Steve Wozniak Still Keeps it Real with Apple ][, Apple ///, and NeXT

Steve Wozniak is still keeping it real after all these years, at least when it comes to nomenclature of computer hardware. In a Facebook post about Aaron Sorkin's and Danny Boyle's biopic Steve Jobs—based on the Walter Isaacson biography of the same name—Mr. Wozniak mentioned Apple ][, Apple ///, LISA, and NeXT, and in all four cases, he took the time to do it right.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

Here's the comment in full, which was made on Robert Scoble's Facebook post about the movie:

One thing nobody likes to point out is that John Sculley himself, as well as almost all of us at Apple, believed that the Macintosh was Apple's future. We all sacrificed the growing personal computer market (10x over a decade and MS got all the growth) in this belief. We (Sculley leading) had to work very hard for 3 years to make the Macintosh as successful (in dollars) as the Apple ][ had ever been, following Jobs' vision. The choices can be argued because you can never go back and say what decisions would have what results, but it was a business decision to SAVE Apple as a company, after the stock dropped by a third in about a day when the Macintosh failed to sell due to not much software. Steve Jobs wasn't pushed out of the company. He left. I supported him in his belief that he was made to create computers. But up until then he'd only had failures at creation. He was great at productizing and marketing the Apple ][ and the revenues financed the failures Apple ///, LISA, Macintosh and NeXT. This is not shown in the movie. After the Macintosh failure it's fair to assume that Jobs' left out of his feeling of greatness, and embarrassment about not having achieved it. That is not shown either. This movie is more about Steve Jobs inside, his non-feeling about a lot of things including how others thought of him, and some pushes to reform that in the end.

Some folks, including our friends at AppleInsider, focused on Mr. Wozniak's comments about Steve Jobs leaving Apple on his own, rather than being forced to leave the company in some way. This is well established lore and shouldn't be controversial.

Steve Jobs was removed from the Macintosh division by Apple's board, but he wasn't fired. He took a sabbatical and decided to leave Apple. He told the board he was going to take a handful of people with him in a new venture that didn't directly compete with Apple (the company was eventually called NeXT), grabbed some of the key Macintosh people, and boogied.

So yes, Mr. Jobs quit Apple and wasn't forced out, but he did so after being forced out of the job position he wanted and stripped of all power. He was left a figurehead as chairman of Apple's board and banished to a building well removed from 1 Infinite Loop so as to limit his ability to rabble rouse. And then he quit. It's all technically accurate and well-established.

But what's interesting to me is seeing Steve Wozniak's engineer side still showing. It's not Apple II, it's Apple ][. And it's not Apple III, it's Apple ///. LISA was all-caps, and NeXT had the little "e." That's the proper designation for those devices, and Mr. Wozniak is still keeping it real. For some reason that tickles me.

About the Movie

Mr. Wozniak likes the movie, even though he said it made some scenes from whole cloth. According to his posts and an interview he gave Deadline Hollywood (via The Verge) last week, he thinks the film captured the spirit of working with Steve Jobs.