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Steve Wozniak: The Wizard Behind Apple Computers, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

As the co-founder (along with the late Steve Jobs) of Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak “helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II” which greatly influenced the creation of the Macintosh computer operating system (“Steve Wozniak”). As Martha E. Kendall relates in her biography Steve Wozniak, Inventor of the Apple Computer, Wozniak “is a true American genius and ranks up there with inventors like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell for his contributions to American society and the world of technology” (5). 1

In the summer of 1976, Wozniak at the age of twenty-six and along with Steve Jobs officially founded Apple Computer, Inc. with much of the early creative work done inside Jobs’ garage where they worked tirelessly to develop what would become the only computer operating system in competition with Bill Gates’ Windows system. In 1977, Wozniak began to market his Apple II PC which featured “a central processing unit” or CPU, “a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive” (“Steve Wozniak”). At this time, the computer industry in the United States was in its infancy, but with the help of some fancy marketing techniques and a deeply committed personal vision, Wozniak, along with Jobs and Bill Gates, helped to launch the personal computer industry.

The early 1980’s proved to be a turning point in the life of Steve Wozniak, for after acquiring a patent for his Apple operating system and some moderate success related to sales, Wozniak returned to the University of California at Berkeley and earned his Master’s degree in electrical engineering and advanced computer science. However, receiving this degree was somewhat ironic, for by 1985, Wozniak “came to appreciate how much he had accomplished without it” (Kendall 87) which later inspired other entrepreneurs in the computer industry to persevere to make their dreams come true. In fact, Wozniak’s success was so great that in 1985, President Ronald Reagan awarded him with the National Medal of Technology, “the highest honor that can be bestowed on one of the country’s leading innovators and entrepreneurs” (Lindsay 25).

In addition to his growing recognition as one of America’s leading inventors, Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment. As noted in a speech by the director of the Inventors Hall of Fame, Wozniak “single-handedly designed the first PC and is responsible for lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers” (“Steve Wozniak”). 2

After receiving the Heinz Award, Wozniak decide to devote all of his energies to philanthropic enterprises by “focusing upon computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students” (“Steve Wozniak”). He also made considerable financial investments in a number of entities and foundations, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose (Matheson 15). Today in 2012, Wozniak continues his philanthropic work and now serves as the chief scientist and researcher for the company  Fusion-io, not to mention his best-selling status as the author of iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon, published in 2006.

1 Patrick Matheson notes that Wozniak has always considered himself as a “regular guy” who had a great idea and found the right people like Jobs to help him bring it to fruition. “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak” (Computer World 4.2 (September 23, 2011), 13.

2 As a great lover of mathematics, Wozniak considers it as part of his job to help American students to excel in math which as he puts it “is the foundation for technology and the guide for everything creative in the world of computers.” Martha E. Kendall, Steve Wozniak, Inventor of the Apple Computer (New York: Walker & Company, 1994), 103.

Works Cited

Kendall, Martha E. Steve Wozniak, Inventor of the Apple Computer. New York: Walker & Company, 1994. Print.

Lindsay, Sharon. “Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, on the “Cloud.” PC Magazine 3.2 (Fall 2010): 24-26.

Matheson, Patrick. “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak.” Computer World 4.2 (September 23, 2011): 12-16.

“Steve Wozniak.” CrunchBase. 2012. Web. 20 November 2012.

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