29 Years Ago Today, Apple Officially Launched the StyleWriter

Apple StyleWriter Credit: SummitID
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Since the Apple II, Steve Jobs and his company tried to make an impact in the market by allowing users to print what they saw on their computer.

One of Apple’s earliest printers was the Apple Silentype, which was an easy-to-use device in comparison to competing products that were available at the time.

It used a dot-matrix style of printing, which was standard for the era but was growing less and less beneficial as computers became more powerful and more capable of printing complex designs.

The Silentype was priced at $599, which adjusted for 2020 inflation is the equivalent of $1,875.30.

Apple would continue to create their own printers through the years, but pricing remained one of the company’s greater struggles. While the Apple II and III were reasonably priced options, printers were equally expensive additions, thus making them inaccessible to anyone but those in business or with heaps of disposable income.

The LaserWriter, for example, opened doors for the desktop publishing revolution, but it was still too expensive for the everyday citizen. The entire device cost $6,995 in total when it hit the market in 1985. When adjusted for 2020 inflation, that ends up being $16,770.51 in total, which is more than some people pay for an entire car in 2020.

It wasn’t until 1991 that Apple decided to adapt its printing technologies for the masses. On March 1st, Apple released the StyleWriter. It was a $399 (adjusted for inflation: $755.73) printer that used inkjet printing methods.

Inkjet technology wasn’t anything new to the market, but it was considered by most to be the best printing technology available at the time. Inkjet was actually able to reproduce photo-quality imagery, as opposed to Dot-Matrix printing’s limited methodology.

Over the next few years, Apple would update the StyleWriter a few times with the new StyleWriter II, the StyleWriter 1200 and eventually the StyleWriter Color. This line of printers would be produced for almost six years until 1997 when Steve Jobs returned from his 12-year departure from the company. Jobs immediately canceled the majority of Apple products at the time, including the StylePrinter.

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