Computers are real-world machines capable of performing high-speed calculations, now used in the modern day to deliver information and entertainment instantly across the globe. They are found everywhere as personal-use devices, from smartphones to cars. While computers are not usually capable of intelligence, they can be used to host software meant to emulate intelligence and may be depicted as sentient in pop culture.
The word "computer" is a literal combination of "compute" (Latin: computō, to calculate) + "er". The term originates in the 17th century to describe a person that "computes" (makes calculations), but this meaning shifted to describe machines for the same purpose in the 1930s and 40s.
Early computers were designed for automating math equations. A notable example is Blaise Pascal's calculator, invented in 1642, which would set the stage for more complex computers to develop. Modern principles of computing began to take shape in the 19th century through the ideas of Charles Babbage, who invented the difference engine and conceptualized its successor as a possible computer in 1837, the Analytical Engine. Babbage never completed the Analytical Engine, but in his vision, it would be capable of logical flow and using punch cards as instructions. In 1843, the mathematician Ada Lovelace would transcribe Babbage's vision and annotate on it, describing in detail how she thought the Analytical Engine could be realistically accomplished - these annotations lead some to call Ada the world's first programmer.
The first Apple computer, Apple I, was invented in the mid-1970s by Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak. However, the Apple I was impractical for use as a home computer, so the two eventually built the Apple II computer, which would surge in popularity by 1978. Apple would eventually develop the Macintosh 128K in 1984, the first commercially successful, all-in-one personal use computer, which now featured a graphical interface and a mouse. The Macintosh's accessibility to general audiences made it easier to create software, and innovations in the software industry would skyrocket as a result.