The birth chart of Apple
How the Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus alignment of 1976 is reflected in Apple's story
After looking at the youth years of Steve Jobs through the lens of planetary transits, this post focuses on the birth chart of Apple, the company he cofounded with Steve Wozniak in 1976. We explain why the planetary alignments of April 1st, 1976 were particularly auspicious for the foundation of a computer company, and we describe how the combined meanings of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus are fully expressed in the story of Apple, so that it's become a giant. Our next post will take a wider perspective on the history of computers, including IBM, the first computer giant, and the analogy between Gutenberg's printing press and desktop publishing.
This post covers the following topics:
The zeitgeist of 1976: politics, culture and technology
In the field of politics, 1976 can be remembered as the end of an era and the beginning of a new one:
- In China the Cultural Revolution ended, and its leader and founding father, Mao Zedong, died, marking the end of an era that had started in 1949.
- The Vietnam war had ended with the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975 and Vietnam was reunited in 1976.
- Started in 1969, the so-called Détente between the Soviet Union and the United States, continued, as symbolised by the Apollo-Soyuz handshake in space in July 1975.
- In November 1976, democrat Jimmy Carter was elected president, with a radically different program from its republican predecessors Nixon and Ford.
The following new and unique cultural phenomenon are worth mentioning:
- Punk rock and New Wave, which emerged between 1974 and 1976 as a reaction against mainstream 1970s rock, and became major in 1977.
- Irish rock band U2 was formed. The transits on Bono's birth chart for the day of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of 1976 are impressive: Uranus was transiting his natal Moon-Neptune conjunction and Jupiter was reaching his Venus-Mercury conjunction (see the chart below). It's interesting to note that Steve Jobs and Bono (U2's lead singer) were friends, and that U2 has partnered with Apple numerous times since 2003.
- The first Star Wars was filmed in 1976, and would be released in 1977.
1976 was also an important year in terms of technology breakthroughs, particularly in aerospace:
- the Concorde supersonic passenger airliner made its first commercial flight (its very first flight was in 1969).
- the Viking 1 and Viking 2 spacecrafts successfully landed on Mars, and the Voyager program was preparing the famous Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 for a grand tour to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (launched in 1977).
- the space shuttle Enterprise was rolled out.
In the field of computing, the first laser printer was introduced by IBM (the IBM 3800).
Why April 1976 was the perfect time for the foundation of a computer company
As presented in our post about the rhythm of innovation in the history of computers, the release of new generations of computers are strongly correlated to the alignments of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. That's why the years 1975-1977 were the perfect time for the birth of the personal computer.
However, it's worth looking closely at the sequence of alignments to fully grasp why April 1976 was such a special moment from an astrological perspective. The years 1975-1977 were the crossroads of four important cycles of the giant planets:
- the 44.1-year Saturn-Uranus cycle, which reached its waning square between 1975 and 1977.
- the 20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycle, which reached its waning square between 1975 and 1976.
- the 13.5-year Jupiter-Uranus cycle, which reached its opposition in April 1976.
- the 12.7-year Jupiter-Neptune cycle, which reached its opposition in June 1977.
1976 is the year when 3 of those cycles overlapped :
- In 1975, two Jupiter-Saturn squares occurred in June and July and a Saturn-Uranus square in October.
- In 1976, there was a third and final Jupiter-Saturn square in March, the Jupiter-Uranus opposition occurred in April, and there was a second Saturn-Uranus square in July.
- In 1977 there were two more Saturn-Uranus squares in February and April, and a Jupiter-Neptune opposition in June.
Between March and July the combination of Saturn's squares to Jupiter and Uranus formed a wide T-square, a rare and complex alignment of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. This T-square alignment was the climax of all the alignments of the giant planets that occurred between 1975 and 1977. Following this analysis, if we had to recommend an auspicious day for the foundation of a computer business in the years 1975 to 1977 we would have recommended the month between March 9 and April 18, 1976, when Jupiter had passed its square to Saturn and was applying to its opposition to Uranus. Apple was founded precisely in the middle of that timeframe. Perfect timing! Remarkably, Irish rock band U2 was formed a few months later, in September 1976, also a very good time, but not as perfect as April ;-)
Illustration of the 1976 Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus alignment, forming a wide T-square in April 1976
How the potential of the Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus alignment is reflected in Apple's story
The foundation of Apple can be seen as one of the many manifestations of the Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus planetary alignment of 1976. This alignment is an important component of Apple's birth chart for April 1st, 1976, and plays an important role in its "astrological DNA". Apple's birth chart resonates with those three cycles of giant planets. Taken separately, each alignment of two giant planets provides important insights into Apple's destiny:
- the Jupiter-Uranus opposition (applying within 5 degrees of arc): this alignment reflects one of the most obvious characteristics of Apple as a Technology Innovator. The alignment of Jupiter and Uranus can be regarded as highly auspicious for the foundation of a technology company, because Uranus is the planet associated with innovation, and Jupiter strengthens it and give the ability to democratise one's inventions. In a sense, this was the signature of Apple Computer when it was founded: to make the personal computer as affordable and user-friendly as possible, so that there would be one in every home and office.
- the Jupiter-Saturn square (separating within 5 degrees): this alignment is related to the reorganisation and restructuring of organisations, industries and society in general. It strongly resonates with Apple's position as the challenger of computer industry giants such as IBM. Steve Jobs' 1983 keynote, before the Macintosh was introduced, is a vivid expression of the archetypal story of Zeus (Jupiter) trying to overthrow Kronos (Saturn).
- the sign-based square of Saturn to Uranus: this is the most polarised of the six combinations of the giant planets, and resonates with the myth of Prometheus, with radical revolutions that break the status quo and create a "New World" by destroying the "Old World".
Taken together, the the combination of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus fully reflects Apple's unique ability to reorganise/revolutionise entire ecosystems and markets: the personal computer industry with the Macintosh, the music industry with the iPod, the tablet market with the iPad. But the best example to date has been the iPhone, which made the Blackberry and Nokia smartphones obsolete almost overnight, and put those companies out of the game within a few years following its introduction.
Apple's birth chart: April 1st, 1976 in Cupertino, CA, United States
The dichotomy between Apple and IBM
The transits on IBM's birth chart at the time of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of 1976 (see below) are impressive: transiting Jupiter is opposing IBM's natal Jupiter and approaching its natal Saturn, transiting Saturn in opposing its natal Uranus and transiting Uranus is transiting IBM's natal Jupiter and approaching an opposition to natal Saturn. This could easily be interpreted as a clash of titans! As early as 1976, when looking at the synastry between IBM's chart and Apple's chart, a skilled astrologer could have predicted that the next Zeus that would eventually overthrow Kronos had been born. ;-)
From its early years Apple took the role of David against Goliath (IBM). In his 1983 keynote Steve Jobs clearly expressed how IBM repeatedly failed to recognise the importance of emerging new technologies such as xerography, the mini-computer and the personal computer: "In 1977, Apple, a young fledgling company on the West Coast, invents the Apple II, the first personal computer as we know it today. IBM dismisses the personal computer as too small to do serious computing and unimportant to their business."
Many years later, Apple's obsession with IBM was still obvious in its marketing campaigns:
- Apple's "Think different" advertising slogan was a direct response to IBM's slogan "THINK". Remarkably, the "Think different" campaign, which ran from 1997 to 2002, coincided with the transit of Uranus on Steve Jobs' natal Mercury, which can literally be interpreted as a transit inviting oneself to "Think differently".
- Apple's "Get a Mac" advertising campaign (2006-2009) was based on the dichotomy between a "Mac Guy" and a "PC Guy". The PC guy represented the Windows PC, which was initially based on the combination of Microsoft's operating system and IBM's PC hardware.
At the time of those marketing campaigns, Apple could still be seen as David against Goliath, and Goliath had become Microsoft. But today Apple has become another Goliath as part of the GAFAM giants.
Transits on IBM's birth chart for April 18, 1976 (the day of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction)
Additional notes on Apple's birth chart
The following aspects add valuable information to draw a portrait of Apple as reflected in its birth chart:
- the exact Sun-Mercury conjunction (within a few minutes) in opposition to Pluto (within 2 degrees) forming a T-square with Mars: this reflects Apple's character as an assertive communicator (Mercury-Mars), its strong ability for thorough research and its sense of secrecy (Mercury-Pluto). But this configuration also has a shadow potential related to the story of Faust and the approach of using Knowledge as a means to gain Power.
- the Moon-Jupiter conjunction (in opposition to Uranus): this is an extremely lucky alignment.
- the Venus-Saturn trine (applying within 4 degrees): this alignment can be associated with classical and traditional art forms. Apple had, from the beginning, a strong sense of design and a strong connexion to the liberal arts. Apple computers became the platform of choice for many visual artists and creative professionals.
- Chiron is included in the Moon-Jupiter conjunction, which adds the topics of healing and education. These may not seem directly related to Apple, but in fact, through its 40 years of existence, Apple has made multiple attempts related to Education. More recently, Apple entered the Healthcare space with the Apple Watch and the Health app integrated into iOS. We can already speculate that Apple's strategy for the Healthcare industry will start a new cycle in 2026, when Chiron will complete its first 50 year cycle started in 1976.