Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Apple's Other Famous Steve

Most of you are probably reading through these blog posts on some form of a laptop or a computer. Moreover, you are all using some deviation of either a Mac or a PC. Regardless of how much you knew about computers, in the early 2000’s, it was a hot debate topic to argue which computer was better. Some of you may even remember an ad campaign that Apple ran, dedicated to this very question.

However, this ad campaign, and the entire debate over the two computers, would have never occurred without the work of the man behind the original Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak.
On two separate occasions in class, we have watched a clip of Steve Jobs delivering a speech at a college graduation, and it makes sense. Up until his death, Jobs was the face of the Apple brand, and the man behind the wonderful little computers most of us carry around in our pockets today. And while it is true that he was one of the driving forces behind the iPhone, his early partner, Steve Wozniak is arguably a major contributor to the computes that we have today. Woz was introduced to Jobs during his time at the University of California at Berkeley. The two went on to develop the early computer prototypes, form Apple Computer, and market and sell a robust personal computer to the general public. An impressive list of accomplishments from two men who had the tendency to work out of a garage.
Wozniak is an excellent example of a creative personality, and he exhibits a number of dichotomies though his work. From an early age, Woz was fascinated with electronics, and constantly questioned how they functioned. He would often try to construct a number of small electronic projects growing up, completely from scratch. That childlike manor, constantly questioning the world around him, was carried into his career as an adult. He was able to push the boundaries of current knowledge on computing by questioning the limits of his work. For example, he helped to design the circuit board for the Atari game Breakout. Woz questioned if he could reproduce that same basic animation using software. This led to the design of the Apple II, including a built in programming language, BASIC, which was revolutionary at the time. And contrasting his childlike questioning was his incredible wisdom. His work speaks for itself; he singlehandedly designed and then built the Apple I Computer. His intelligence was once in a lifetime.

Woz could also have a wild imagination, but with his profession, he was forced to constantly stay grounded in reality. His work was constantly constrained by the realities of the technology. He pushed the boundaries to their absolute limits, but could only stretch them so far as the electronics would allow him 30 years ago. But it was his wildly creative imagination that led him to those boundaries in the first place. And even after the success of the first computer, it was his imagination that led to even more innovations in the second generation of Apple Computers, including the first computer with the ability to display color graphics.

With all the technological advancements that frequently occur in our time, it can be easy to take all of this for granted, and lose track of the humble beginnings of these powerful machines. We often think of Steve Jobs in relation to the Apple machines that we use today. But the origins of Apple are really due to the efforts of both men working as a team to revolutionize the computer industry. And we should all take the time to thank the lesser remembered but still equally vital, Steve Wozniak. 
And if you're interested in seeing how the original Apple computer ran, check out this video! It's amazing to see how technology has evolved.

References: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpOvzGiheOM


  1. Steve Wozniak is definitely an under-appreciated contributor to Apple. His work is just as important as Steve Jobs, but he tends to be neglected in the public mind due to Jobs being the face. I enjoyed reading more about him, thanks for posting!

  2. Steve Wozniak always struck me as someone who not only had a great processor, but also had a long battery life (computer jokes, wooo!). Honestly though, watching interviews of him is very telling of how past he can think and how long he can go working for. Wozniak is a great example of someone who found their absolute passion and obsession. It's pretty interesting to imagine where Apple would be without Wozniak or vice-versa. In my opinion, individually they were both necessary, but not sufficient enough to make Apple into what it is today (i.e., both were doubtlessly vital to the company).

  3. I think this was very interesting. In thinking about Apple the person that immediately comes to mind is Steve Jobs however it seems that Wozniak was a crucial component in the success of Apple. I think that it is interesting that Apple products are a product made through the creativity of multiple people. I think that often in terms of creativity what comes to my mind is a single person having a creative case. This idea is brought to question by the team work of Jobs and Wozniak.

  4. I found the video demonstrating how the Apple I computer worked incredibly fascinating. Steve Wozniak was obviously a creative genius to have the vision and then create the first computer, a devise that was the very first of it's kind. Obviously the first computer looks very different from what we use today. However, all the devises we use in our daily lives such as our cellular devices and laptops is based off of this one prototype that Wozniak had the vision to create. As stated in the post, the technology of his time was less advanced than his vision for the first computer. His creative vision has truly changed the way we live our daily lives, from the way we communicate to the efficiency of our worth ethic.


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