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The highlights of what happened in June in the unfolding story of technological innovations, ventures, and personalities
June 1, 1999: Napster releases its pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet service, letting people swap music stored on their computers. On April 3, 2008, Apple’s iTunes Store surpassed Wal-Mart as the biggest music retailer in the US. On June 8, 2015, Apple announced a subscription music service, responding to consumers moving away from downloading to streaming music from the Internet.
June 2, 1896: The first radio patent is issued to Guglielmo Marconi in England for his wireless telegraphy apparatus, described as “Improvements in Transmitting Electrical Impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus Therefor.”
June 5, 1833: Ada Byron (later Countess Lovelace; see her 1840 portrait on the left) meets Charles Babbage when visiting his house to see a portion the Difference Engine, a steam-powered giant calculator, or what her mother, Lady Byron, called his “thinking machine.” Later, with his plans for the Analytical Engine, Babbage would imagine the modern computer and Lovelace would write for it what is considered to be the first computer program.
June 7, 2000: United States District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson orders the breakup of Microsoft into two companies, one for the development of operating systems and the other for the development of other applications. An appeals court will later overturn the order.
June 9, 1922: Joseph Tykociński-Tykociner publicly demonstrates a motion picture with a soundtrack optically recorded directly onto the film. In the first sounds ever publicly heard from a composite image-and-audio film, Helena Tykociner, the inventor’s wife, spoke the words, “I will ring,” and then rang a bell. Next, Ellery Paine, head of University of Illinois’ Department of Electrical Engineering (where Tykociner worked), recited the Gettysburg Address.
June 10, 1977: Apple Computer ships its first Apple II computers. The system features 4KB of RAM, two game paddles, an RF cable for television monitors, and a 5 1/4-inch floppy disk drive. It can be upgraded to 48KB or 128KB of RAM in order to run video games or office applications.
June 14, 1941: John Mauchly visited John Atanasoff at Iowa State University. During the next five days he learned everything he could about what became to be known as the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). The ABC was the first electronic digital computing device but was never put to actual use because both Atanasoff and Berry left Iowa in 1942 to contribute to the war effort and did not resume the work after the war. The significance of this meeting emerged years later when it became part of the evidence that led the judge in the case of Honeywell, Inc. v. Sperry Rand Corp., et al. to decide that the ENIAC (the first electronic general-purpose computer, unveiled in 1946) patent was invalid, among other reasons, because “Eckert and Mauchly did not themselves invent the automatic electronic computer, but instead derived that subject matter from one Dr. John Vincent Atanasoff.”
June 14, 1951: The UNIVAC I, the first commercial general-purpose computer, is unveiled in Washington, DC (see its "buffer processor" on the right). The Univac was designed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert and developed for the U.S. Census Bureau by the Remington Rand Corp. It was eight feet high, seven and a half feet wide, and fourteen and a half feet long.
June 18, 1908: Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton publishes a letter in the journal Nature titled “Distant Electric Vision” in which he envisioned television as it was developed three decades later.
June 25, 1876: Alexander Graham Bell gives a public demonstration of his new invention, the telephone, at the Centennial Exhibition, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
June 29, 2007: The first iPhone is released.
June 30, 1945: John von Neumann publishes “A First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC,” describing what later became known as the “von Neumann Architecture.” Campbell-Kelly and Aspray call it in Computer: The History of the Information Machine, “the technological basis for the worldwide computer industry.” In A History of Modern Computing, Paul Ceruzzi says it “is often cited as the founding document of modern computing.”