Wired's first issue (1993) plus 12,000 word oral history of Wired as a free iPad app

I started working at Wired in 1993 (3rd issue), but I wrote a piece for the first issue (a review of Bruce Sterling's Hacker Crackdown) so I'm excited that Wired is releasing the first issue for free as an iPad app along with a 12,000-word oral history and archival images from the original team behind WIRED.

NewImageWIRED today announced the reissue of its iconic inaugural issue on the iPad as a free download on June 1. Launched nearly twenty years ago in January 1993, the premiere issue featured science fiction author Bruce Sterling on the cover and quickly became a sought-after collectible. Re-envisioned using the latest publishing tools, the iPad version (1.1.1) is a page for page replica upgraded with annotations and perspectives on how it all happened and what became of the stories and subjects within from the founders, editors, and contributors involved.

"As far as we were concerned, making this free for all of the readers who have supported WIRED over the past 20 years was the only option,” says Howard Mittman, VP & publisher, WIRED. “We knew we wanted to revisit the first issue for our twentieth anniversary, and thanks to Adobe, we were able to make that happen. The only thing more exciting than looking back at that issue and seeing how relevant it is today is being able to share it with the WIRED community."

Bb in wiredThe issue, created through the sponsorship of Adobe, also features a 12,000-word oral history and archival images from the original team behind WIRED. Louis Rossetto, Jane Metcalfe, Kathleen Lyman, Kevin Kelly, John Plunkett, and many of the early writers, contributors, and investors recount the stories of WIRED’s birth from its inception in Amsterdam (Millennium was the working title) and initial investment pitches to the first story assignments and hot-off-the-press copies reaching hands at MacWorld in 1993.

Among the hundreds of anecdotes and stories within the stories:

· As the first editor’s letter said, WIRED was founded because “the Digital Revolution is ripping through our lives like a Bengali Typhoon.” Curiously “Internet” was only printed twice in that first issue. Then executive editor Kevin Kelly said he wanted to cover it in the broadest sense.

· WIRED issues have always been organized by numbers rather than dates (1.1 vs. January 1993). Founder Louis Rossetto didn’t want to be like everyone else so the numerical system is a nod to software with each iteration an improvement on the last.

· WIRED launched in the middle of advertising depression and many magazines hit stands without any paid advertisements at all. WIRED refused to compromise – one exception? Charity. Founders Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe donated a page each issue to a good cause.

Wired's first issue (1993) on iPad


  1. “Free” after your wireless costs and the cost of the iPad.  What’s the matter with a PDF?

    1. Didn’t the first issue of Wired predict the Internet and mobile would be a set of disjoint walled gardens contolled by media conglomerates catering to hipsters?

  2. “WIRED launched in the middle of advertising depression and many magazines hit stands without any paid advertisements at all.”

    Which seems to be a theme- a few people took the mickey out of the launch of Wired UK’s current incarnation for starting in the middle of a recession.

    1. Some of the early ads were for companies that didn’t appear to exist. I wonder if Wired made up ads just to make the magazine look like it had more appeal to advertisers than it actually did.

  3. Hasn’t issue one been on the website for a long time? I parted with my complete collection (even west and east coast editions) of Wired magazines a couple of years ago because they were all online. The only use for them was to look cool on the bookshelf especially with a black light. Hope they haven’t turned off the website archives in favor of forcing everyone to access the collection through mobile device apps.

    As an aside: Wired peaked with the ‘Hacker Tourist’ issue. The article about transocean cables was one of the geekiest articles I’ve ever  read. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, it’s well worth your time to do so.

  4. I always thought the numbering of the issues as 1.1, 1.2 etc was just the same as loads of other magazines, which insist on calling issues “Volume 16 Issue 5” which annoys me. When was it published?!

  5. I’ve still got my copy of that first issue. I recall being slightly puzzled when I saw it and wondered “Why is the top of Bruce’s head on this magazine” as I’d met Sterling a couple of times in the previous couple of years.

  6. Picked up my first issue of Wired with Neal Stephenson on the cover; massive issue, modern ones barely come close to half of it. Been reading it since, saving each issue (even if many of them weren’t worth keeping). Found a seller on craigslist offloading his entire collection and bought it all for cheap, so finally have every issue except the first, which sold out in a flash.

  7. Ha, I have this very issue – only – tucked away in my closet and I remember exactly where I bought it too.  Time has really brought change . . .

  8. I, too, have this issue (and nearly all of the rest0). I remember reading the article on cellphone hacking in High School, and being amazed that someone could publish it. I made sure to pick it up for years, and then got a subscription.

  9. I too have the first 5 in mint condition, sits on one of the more proud shelves in my room.

  10. I kept all of my issues until there were too damn many of them; now I have just the first 2 years or so.  I am a sucker for first issues of new magazines; I still have my Issue #1 in near-mint condition on my shelf.

    The magazine has had a lot of ups and downs.  After year 3 or so it went from a supercool mag with Bruce Sterling and Laurie Anderson on the cover to sensationalistic crapfest, and now it’s somewhere in between.  I read it on my iPad now; the irony is (when looking back at the old issues) just how off some of the predictions were.

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