Steve Wozniak

 

In 1975 Wozniak started developing the Apple I into the computer that launched Apple when he and Jobs first began marketing it the following year. He primarily designed the Apple II in 1977, known as one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputers, while Jobs oversaw the development of its foam-molded plastic case and Rod Holt developed the switching power supply. With Jef Raskin, Wozniak had major influence over the initial development of the original Apple Macintosh concepts from 1979 to 1981, when Jobs took over following Wozniak's brief departure from the company due to a traumatic airplane accident. After permanently leaving Apple in 1985, Wozniak founded CL 9 and created the first universal remote, released in 1987. He then pursued several other business and philanthropic ventures throughout his career, focusing largely on technology in K–12 schools.
The name on Wozniak's birth certificate is "Stephan Gary Wozniak", but Steve's mother said that she intended it to be spelled "Stephen", which is what he uses.:18 Wozniak has mentioned his surname being Polish and Ukrainian and spoken of his Polish descent, but stated that he does not know the origin of some other people with the Wozniak surname because he is "no heritage expert".
In 1975, Wozniak began designing and developing the computer that would eventually make him famous, the Apple I. On June 29 of that year, he tested his first working prototype, displaying a few letters and running sample programs. It was the first time in history that a character displayed on a TV screen was generated by a home computer. With the Apple I, he and Jobs were largely working to impress other members of the Palo Alto-based Homebrew Computer Club, a local group of electronics hobbyists interested in computing. The Club was one of several key centers which established the home hobbyist era, essentially creating the microcomputer industry over the next few decades. Unlike other Homebrew designs, the Apple had an easy-to-achieve video capability that drew a crowd when it was unveiled.
After the success of the Apple I, Wozniak designed the Apple II, the first personal computer that had the ability to display color graphics, and BASIC programming language built-in. Inspired by "the technique Atari used to simulate colors on its first arcade games", Wozniak found a way of putting colors into the NTSC system by using a $1 chip, while colors in the PAL system were achieved by "accident" when a dot occurred on a line, and to this day he has no idea how it works. During the design stage, Steve Jobs argued that the Apple II should have two expansion slots, while Wozniak wanted eight. After a heated argument, during which Wozniak had threatened for Jobs to 'go get himself another computer', they decided to go with eight slots. The Apple II became one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers in the world.
Though finally leaving Apple as an active employee in 1985, Wozniak chose to never remove himself from the official employee list, and continues to represent the company at events or in interviews. Today he receives a stipend from Apple for this role, estimated to be $120,000 per year. He is also an Apple shareholder. He maintained a friendly acquaintance with Steve Jobs until Jobs's death in October 2019. However, in 2006, Wozniak stated that he and Jobs were not as close as they used to be. In a 2013 interview, Wozniak said that the original Macintosh "failed" under Steve Jobs, and that it was not until Jobs left that it became a success. He called the Apple Lisa group the team that had kicked Jobs out, and that Jobs liked to call the Lisa group "idiots for making [the Lisa computer] too expensive". To compete with the Lisa, Jobs and his new team produced a cheaper computer, one that, according to Wozniak, was "weak", "lousy" and "still at a fairly high price". "He made it by cutting the RAM down, by forcing you to swap disks here and there", says Wozniak. He attributed the eventual success of the Macintosh to people like John Sculley "who worked to build a Macintosh market when the Apple II went away".