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Steve Wozniak

1997 Fellow

For co-founding Apple Computer and inventing the Apple I personal computer.


Biography

Steve Wozniak was born in San Jose, California, in 1950. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley (1986).

Wozniak ("Woz") built his first computer when he was 13 years old, and was an electronics prodigy in high school. At 19, he met 14-year-old Steve Jobs and the two teenagers built an electronic "blue box" enabling them to hack the public telephone network and make toll-free calls.

Their next collaboration was a kit computer, designed by Wozniak, first shown at the Homebrew Computer Club in Menlo Park, California, in 1976. Called the Apple i, it was meant for hobbyists, but the two Steves received an order for 50 assembled kits from a local store, suggesting to the business-savvy Jobs that there might be a market for personal computers.

The answer was the Apple ii, another Wozniak design, which offered color graphics and came in a consumer friendly case with a built-in keyboard. Sales of the Apple ii were brisk and the newly formed Apple Computer became a large company.

Wozniak remains an Apple employee and has enjoyed a diverse career in teaching and entrepreneurship as well. In 1985, he was awarded the U.S. National Medal of Technology (with Steve Jobs).