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Steve Wozniak On CNBC To Celebrate 25th Anniversary Of The Apple I

Steve Wozniak On CNBC To Celebrate 25th Anniversary Of The Apple I

by , 8:45 AM EDT, April 4th, 2001

25 years and 3 days ago, Apple was officially incorporated. Right about the same time, the Apple I was officially released. Check out our Remembering series for ads and other images from this period. The good folks at CNBC had Steve Wozniak on yesterday during a show called Power Lunch to discuss the Apple I, computing, and a special on The History Channel that airs this week. That special commemorates the birth of the Apple I among other things. Note that we could not find information on the History Channel's site about the special. The Woz's own site also does not mention it yet.

Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I by himself motivated by the desire to make something he could show his geek buddies. Steve Jobs was able to sell 50 of the machines to a local computer store (one of the only ones in the country at that point), and Apple Computer was born.

Back to CNBC: The Woz was being interviewed from his office with a 21" Studio Display and the default Mac OS X desktop sitting off in the background. He and the CNBC anchor discussed changes in the industry since the Apple I. In light of the fact that Mr. Wozniak designed the Apple I entirely by himself and the Apple II almost entirely by himself, he said the days of a single person being able to design an operating system were long gone. He also discussed the Napster issue and used it as an example of new ways in which technology can change our environment.

One CNBC viewer asked if the Woz was working on anything the rest of us should know about. The CNBC anchor added "Are you inventor days over?" Mr. Wozniak replied with "Oh, I hope so," with a big grin.

One side note: Another CNBC viewer wrote in talking about the Apple //e (with *two*, count 'em, *two!* built-in floppy drives) that she had in her school "before Microsoft even existed." That was sort of passed over in the rush of conversation by the CNBC anchor and Mr. Wozniak, but we caught it. For the record, Microsoft was well on its way to its hegemony with Intel when the Apple //e was released.

The interview was, generally speaking, excellent. It's great to see The Woz get more of the credit he so deserves (even if he hasn't added The Mac Observer to his Cool Mac Sites Web page :-), and we found it very informative. The History Channel special airs this week. You can find more information on Steve Wozniak at

The Mac Observer Spin:

The importance of Apple's early days is often forgotten by the Mac community in our focus on a product that was released 7 years into Apple's life. It is certainly long-forgotten by most of the rest of the world. The Apple I and, to a far larger extent, the Apple II were the first truly useful computers that you could *own* and have in your home or office. Certainly other products came online shortly thereafter, but it was Apple that really lit the way. In hindsight, it is obvious that a personal computer of some sort would have come along at some point, but in the mid-70's most people thought it was a foolish pipe dream. Who needs something like that? What would you do with it? Those were the questions asked by those satisfied with the status-quo. Fortunately Steve Jobs thought differently, and even more fortunately, Steve Wozniak had the ability to make differently.

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