple fans first fall in love is still available should you feel an urge to rekindle the old romance. A working 128k model M0001 is currently available on eBay for $2,999.84. Includes box, manuals, and that boxy mouse. Models with 512K often appear on eBay for under $1,000.

iPods

Would you pay $50,000 for these unboxed first-generation iPod collectibles?

So Apple wasn’t the first to make an MP3 music player, but it did make the one everyone wanted. iPods in a variety of colors and generations are all over the internet at prices that will fit any financial acumen.

A well-used iPod may only be a couple hundred bucks. But you might think a better investment would be to find a first generation Classic still sealed in its box. That’s where prices can get a tad crazy.

A first generation 160G black iPod Classic in its unopened box is available from gandysales for $2,200. However, deepishharry offers an unboxed 5G Classic that he will let go of for $14,900.

This iPod Classic in its pretty packaging is for sale for $14,900.

Or send $50,000 to theappleipodbay and the money will buy all three first generation iPod Classics in 5G, 10G and 20G still sealed in their boxes. Eight potential bidders are watching.

iPhone

First-gen iPhones, especially with early serial numbers will fetch several thousand dollars on eBay. Currently, bobk1000 has a first-generation 8G black iPhone listed at $18,000. It is still sealed in its rather handsome packaging.

 

Classic Andy Warhol ‘Macintosh’ Painting Could Fetch $600,000 at Auction

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The acrylic and silkscreen canvas painting is part of Warhol’s “Ads” suite from 1985, one year after the original Macintosh launched. The painting, which features Apple’s old rainbow logo sandwiched between the words Apple and Macintosh, is estimated to receive between $400,000 and $600,000 U.S. at auction.

“We went into Sean [John Lennon’s son]’s bedroom–and there was a kid there setting up the Apple computer that Sean had gotten as a present, the Macintosh model. I said that once some man had been calling me a lot wanting to give me one, but that I’d never called him back or something, and then the kid looked up and said, ‘Yeah, that was me. I’m Steve Jobs.’ And he looked so young, like a college guy. And he told me that he would still send me one now. And then he gave me a lesson on drawing with it. It only comes in black and white now, but they’ll make it soon in color…I felt so old and out of it with this young whiz guy right there who helped invent it.” — Andy Warhol

The starting bid for the Macintosh painting will be $280,000 U.S. when the eBay auction starts on November 12 at 9:30 AM Eastern. The painting is in very good condition overall based on the Sotheby’s report, with only light wear and handling along the edges, minor hairline craquelure, possible retouching and a few other blemishes.

This Macintosh replica will have you lusting for wood

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Love Hultén has created a beautiful replica of the original 128k Macintosh made almost entirely out of American walnut. Known for his craftsmanship in building replicas and concepts of gaming consoles among other gadgets, Hultén has taken that love and applied it to one of Apple’s most beloved products to date. He calls it the Golden Apple.

What’s even more impressive is that the replica works, though not the way you might expect. Hultén actually built the wooden housing around a functional Mac mini. The additional optical disc drive is in perfect alignment with where the floppy disk drive was on the original Macintosh. Judging by the UI on the display, the Mac appears to be running either OS X Leopard or OS X Snow Leopard.

The keyboard is also made out of walnut and “uses blue cherry MX tactile switches which are covered by gold plated key caps made from zink.” It’s designed to resemble the original Macintosh keyboard as well.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to buy this stunning creation, since Hultén really just makes these creations to show off but ultimately keep for himself. You can certainly browse through the gallery of photos and check out his very charming demo video on YouTube. Yes, I know, it’s not the same, but a drool-worthy tribute such as this deserves to be cherished even if just through the Internet.

One man’s progress bar is another man’s artistic expression.

This indecision's buggin' me... Photo: Viktor Hertz

That other man being, in this case, freelance graphic designer Viktor Hertz, who spends some of his time making fun little art pieces out of Macintosh progress bars.

He calls this project his “work in progress bars,” and you can see his whole collection on his main page, as well as some of his other illustration work over on Behance. Continue below to see a few more tasty treats from Hertz, who calls it “a quick and silly little side-project of mine.”

There is no try. Photo: Viktor Hertz

Should probably choose the Quit option. Photo: Viktor Hertz

You've got mail! Photo: Viktor Hertz

I'm more of a half full kind of guy. Photo: Viktor Hertz

You can also grab his designs on T-shirts, mugs, and the like over at Society 6.

9 astonishing Apple ads you probably missed.

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From sledgehammer-tossing freedom fighters to misunderstood teenagers at Christmas, Apple’s TV commercials have hit us with some truly iconic imagery over the years. But when a company has been around since the 1970s, it’s no great surprise that a select few ads would slip our collective memory.

After scouring through hundreds of big-time commercials and tiny TV spots that promoted Cupertino’s products over the years, here are our picks for the Apple advertisements that time forgot. All of them are worthy of a second look — and almost all of them for the right reasons.

Alligator

With Apple taking a greener, more sustainable path in the Tim Cook era, we’re unlikely to see ads cropping up any time soon that show executives laughing at the prospect of turning alligators into handbags and shoes. Welcome to 1985!

This early ad for the Macintosh isn’t nearly as well-known as Ridley Scott’s “1984’ masterpiece, but it does a great job of helping establish the kind of irreverent humor that has frequently characterized Apple ads over the years.

We Are Apple (Leading the Way)

Remember the time Apple took a crack at the Flashdance theme for a hilariously cheesy 1980s corporate ad? No? Well check it out and be reminded! While it’s pretty cringe-worthy stuff in a lot of ways, it is a reminder of a part of the Apple personality that has long since been airbrushed from existence: the geeky, friendlier computer company happy to poke fun at itself. At least, that’s what we hope is going on here.

Nightmare

This ad is pretty appropriate given Apple’s newly launched “Back to School” promotion. It’s certainly a bit strange, starting out in a Nightmare on Elm Street-style bad dream about forgetting to study for a history test, only for the central character to wake up and realize his Mac is the perfect study aid.

In the corresponding Samsung ad, we imagine the kid would have just copied from the person next to him.

Middle Seat

While 99 percent of Apple’s ads hit the mark — nailing the aspirational goal of making the typical Apple user look like an everyman, but just a bit cooler — this TV spot is a miss. Coming soon after the iconic “Think Different” ad everyone knows and loves, this iBook commercial portrayed Apple users as inconsiderate, socially inept weirdos.

The fact that it ends with Baha Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out?” — a song that went from zero to teeth-grittingly annoying in an incredibly short space of time — just makes it worse. Hey, at least it got actor Milo Ventimiglia a bit of work before Heroes came long.

Hard Sell

It’s only recently that Apple has gotten better at selling to enterprise customers. Speak to any Apple employee involved in this area from the 1980s, and they’ll likely pour out their heart about the frustration of pitching a superior computer to businesses, only to be let down with the news that the suits will be sticking with the then-unassailable IBM. Called “Hard Sell,” this 1987 TV spot turns that around with the aid of a neat (and somewhat subtle) twist at the end. A great, understated Apple ad.

The Future

I’m a sucker for retro sci-fi, and I love Apple ads that look backward as well as forward. While Steve Jobs did this a bit while at the helm, it seems clear that Tim Cook is more willing to embrace that which has gone before. (There’s no better example than the massive 30th-anniversary celebrations for the Macintosh, compared to the minimal commemorations under Jobs for the more logical 25th-anniversary milestone.)

This 1994 campaign looked fondly back on the outdated world of robots and hover cars, before dismissing them in favor of the Macintosh. It’s a cheeky, geeky advert, and a lot softer than some of the more abrasive ads Apple was running in the ’90s.

High Technology

A lot of people remember the first Mac ads, but how many people remember the first Apple II spot? Created for High Technology, one of the first Apple resellers, this spot does a pretty good job of explaining exactly why you would want a personal computer at a time when there really weren’t all that many compelling reasons to do so.

While this is technologically a world away from the Apple ads of today, it’s interesting to see that in some ways very little has changed: This commercial focused as much on the user experience in 1977 as Apple’s ads do in 2014. Of course, where today it’s all about using iPads to measure the trajectory of baseballs, or using iPhones to track your health, 37 years ago the focus was more on balancing checkbooks and coding your own Pong game.

Voice Recognition

A lot of people act as though Apple totally failed to innovate during the decade Steve Jobs was away from the company. While it’s impossible to argue that Apple wasn’t in a lot of trouble by the time Jobs came back in 1997, Apple did come up with some pretty cool concepts during the company’s Steve-less “dark ages.”

One of them was PlainTalk, the collective name for Apple’s MacInTalk speech-synthesis and speech-recognition tools. Those features take center stage in this ad, which crows about the next iteration of the user interface at a time when a lot of PC users were still working with DOS. Strangely enough, the most un-Appleish thing about the ad is its promise that a Mac “costs less” than its rivals.

Meeting

Ads for failed products are almost guaranteed to be forgotten. The Newton was Apple’s doomed line of personal assistants, which in many ways prefigured both the iPhone and the iPad. Despite some early flaws, the Newton was actually a great product by the time Apple finally threw in the towel. This ad’s pretty great, too, with a stylish prowling camera and a wicked undercurrent of black humor.