Want to own the computer that inspired the Apple II? Visit eBay now

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it's also an important part of innovation. In keeping with that idea we'd like to draw your attention to this wonderful rare eBay listing. A seller in Louisiana is offering up a working SOL-20 computer, one of only 10,000 ever produced. Currently the listing is going for $1,275.

Many readers won't be aware of the importance of the SOL-20 to Apple's legacy. According to legend (aka Walter Isaacson's book Steve Jobs) in 1976 at the first annual Personal Computer Festival, held on Labor Day weekend, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak arrived with the Apple I in a cigar box. While Jobs walked around the exhibition hall, he was reassured that the Apple I was better than the competition in terms of functionality.

There was just one thing nagging at him; the SOL-20. According to Isaacson, Jobs was confident that his product had the best circuitry, but the SOL-20 was better looking. It came in a beautiful metal case, with a built-in keyboard and power supply. When compared to the scrappy Apple I, the SOL-20 looked more like a professional machine.

Apple I

Apple II

The jump in Apple's esthetic design between the Apple I and Apple II is obvious when the two are compared side by side. The SOL-20 may be largely lost to time, a footnote for enthusiasts and historians, but for a brief window you have the opportunity to own one. At bare minimum, look at your Mac's beautiful modern design and thank the stars for the dose of inspiration that helped push Jobs and Wozniak towards the future.