How did Steve Wozniak's presence make Apple so successful?

Steve Wozniak – turned 67 this week – empowered Apple as a company to produce innovations such as the iPhone, iPad and the Mac.

apple builds data centre in china
Apple builds data centre in China. Reuters

While Steve Wozniak – turned 67 this week – is well-known for his entrepreneurial spirit in the current business world, victorious leader Steve Jobs recognised his inner tech soul in the early 1970s and chose him to begin a revolutionary journey. He empowered Apple as a company to produce innovations such as the iPhone, iPad and the Mac. But what all he did that bring the Cupertino company to its success to date?

Born in San Jose, Calif.on August 11, 1950, Woz started his career as a computer engineer by joining Hewlett Packard in the 70s. It was when he first met Jobs. A few initial meetings with then high-school studying Jobs were to discuss electronics, but the friendly talks set the pitch for some worthy boardroom meetings. Notably, the soil on the farm of personal computing was cultivated with the development of the Apple I that was single-handedly designed by Woz and was launched commercially as the first product by Jobs-Woz ventured Apple Computer Company in 1976.

Defined initial personal computer model

The first-generation desktop computer was followed by the Apple II that Woz had built in partnership with Jobs and his Atari's colleague Rod Holt. This 8-bit home computer was turned out to be the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer – targeted at households instead of corporates and hobbyists. Moreover, the system rose as a reference design for all personal computers of the 20th century.

"To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use and inexpensive," Woz wrote in the May issue of Byte Magazine in 1977, detailing the Apple II.

Establishedground for telephony

In addition to defining an ideal personal computer, Woz helped Jobs keep telephony as a business model in mind. Even though the co-founder left Apple as a full-time employee in 1985 to start working on new opportunities, Woz's telephone switching blue box – the one he developed in 1972 – provided Jobs with the idea to begin a business with a phone service.

That idea hadn't been realised. However, it apparently enabled Jobs to consider telephone as a fruitful expansion for Apple that brought the first-generation iPhone to the market in 2007.

Honouring Woz's birth on its land, the city of San Jose even named a street "Woz Way". He owns a list of US patents and has been regarded as a leading philanthropist across the globe. Furthermore, his net worth is US$100 million as of 2017.