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Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were perhaps two of the biggest innovative thinkers the world has ever seen. Their vision was so futuristic, one could only stand in awe and watch them create history. Jobs and Wozniak were first introduced to each other all the way back in the year 1971, by Bill Fernandez, who went on to become the first Apple employee. They became really close because of their shared love of technology and of course, pranks.
In fact, the two did not join forces for technology but for their shared love of out of the box pranks. They would create extraordinarily provocative art which ended up being displayed at a graduation ceremony. They went so far as to almost be able to call the Pope in Vatican.
Eventually, like everyone else, the two pranksters grew tired of their ways and decided to focus their love on technology like they had planned. Their first ground breaking entry into the world of innovation was by creating “blue boxes,” a system which enabled people to make long distance calls for free.
In 1975, the two Steves attended the Homebrew Computer Club together; a computer hobbyist group that gathered in California’s Menlo Park. It was here, Woz first saw the MITS Altair, which today looks like little more than a box of lights and circuit boards. The two were inspired by MITS’ build it yourself approach (the Altair came as a kit) to make something simpler for the rest of the world. This philosophy continues to shine through in Apple’s products even today.
The first Apple computer, Apple 1, was created by Woz as a means of competition to show off what he could do with such limited resources. However, little did Woz know that Jobs would like the archetype so much, he would use it for all future Apple products. Woz built everything at Apple with his own hands and he wanted to actually sell the devices for a little more than the products used to build the devices.
However, Jobs had a bigger (and better) plan for Apple altogether. Jobs cracked a deal with the Byte Shop in Mountain View to supply it with 50 computers priced at $ 500 each. This meant that once the store had taken its cut, the Apple 1 sold for $ 666.66. The legend is that Wozniak liked repeating numbers and was unaware of the ‘number of the beast’ connection.
The Byte Shop was going on a limb for Jobs and Wozniak. The fact was, Apple Computers Inc., did not have the resources to fulfill the order neither did they have enough Apple I computers. A bank turned down their request for a loan and even the $ 5,000 they received from a friend’s father was not enough to fund the project. In the end, it was Byte’s purchase order that sealed the deal for the Apple founders. Jobs was banking on this order to see them through the end of the project. While the project went through, this risk taking factor became the main reason for the first employee of Apple to quit.
Despite the fact that only 200 Apple 1 computers were produced, the success in itself was so high, the team was able to bank role the Apple 2 project. Once developed, this piece of technology, worth a little over $ 100, was selling a piece of hardware worth ten times that much. This in itself was uncharted territory for Apple as a company. Unfortunately, even with the right software, the Apple 2 could not have been a huge success as it did not adher to the company’s already established high standards.
More importantly, Apple 2 was the first computer to use colour graphics in the right way. Apple had designed a computer that embodied what we came to expect of desktop machines through the 1980’s, 1990’s and the first few years of this century. This was the beginning of everything, before Apple turned things on its head again and moved increasingly towards sealed boxes without the option for internal expansion.
The Apple 1,2 and 3 were text based machines. The stupendous success of these two brilliant geniuses had left everyone wondering about the future of the company. They did not have to wait long. Jobs desperately wanted to do something innovative and he got his break when working with the Lisa. From there on, he went on to create the Macintosh and that in itself was a massive revolution.
However, the original Macintosh required a lot of renovations needed to make it a success. For instance, it did not have an internal hard drive and this was cited as a massive problem. After several tweaks and modifications, the Macintosh 2 came into being. This was a massive success instantly because at the time of its launch, beating Microsoft which was at that time the best selling software.
Apple has progressed through the years in leaps and bounds. Despite having lost one of the original founders, Woz took forward the Apple tradition by creating something truly brilliant. From just being a contraption of sorts, Apple products progressed to something far more sophisticated and sleek. Each design was worth taking note of and keeping a watch on the market and the market trends. From the Apple 1 versions, to the iPods and the iMacs of the current world, Apple has come a long way.
Take a moment to ponder about this fact. If Woz and Jobs had not joined the computer club back in the day, then we would not have the empowering technology we have today.