Woz Reflects on Apple II

Steve Wozniak recently spoke about the Apple II and characterized it as a teaching machine, one meant to inspire, according to eWeek on Tuesday.

In the early days of the computer revolution, there were no household computers. Apple had to make a computer compatible with home users. That meant, in part, demonstrating how useful a computer could be with starter software.

Apple II

"We thought people might write [the software] they needed," he said. "In the Homebrew Computer Club, we envisioned people programming." That was the initial thinking about how people would use a computer. For example, if a person wanted a checkbook program, they would just write one.

Wozis view was that the early home computer would be used to solve problems. Apple recognized that there would be commercial applications, however.

"Itis not 100 percent different from how we thought things would go ?- we thought that people would want to make some of their applications but not all," Woz noted. "The problem is that sometimes the commercial applications are so complex, so confusing, because theyire not how you would have made them."

"People stopped becoming masters of their computers, but users," he said.

Even so, the most important thing was that people came to fall in love with their computers. Asked about the most important thing that came from the birth of the Apple II, Woz reflected, "I think of some of the kids I met who started companies while still in school -- making oscilloscopes, modems and so on. It happened in the hundreds or thousands in the early days of the Apple II ?- all these people who, like me, were excited by technology and could do it for almost nothing with an Apple II."

Of course, as we know today, it was the other Steve who had the eye for commercialization. Without that keen business eye, the Apple II might have become just another Commodore P.E.T. in the dustbin of computer history.