Electronic Design

Steven Wozniak and Steven P. Jobs

Wozniak and Jobs (2002)

Wozniak and Jobs first met as teenagers in 1968 while working for Hewlett-Packard. Their inaugural business venture was the infamous “blue box,” a pocket-size telephone attachment that allowed the user to make free long-distance telephone calls.Wozniak helped design the device in his spare time and, when it was completed, Jobs helped sell it. In 1974, Jobs became a video designer at Atari Inc. Later that year he renewed his friendship with Wozniak, attending meetings of Wozniak’s Homebrew Computer Club. Much more interested in marketing computers than in designing them, Jobs persuaded Wozniak to work with him on building a PC. In 1976, they developed the prototype of what would become the Apple I, the first single-board computer with a built-in video interface and an on-board ROM, which told the machine how to load other programs from an external source.Wozniak and Jobs then started a company that they called Apple Computer Corp. in Jobs’ parents’ garage in Los Altos, Calif. Jobs convinced a local electronics retailer to order 25 Apple I computers. The pair raised $1300 to build these machines by selling their most valuable possessions —Jobs, his Volkswagen van; Wozniak, his programmable calculator. The following year,Wozniak and Jobs developed the Apple II, which had built-in circuitry allowing it to interface directly to a color video monitor or to a television set with add-ons. To promote its use, Jobs challenged programmers to develop applications for the new computer. The result was a library of 16,000 software programs, from games to budgeting packages. Within six years of its founding, Apple Computer Corp. became a public company and was listed in the Fortune 500.

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