National History Day Projects
Woz answers questions from students.
What do you think the most successful Apple product was and why?
I would say that the most successful Apple product was the iPhone, but only in the limited sense of a hard product that made money.
I would propose that the App Store for that iPhone is what changed life so much that the iPhone became an essential part of life. It was a product that could grow.
I would also propose that the Apple ][ was the most successful product because without it, the other products would not have happened. The Apple ][ was created from basically zero money and made a great company that had huge wealth to invest in other products, eventually hitting more gold. The Apple ][ was also very successful in defining personal computing, especially that it had to be fun to use.
What impact do you think Apple had and still has on the world today?
Apple stands out as a company that doesn’t just produce the same old thing to make money. Apple has always stood for innovation and going against the older ways. Apple has had better insight into which building technologies (color, mouse-based, laserwriter, USB, touchscreen, and much more) would define the future. By being correct, Apple was usually first and there were lots of followers.
What was it like to create the first Apple computer?
There were 2 early computers. The Apple I was not created for Apple but it defined what it took to make a useful personal computer at an affordable price. The Apple ][ was so advanced that nobody could have expected it. The Apple ][ was the first computer to have the elements that would be required for home computers for the masses, not just computer experts. It was the first time arcade games were in color and the first time they could be developed in hours to days by anyone of any age, as software, instead of being designed by specialized engineers over months, as hardware before this computer. This computer was given away to hobby groups so they could build their own and start the revolution. I owned it and Steve Jobs had not seen it yet.
For me, I had developed skills that I still can’t believe today. I also wanted my own computer and knew that I would design and build it if I ever saw it possible at a low cost. So when the time came, triggered by low enough prices of the chips a computer could be made from, I was going to build it. I owned it and did not create it for a company or money. I knew how good it was and eventually changed my mind and started the real Apple with Steve Jobs. We both believed that this would be the start of a company that would make a lot of money. It was our only money-making product for the first 10 years of Apple.