1981: The IBM 5150 Is Born
IBM launched the 5150 PC on Aug. 12, 1981.


It wasn’t much by today’s standards, or even yesterday’s. The 5150 featured a 4.77 MHz 8-to-16 bit Intel 8088 processor. It was less powerful than other processors available from Intel and Motorola, but those were thought to be “too powerful” for a PC. IBM also gave the 5150 a full 64 kilobytes of RAM — expandable to whopping 256 kB — one or two floppy drives (your choice) and a monochromatic display.


The 5150 was developed in less than a year by a team of 12 led by Don Estridge. The project was given the codename “Project Chess” — which we mention only because it sounds so cool — and built using off-the-shelf components.


Depending on how you configured your 5150, you’d shell out anywhere from $1,565 to $6,000 for one. That comes to $4,000 to $15,000 in today’s dollars. The success of the 5150 made the IBM PC the industry standard, and before long a whole bunch of “IBM compatibles” and clones jumped into the burgeoning PC market.
Wired Magazine – August 12, 2011

Sounds great but a bit misleading.  IBM was a little late to the forray… so I did a little homework.
Was it the IBM PC?
Bzzzt! The IBM PC was introduced in 1981. It was perhaps the first to wear the “PC” label, but that was IBM’s only innovation. They sure sold a bunch of them, though.
Was it the Apple ][?
No, the 1977 Apple ][ was the first highly successful mass-produced personal computer, but not the first personal computer. Nor was the 1976 Apple 1, which can be considered an Apple ][ prototype since only 200 or so were made.
The Apple 1 signaled the end of toggle switches and blinken lights, and launched the interactive graphical microcomputer as a new class of machine.

There were many other devices even before the Apple, TRS-80 and others entered the market.  As I recall IBM only reluctantly decided that the market might have some potential.
So to be true, yes the “PC” is 30 years old BUT the Personal Computer itself pre-dates the PC by many, many years.  As long as we’re all on the same page.
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