Interview: Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder and inventor of the home computer
If you haven’t heard of Steve Wozniak, it is because he has been overshadowed by his fellow co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs. This is despite the fact that he was the sole person behind theinvention and building of the Apple 1, the first home computer that used a keyboard and normal TV screen as a display.
Steve Jobs was arguably the force behind the creation of Apple, but the technology came from the mind of Wozniak.
Wozniak is currently on a speaking tour of Australia and appeared in Perth this week. I had the opportunity to talk to him before the show and ask a few questions.
You can see the full interview between David Glance and Steve Wozniak in the video below.
Wozniak left Apple in 1985 to finish a degree of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. He did this under the pseudonym of Rocky Raccoon Clark. After that time, he spent 10 years teaching computing primary school children from Grade 5 - 9.
In terms of the disruption of education, Wozniak says that massive online open courses (MOOCs) may be appropriate for the older, more educated, student, but human interaction is always going to be more important at the primary and high school level.
In fact, this reflects Wozniak’s personal experience where he talks about the influence of his father on inspiring him into the area of electronics, and the encouragement and inspiration of teachers at his primary school. This contrasts with his relatively bad experiences at high school and university with teachers that were, in some cases, openly antagonistic.
Asked about Apple’s new app Swift Playgrounds, aimed at teaching entry level programming in the language Swift, he thinks that there may have been better languages to start with. For Wozniak, one reason for developing computer was to provide everyone with access to computing, along with all the benefits that would come from that, including the ability to program.
At Apple’s birth, nobody thought the concept of the home computer – like the one Wozniak had built – had a future. When Wozniak had worked at Hewlett-Packard, the company turned down his idea of developing a personal computer.