History of Apple: how Apple came to lead the tech industry

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Nik Rawlinson is a freelance writer and author.

The foundation of Apple: The third founder

The history of everyone’s favourite start-up is a tech fairytale of one garage, three friends and very humble beginnings. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

The two Steves – Jobs and Wozniak – may have been Apple’s most visible founders, but where it not for their friend Ronald Wayne there might be no iPhoneiPad or iMactoday. Jobs convinced him to take 10% of the company stock and act as an arbiter should he and Woz come to blows, but Wayne backed out 12 days later, selling a holding that today would be worth $72bn for just $500.

The foundation of Apple: How Jobs met Woz

Jobs met Woz at the Homebrew Computer Club; a gathering of enthusiasts in a garage in California’s Menlo Park. Woz had seen his first MITS Altair there – which today looks like little more than a box of lights and circuit boards – and was inspired by MITS’ build-it-yourself approach (the Altair came as a kit) to make something simpler for the rest of us. You can see this philosophy shining through in Apple’s products today.

So he produced the the first computer with a typewriter-like keyboard and the ability to connect to a regular TV. Later christened the Apple I, it was the archetype of every modern computer, but Wozniak wasn’t trying to change the world with what he’d produced – he just wanted to show off how much he’d managed to do with so few resources. Speaking to NPR in 2006, he explained that, ‘when I built this Apple I… the first computer to say a computer should look like a typewriter – it should have a keyboard – and the output device is a TV set, it wasn't really to show the world [that] here is the direction [it] should go [in]. It was to really show the people around me, to boast, to be clever, to get acknowledgement for having designed a very inexpensive computer.’

It almost didn’t happen, though. The Woz we know now has a larger than life personality – he’s funded rock concerts and shimmied on Dancing with the Stars – but, as he told the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘I was shy and felt that I knew little about the newest developments in computers.’ He came close to ducking out altogether, and giving the Club a miss.

Let’s be thankful he didn’t. Jobs saw the computer, recognised its brilliance, and sold his VW microbus to help fund its production. Wozniak sold his HP calculator, and together they founded Apple Computer Inc on 1 April 1976, alongside Ronald Wayne. ...




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