Last modified on 3 March 2015, at 04:40

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak.jpg
Wozniak on June 10, 2005
Born Stephan Gary Wozniak[1]:18
(1950-08-11) August 11, 1950 (age 64)
San Jose, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Stephen Wozniak[1]:18
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley (B.S.)
Occupation Electrical Engineer
Known for Cofounding Apple Inc.
Net worth Increase US$150 million (2014)
Religion None[2][3][4]
Spouse(s) Alice Robertson (m. 1976–80)
Candice Clark (m. 1981–87)
Suzanne Mulkern (m. 1990–2004)
Janet Hill (m. 2008)
Children 3
Call-sign ex-WA6BND (ex-WV6VLY)

Stephen (or Stephan) Gary "Steve" Wozniak[1]:18 (born August 11, 1950),[5] known as "Woz", is an American electronics engineer who co-founded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. Wozniak single-handedly designed both the Apple I and Apple II computers in the late 1970s. These computers contributed significantly to the microcomputer revolution.[6]


The name on Wozniak's birth certificate is "Stephan Gary Wozniak", but Steve's mother said that she intended it to be spelled "Stephen", and "Steve" is what he uses.[1]:18

Wozniak has been referred to frequently by the nickname "Woz", "The Wonderful Wizard of Woz", or "The Woz";[7] "WoZ" (short for "Wheels of Zeus") is also the name of a company Wozniak founded. In the early 1970s, Wozniak was also known as "Berkeley Blue" in the phone phreak community.[8]

Early life and careerEdit

Wozniak was born in San Jose, California, the son of Margaret Elaine (Kern) and Jacob Francis "Jerry" Wozniak. He is of Polish and Swiss-German ancestry on his father's side, and of German, Irish, and English descent on his mother's.[9][10]

In a 2007 interview with ABC News, Wozniak recounted how and when he first met Steve Jobs: "We first met in 1971 during my college years, while he was in high school. A friend said, 'you should meet Steve Jobs, because he likes electronics and he also plays pranks.' So he introduced us."[11]

In 1973, Jobs was working for arcade game company Atari, Inc. in Los Gatos, California.[12] He was assigned to create a circuit board for the arcade video game Breakout. According to Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari offered $100 for each chip that was eliminated in the machine. Jobs had little knowledge of circuit board design and made a deal with Wozniak to split the fee evenly between them if Wozniak could minimize the number of chips. Wozniak reduced the number of chips by 50 by using RAM for the brick representation. Too complex to be fully comprehended at the time, the fact that this prototype also had no scoring or coin mechanisms meant Woz's prototype could not be used. Jobs was paid the full bonus regardless. Jobs told Wozniak that Atari gave them only $700 and that Wozniak's share was thus $350.[13] Wozniak did not learn about the true value of the bonus until ten years later, but said that if Jobs had said he needed the money, Wozniak would have given it to him.

Apple ComputerEdit

Origins of AppleEdit

In 1971 Wozniak's friend Bill Fernandez introduced Steve Jobs to him. At the time Fernandez and Jobs were attending Homestead High School. Jobs and Wozniak became friends when Jobs worked for the summer at Hewlett-Packard (HP), where Wozniak was also employed, working on a mainframe computer.[14] Also in 1971 Wozniak withdrew from the University of California, Berkeley, only one year after enrolling.

Excerpt from the Apple I design manual, including Wozniak's hand-drawn diagrams

In 1976, Wozniak developed the computer that eventually made him famous. He alone designed the hardware, circuit board designs, and operating system for the Apple I.[15] On June 29, 1975 Wozniak tested his first working prototype, displaying a few letters and running sample programs. It was the first time in history that a character displayed on a TV screen was generated by a home computer.[1] With the Apple I design, he and Jobs were largely working to impress other members of the Palo Alto-based Homebrew Computer Club, a local group of electronics hobbyists interested in computing. The Club was one of several key centers which established the home hobbyist era, essentially creating the microcomputer industry over the next few decades. Unlike other Homebrew designs, the Apple had an easy-to-achieve video capability that drew a crowd when it was unveiled.[15]

Jobs had the idea to sell the Apple I as a fully assembled printed circuit board. Wozniak, at first skeptical, was later convinced by Jobs that even if they were not successful they could at least say to their grandkids they had had their own company. Together they sold some of their possessions (such as Wozniak's HP scientific calculator and Jobs' Volkswagen van), raised $1,300, and assembled the first boards in Jobs' bedroom and later (when there was no space left) in Jobs' garage. Wozniak's apartment in San Jose was filled with monitors, electronic devices, and some computer games Wozniak had developed.

On April 1, 1976, Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple Computer. Wozniak resigned from his job at Hewlett-Packard and became the vice president in charge of research and development at Apple. Wozniak's Apple I was similar to the Altair 8800, except the Apple I had no provision for internal expansion cards. With expansion cards the Altair could attach to a computer terminal and be programmed in BASIC. In contrast, the Apple I was a hobbyist machine. Wozniak's design included a $25 microprocessor (MOS 6502) on a single circuit board with 256 bytes of ROM, 4K or 8K bytes of RAM, and a 40-character by 24-row display controller. Apple's first computer lacked a case, power supply, keyboard, and display, components the user had to provide.

The Apple I sold for $666.66. (Wozniak later said he had no idea about the relation between the number and the mark of the beast, and "I came up with [it] because I like repeating digits.")[16] Jobs and Wozniak sold their first 50 system boards to Paul Terrell, who was starting a new computer shop, called the Byte Shop, in Mountain View, California.[1]

After the success of the Apple I, Wozniak designed the Apple II, the first personal computer that had the ability to display color graphics, and BASIC programming language built-in.[1] Inspired by "the technique Atari used to simulate colors on its first arcade games", Wozniak found a way to put colors into the NTSC system by using a $1 chip,[17] while color in the PAL system was achieved by "accident" when a dot occurred on a line, and to this day he has no idea how it works.[18] During the design stage, Steve Jobs argued that the Apple II should have two expansion slots, while Wozniak wanted six. After a heated argument, during which Wozniak had threatened for Jobs to 'go get himself another computer', they decided to go with eight slots. The Apple II ended up being sold at the first West Coast Computer Faire in the Civic Auditorium (amongst others), and became one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers. At the Faire, Wozniak also "decided to do a major prank" and printed many copies of brochures for a "Zaltair" joke computer, which, according to Steve Jobs, "didn't do too bad" against the Apple II.

As late as 2014, he came up with a way to save a chip or two from Apple II, and a way to separate the 2 greys into a light gray and a dark gray.[19]


Wozniak is listed as the sole inventor on the following Apple patents:

  • US Patent No. 4,136,359: "Microcomputer for use with video display"[20]—for which he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • US Patent No. 4,210,959: "Controller for magnetic disc, recorder, or the like"[21]
  • US Patent No. 4,217,604: "Apparatus for digitally controlling PAL color display"[22]
  • US Patent No. 4,278,972: "Digitally-controlled color signal generation means for use with display"[23]

Employment with AppleEdit

Steve Wozniak in 1983

Wozniak contributed to various Apple projects, such as Randy Wigginton's secret VisiCalc competitor The Spreadsheet.[24] He enjoyed engineering, not management, and as other engineers joined the growing company no longer felt needed at Apple. Wozniak did not immediately return after recovering from an airplane crash in February 1981, seeing it as a good reason to leave.[25] In May 1982 and 1983, he sponsored two US Festivals to celebrate evolving technologies; they ended up as a technology exposition and a rock festival as a combination of music, computers, television and people. In 1983 Wozniak returned to Apple product development, desiring no more of a role than that of an engineer and a motivational factor for the Apple workforce;[1] for example, in one day reducing the number of chips in a prototype IIe component from 21 to five.[26]

By early 1985, however, Wozniak again left Apple. Stating that the company had "been going in the wrong direction for the last five years", he sold most of his stock.[27] Wozniak married Candice Clark and returned to UC Berkeley under the name "Rocky Clark" (Rocky Raccoon was his dog's name and Clark his wife's maiden name), earning an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) in 1986.[28][29]

Wozniak permanently ended his full-time employment with Apple on February 6, 1987, 12 years after having created the company. Wozniak remains an employee of Apple and receives a stipend, estimated to be $120,000 per year.[1][30][31] He is also an Apple shareholder.[32] He also maintained connections with Steve Jobs until Jobs' death in October 2011,[33] although, in 2006, Wozniak stated that he and Jobs were not close friends.[34]

Despite the success he helped create at Apple, Wozniak felt that the company's existence was a hindrance to become who he wanted to be and that it was "the bane of his existence".[35] One thing he wanted to do was teach elementary school because of the important role teachers play in students' lives. Eventually, he did teach computer classes to children from the fifth through ninth grades and teachers as well.[28][35]

In a 2013 interview, Wozniak said that the Macintosh "failed" under Steve Jobs, and that it wasn't until Jobs left that it became a success. Jobs called the Lisa group, the team that had kicked Jobs out, idiots for making the Lisa computer too expensive. To compete with the Lisa, Jobs and his new team produced a cheaper computer, one that, according to Wozniak, was "weak", "lousy" and "still at a fairly high price". "He made it by cutting the RAM down, by forcing you to swap disks here and there", says Wozniak. He attributed the eventual success of the Macintosh to people like John Sculley "who worked to build a Macintosh market when the Apple II went away".[36]

Post-Apple careerEdit

Wozniak founded a new venture called CL 9, which developed and brought the first programmable universal remote control to market in 1987.[1] Wozniak also taught fifth-grade students.

In 2001, Wozniak founded Wheels of Zeus (WOZ), to create wireless GPS technology to "help everyday people find everyday things much more easily." In 2002, he joined the Board of Directors of Ripcord Networks, Inc., joining Ellen Hancock, Gil Amelio, Mike Connor, and Wheels of Zeus co-founder Alex Fielding, all Apple alumni, in a new telecommunications venture. Later the same year he joined the Board of Directors of Danger, Inc., the maker of the Hip Top (a.k.a. Side Kick from T-Mobile).

In 2006, Wheels of Zeus was closed, and Wozniak founded Acquicor Technology, a holding company for acquiring technology companies and developing them, with Apple alumnae Ellen Hancock and Gil Amelio.

In September 2006, Wozniak published his autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. It was co-authored by writer Gina Smith.

In March 2006, Wozniak attended the FIRST National Competition in Atlanta to show off Lego robots.[37] In 2010, he attended another FIRST event, a regional event in downtown Phoenix Arizona at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. In 2012, he attended and was a judge at another FIRST event, the FRC Las Vegas Regional.

In September 2007, Wozniak joined Scottevest as an Advisory Board Member.[38]

In February 2009, Wozniak joined Fusion-io, a data storage and server company, in Salt Lake City, Utah as their chief scientist.[39]

On November 18, 2010, Wozniak gave a speech at the Science & Technology Summit at the World Forum Convention Center in The Hague in which he predicted that Android would be dominant over the iPhone market-wise but the iPhone would retain the quality edge.[40]

On June 9, 2011, Wozniak joined members of Fusion-io’s management team to celebrate the company’s first day of trading on the NYSE by ringing The Opening Bell.[41]

On October 20, 2011, Wozniak delivered a keynote presentation titled "Today’s Science Fiction, Tomorrow’s Science Fact" at IP EXPO, a Computer expo which took place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London.[42]

On November 14, 2011, Wozniak was the keynote speaker at "Rutgers Entrepreneurship Day" at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[43]

On May 16, 2012, Wozniak spoke at the "WOZ Live" event at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Australia.

On October 20, 2012, Wozniak spoke at the "Tijuana Innovadora" event at the Tijuana Cultural Center, in Tijuana, Mexico.[44]

On November 13, 2013 Wozniak was the keynote speaker at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC.

In 2014 Wozniak was appointed Distinguished Professor of Technology in the Faculty of Engineering & Information Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney Sydney, Australia.[45]

Woz on stage at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia, May 16, 2012


Since leaving Apple, Wozniak has provided all the money, as well as a good amount of on-site technical support, for the technology program in his local school district.[1] Un.U.Son. (Unite Us In Song), an organization Wozniak formed to organize the two US festivals, is now primarily tasked with supporting his educational and philanthropic projects.[1] In 1986, Wozniak lent his name to the Stephen G. Wozniak Achievement Awards (popularly known as "Wozzie Awards"), which he presented to six Bay Area high school and college students for their innovative use of computers in the fields of business, art and music. More recently, Woz was the subject of a student-made film production of his friend Joe Patane's nonprofit Dream Camp Foundation for high-level need youth titled Camp Woz: The Admirable Lunacy of Philanthropy.

Honors and awardsEdit

In 1979, Wozniak was awarded the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award. In 1985, Wozniak received the National Medal of Technology (with Steve Jobs) from US President Ronald Reagan.[1] In December 1989, he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied in the late sixties.[46] Later he donated funds to create the "Woz Lab" at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1997, he was named a Fellow of the Computer History Museum. Wozniak was a key contributor and benefactor to the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose; the street in front of the museum has been renamed Woz Way in his honor.[47]

In September 2000, Wozniak was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame,[48] and in 2001 he was awarded the 7th Annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment.[49] The American Humanist Association awarded him the Isaac Asimov Science Award in 2011.

In December 2005, Wozniak was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Kettering University.[50] He also received honorary degrees from North Carolina State University[51] and Nova Southeastern University, and the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology. In May 2011, Wozniak received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Michigan State University.[52] In June 2012, Wozniak was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Santa Clara University.

He was awarded the Global Award of the President of Armenia for Outstanding Contribution to Humanity Through IT in 2011.[53]

On February 17, 2014, in Los Angeles, Steve Wozniak was awarded the 66th Hoover Medal from IEEE President & CEO J. Roberto de Marca. The award is presented to an engineer whose professional achievements and personal endeavors have advanced the well-being of humankind and is administered by a board representing five engineering organizations: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the American Society of Civil Engineers; the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; and IEEE.

The New York City Chapter of Young Presidents' Organization presented their 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award to Steve Wozniak on October 16, 2014 at the American Museum of Natural History.

In November 2014, Industry Week added Steve Wozniak to the Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Honorary degreesEdit

For his contributions to technology, Wozniak has been awarded a number of Honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees which include the following:

  • University of Colorado at Boulder: 1989
  • North Carolina State University: 2004[51]
  • Kettering University: 2005
  • Nova Southeastern University: 2005
  • ESPOL University in Ecuador: 2008
  • Michigan State University: 2011
  • Concordia University in Montreal Canada: June 22, 2011
  • State Engineering University of Armenia: November 11, 2011
  • Santa Clara University: June 16, 2012
  • University Camilo Jose Cela in Madrid, Spain: November 8, 2013
  • Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria in Lima, Peru: November 22, 2013



After seeing her stand-up performance in Saratoga, California, Wozniak began dating comedian Kathy Griffin.[55] Together, they attended the 2007 Emmy Awards,[56] and he subsequently made many appearances on the fourth season of her show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Woz is on the show as her date for the Producers Guild of America award show. However, on a June 19, 2008 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Griffin confirmed that they were no longer dating and decided to remain friends.[57]

Wozniak portrays a parody of himself in the first episode of the television series Code Monkeys; he plays the owner of Gameavision before selling it to help fund Apple. He later appears again in the twelfth episode when he is in Las Vegas at the annual Video Game Convention and sees Dave and Jerry. He also appears in a parody of the "Get a Mac" ads featured in the final episode of Code Monkeys' second season. Wozniak is also interviewed and featured in the documentary Hackers Wanted and on BBC.

Wozniak competed on Season 8 of Dancing with the Stars in 2009[58][59] where he danced with Karina Smirnoff. Despite Wozniak and Smirnoff receiving 10 combined points from the three judges out of 30, the lowest score of the evening, he remained in the competition. He later posted on a social networking site that he felt that the vote count was not legitimate and suggested that the Dancing with the Stars judges had lied about the vote count to keep him on the show.[60] After being briefed on the method of judging and vote counting, he retracted and apologized for his statements.[61] Despite suffering a pulled hamstring and a fracture in his foot, Wozniak continued to compete,[62] but was eliminated from the competition on March 31, with a score of 12 out of 30 for an Argentine Tango.[63]

On September 30, 2010, he appeared as himself on The Big Bang Theory season 4 episode "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification". While dining in The Cheesecake Factory where Penny works, he is approached by a (robot) Sheldon (which is Remote Presence on a Texai). Leonard tries to explain to Penny who Wozniak is, but she says she already knows him from Dancing with the Stars.

On September 30, 2013, he appeared along with Apple alum Daniel Kottke and Andy Hertzfeld on the television show John Wants Answers to discuss the movie Jobs.

Steve Wozniak signs a Modbook for a fan during an appearance at the Axiotron booth during Macworld Expo 2009.

Personal lifeEdit

Wozniak lives in Los Gatos, California. He has an Australian Visa and has stated that he would like to live in Melbourne or Tasmania in the future.[64][65][66]

He is a Freemason, despite lacking faith in a supreme being (which is required by Masonic rules). Wozniak describes his impetus for joining the Freemasons as being able to spend more time with his wife at the time, Alice. Alice belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star, associated with the Masons. Wozniak has said that he quickly rose to a third degree Freemason because, whatever he does, he tries to do well. He was initiated in 1979 at Charity Lodge No. 362 in Campbell, California, now part of Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 292 in Los Gatos.[67]

Wozniak was married to Candice Clark from June 1981 to 1987. They have three children together, the youngest being born after their divorce was finalized.[68]

After a high-profile relationship with actress Kathy Griffin, Wozniak married Janet Hill, his current spouse.[69]

On his religious views, Wozniak called himself an "atheist or agnostic".[3][4]

He is a member of a Segway Polo team, the Silicon Valley Aftershocks.

Wozniak's favorite video game is Tetris,[70] and he had a high score for Sabotage.[71] In the 1990s he submitted so many high scores for the game to Nintendo Power that they would no longer print his scores, so he started sending them in under the alphabetically reversed "Evets Kainzow".[72]

Airplane crashEdit

On February 7, 1981, the Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC Wozniak was piloting crashed soon after takeoff from the Sky Park Airport in Scotts Valley, California.[73] The plane stalled while climbing, then bounced down the runway, went through two fences, and crashed into an embankment. Wozniak and his three passengers, then-fiance Candice Clark, her brother and his girlfriend, were injured. Wozniak sustained severe face and head injuries, including losing a tooth, and also suffered for five weeks after the crash from anterograde amnesia, the inability to create new memories. He had no memory of the crash, and did not remember his name in the hospital or the things he did after he was released from the hospital.[25][74] The National Transportation Safety Board investigation report cited premature liftoff and pilot inexperience as probable causes of the crash.[75] They further indicated the pilot had not received training or instructor endorsement in flying a high-performance airplane as the Federal Aviation Regulations require [76]

In his autobiography, iWoz, Wozniak claims he regained his memory through the help of his wife, Candice Clark, logic, and playing video games. After a while, he was able to establish new memories.

See alsoEdit


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  3. ^ a b Steve Wozniak (2002). "Letters-General Questions Answered". Los Gatos, California: Unuson Corp. Retrieved June 20, 2013. I am also atheist or agnostic (I don't even know the difference). I've never been to church and prefer to think for myself. I do believe that religions stand for good things, and that if you make irrational sacrifices for a religion, then everyone can tell that your religion is important to you and can trust that your most important inner faiths are strong. 
  4. ^ a b Brian Riley (2012). "Interview with Steve Wozniak". Davis, California: Retrieved August 17, 2014. I’m kind of spiritual inside. I have a lot of philosophies of how to be a good person, how to treat people, and I’ve worked them out, thinking over and over, reflecting inside my mind the way shy people do, and I was very shy, and coming up with my own little keys and rules for life, and they stayed with me... 
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    Wozniak, Steven: "iWoz", a: pp. 147–48, b: p. 180. W. W. Norton, 2006. ISBN 978-0-393-06143-7
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  21. ^ Controller for magnetic disc, recorder, or the like[dead link] US Patent 4210959.
  22. ^ Apparatus for digitally controlling PAL color display[dead link] US Patent 4217604.
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