In 1971, Wozniak built his first computer with his high-school friend Bill Fernandez. This computer (they called it Cream Soda Computer) was developed in his friend's garage and had "switches and lights just as the Altair would have more than three years later.")
Bill introduced Woz to a friend of his named Steven P. Jobs. Jobs was born in 1955, and his foster parents were - unlike most other people in Silicon Valley - blue-collar workers. However, growing up in an environment full of electronics, Steve came in con tact with this fascinating technology and was caught by it.
Jobs was a loner and his character can be described as brash, very ambitious and unshakably self-confident. With his directness and his persistency he persuaded most people. He had the ability to convey his notions and vision to other people quite well. An d he was not afraid to talk to famous people and did never stop talking to them until they gave in and did what he wanted. His traits could already be observed in his adolescence, for instance when he - at the age of thirteen - called famous Bill Hewlett, president of HP, and asked him for spare parts he needed for his frequency counter.
Although Steve Jobs was five years younger than Wozniak, "the two got along at once." Apart from their common fascination with electronics, they "shared a certain intensity." Whereas Woz was intense in digging "deeper into an intellectual problem than anyone else," Jobs's intensity was in ambition. Moreover, both were genuine pranksters, and often they fooled others with their technical knowledge.)
When they heard of "phone-phreaking" - making free long-distance telephone calls with a device called "blue box" - the two started their first business venture, building those blue boxes.
In 1972, Steve Jobs went to Reed College in Oregon; however, there he became more interested in Eastern religions, dropped out a year later and returned to Silicon Valley, where he took a job with Atari (a young video game company) until he had saved enough money to go on a trip to India for some months. Then he went back to California and to his work at Atari.
After attending three different colleges, Wozniak had begun work for Hewlett-Packard in summer 1973. When Atari planned to develop a new game called "Breakout," Jobs boasted he could design it in only four days - quicker and better than anyone else. Jobs t old his friend Woz about it, and the two designed the game in record time, working four nights and days, and were paid the promised $700 for it. This experience showed them that they could work together on a tough project and succeed.
The first Apple
When the Homebrew Computer Club came into existence, Wozniak began attending its meetings. As he later would recall, Homebrew was a revelation for him and changed his life. He met people who "shared his love for computers") and learned from them as well a s he encouraged them with his technical expertise. Others brought along their Altairs, which Wozniak was interested in but could not afford. He realized this computer resembled the Cream Soda Computer he had built some time ago.
Soon after, Chuck Peddle at MOS Tech released his new 6502 microprocessor chip for only $20, which was a sensation compared to the usual price of $400 for those chips then. Suddenly, Woz saw his chance and decided to write the first BASIC for it, which was the most spread programming language. After finishing with the BASIC, he made a computer for it to run on. The other hobbyists at Homebrew were impressed by Wozniak's kit, which actually was a board with chips and interfaces for a keyboard and a video monitor.
Steve Jobs saw the opportunity of this machine, which they named Apple, and finally persuaded Wozniak to start a company in April 1976. The two raised the money for the prototype model with a printed circuit board by selling Jobs' VW microbus and Wozniak's HP calculators. With the Apple I, Steve Wozniak had designed a "technological wonder") and made his dream of owning a computer come true. His friend Steve Jobs played the role of a salesman and his ambitious promotion made the Apple I "a star in the tight world of computer freaks.")
The breakthrough for the two Steves came in July, when Paul Terrell ordered 50 Apples for his Byte Shop, however on condition the computers were fully assembled in a case and equipped with a cassette interface to enable external data storage.
Jobs could "obtain net 30 days credit") for the parts they needed for their computer. Working hard in Jobs parents' garage, they managed to construct the 50 Apples within those 30 days.
The Apple I was continuously refined by Wozniak, and its sales made the young company known, partly because the company's name appeared on top of computer lists, which were published by electronics magazines in alphabetical order.
Building up the company
While the first Apple was being sold, Steve Wozniak had already begun work on another computer, the Apple II. This machine would have several special features which had not appeared in any microcomputer before and would make it "the milestone product that would usher in the age of the personal computer.")
Jobs and Wozniak sensed the market potential their new computer would have, but realized they did not have the necessary capital for constructing the machines. So they tried to sell their computer to several established companies such as Atari, HP and MOS Tech, which, however, rejected. Looking out for some venture capital to produce the new computers by themselves, Steve Jobs met with Mike Markkula, who had been a marketing manager at Fairchild and Intel.
Markkula was at the age of 38, but had already retired, since he had made a fortune of many million dollars by his stock option at Intel. He visited Jobs's garage and became interested in their project. Markkula, the former marketing wizard at Intel, thought it "made sense to provide computing power to individuals in the home and workplace" and offered to help them "draw up a business plan.") Finally, he decided to join the two Steves. He offered $250,000 of his own money and his marketing expertise for on e third of the company, which was incorporated as Apple Computer in January 1977. Markkula's decision marked the turning point in Apple's history; he took care of the business side and arranged all the things necessary to create a successful company. Markkula's know-how was crucial for Apple, since Woz and Jobs did not have any business expertise. This knowledge is very important for new firms. A lot of other start-ups in Silicon Valley failed as their founders were only engineers, who lost control over their enterprises when they could not meet the skyrocketing demand for their products.
In 1977, Markkula hired Mike Scott, who had worked for product marketing at Fairchild, as the company's president, because he felt Apple needed an experienced person to run the company.
Jobs, who wanted only the best for his company, also persuaded Regis McKenna, who ran the biggest and most influential agency in Silicon Valley, to do public relations and advertising for Apple. McKenna, who worked for successful Intel and many other companies, brought Apple legitimacy and, among other things, designed the famous Apple logo. Another important contribution was the fact that he made Apple the first company to advertise personal computers in consumer magazines to "get national attention" and " popularize this idea of low-cost computers.")
Steve Jobs's persistency had persuaded Wozniak, the electronics genius who designed the machine, McKenna, and Markkula, the business expert. Jobs himself was the driving force that brought the key components together to build up a successful company.
Apple II - starting the personal computer boom
In April 1977, the Apple II was introduced to the public at the West coast Computer Faire (market), where Apple had rented the largest booth just opposite the entrance. Wozniak's "technological wonder") was a great success and the first orders were already made. The Apple II was the "first true personal computer.") It was the first microcomputer able to generate color graphics and the first with BASIC in ROM and included a keyboard, power supply and an attractive lightweight and beige plastic case, which would become standard for subsequent PCs. The Apple II was more sophisticated than any microcomputer before, and represented a machine, which could be worked with effectively. Steve Wozniak had put all his "engineering savvy") into it, and had created a computer he would like to own.