Feeds

Steve Woz: From wooden Apples to iPhone love

Computing the human equation

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Interview Steve Wozniak loves computers. He really loves computers.

Apple's cofounder is currently using six in-car navigation systems, trying to decide which one plots the best route, and he carries as many as six cell phones. Each time one of his handsets is spotted in public, it generates fresh buzz among those desperate to find hidden meanings, to see how far Woz has strayed from the path of the sacred iPhone.

But, yes, the iPhone is his favorite. And he can't wait for a white one.

Wozniak's passion began early in life, when he stumbled onto his dad's engineering magazines and found a computer inside. And when we say computer, we mean computer in the old sense of the word - not some natty little device you can slide in the hip pocket of your Mad Men-inspired narrow-cut trousers. This computer couldn't even fit on a desk.

It was the early 1960s, when most computers came in one size - room-size - and you needed the spending power of a small government to buy one. The first digital computers – machines without any moving mechanical parts – were only beginning to appear.

Woz with Apple II (photo: Gavin Clarke)

Man and machine: Steve Woz and Apple II, at the Computer History Museum (photo: Gavin Clarke)

"I said 'Oh my God, this stuff is just so beautiful'," Woz told us during an interview at the opening of the Computer History Museum's exhibition Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing, remembering the machines in his dad's magazines. "[They showed] how a little learning and little tiny items add up and are put together to build more complicated things."

But Woz loves more than just the bits and bytes. He loves what computers can do for people. A pioneer in the early personal-computer revolution, he took those room-sized machines and shrunk them down to a reasonable size – and gave them a reasonable interface. He built the Apple I and II in 1976 and 1977 with an aim towards making computing accessible. It was time to shift computing power out of the hands of the rich and powerful elites, and put it at the fingertips of individuals who had relatively little money and few - if any - programming skills.

"I couldn't be prouder of anything more than that in my life," Woz says, looking back on the Apple I and II. "It was a big cornerstone in my life to be worried about the person at home having as good appliances as the military or the big business [who had] all the money."

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Woz remembers

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.