Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak (born August 11 1950 in San José, California) is an American computer engineer of Polish descent, and the co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.), with Steve Jobs. His inventions and machines are credited with contributing greatly to the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. Wozniak created the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s. The Apple II gained a sizable amount of popularity, eventually becoming one of the best selling personal computers of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Wozniak has several nicknames, including "The Woz", "Wonderful Wizard of Woz" and "iWoz" (a reference to the ubiquitous naming scheme for Apple products). "WoZ" (short for "Wheels of Zeus") is also the name of a company Wozniak founded. He is known for his introverted character, and he finds his level of celebrity somewhat annoying. He is also known as the "Other Steve" of Apple Computer, the better known Steve being co-founder and current CEO Steve Jobs.
In 1970 Wozniak had become friends with Steve Jobs, 4½ years his junior, when Jobs had a summer job at the same business where Wozniak was working on a mainframe computer. According to his autobiography iWoz, Jobs had the idea to sell the computer as a fully assembled P.C. 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 their own company. Together they sold some of their prized possessions (such as Wozniak's H.P. scientific calculator and Jobs' Volkswagen van), raised USD $1,300, and assembled the first prototypes in Jobs' bedroom and later (when there was no space left) in Jobs' garage. The Apple I Computer was similar to the Altair 8800, the first commercially available personal computer, except it had no bus structure allowing users to add memory cards and interface cards. With the addition of these cards, the Altair could be attached to a computer terminal and it could be programmed in BASIC. The Apple I was a pure hobbyist machine, a $20 microprocessor (M.O.S. 6502) on a single-circuit board with ROM. It lacked RAM, a keyboard, and a monitor to make it a fully functional microcomputer.
On April 1, 1976, Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple Computer. Wozniak quit his job at H.P. and became the vice president in charge of research and development at Apple. The Apple I was priced at $666.66 (Wozniak later said he had no idea about the correlation between the number and the mark of the beast, and "I came up with [it] because I like repeating digits." It was $500, plus a 33% markup.). Jobs and Wozniak sold their first 100 computers to Paul Terrell, who was starting a new computer shop, called the Byte Shop, in Mountain View, California. Terrell bought just the circuit board for the Apple I, he had to supply the keyboard, monitor, transformer, and even the case in which to put the computer.
Wozniak could now focus full-time on fixing the shortcomings of the Apple I and adding new functionality. His new design was to retain the most important characteristics: simplicity and usability. Wozniak introduced high-resolution graphics in the Apple II. His computer could now display pictures instead of just letters: "I threw in high-res. It was only two chips. I didn't know if people would use it". By 1978, he also designed an inexpensive floppy-disk drive controller. He and Randy Wigginton wrote a simple disk operating system and file system. Shepardson Microsystems was contracted to build a simple command line interface for the disk operating system.
In addition to designing the hardware, Wozniak wrote most of the software initially provided with the Apple. He wrote a programming language interpreter, a set of virtual 16-bit processor instructions known as SWEET 16, a Breakout game (which was also a reason to add sound to the computer), the code needed to control the disk drive, and more.
In 1980, Apple went public and made Jobs and Wozniak multimillionaires.
Wozniak and Clark got engaged later that year, ordered their wedding rings from a San Diego jeweler, and flew to San Diego to pick them up. Wozniak also credits Apple II computer games for aiding him in restoring those "lost" memories.
In May 1982 and 1983, Wozniak also sponsored two US Festivals to celebrate evolving technologies; they ended up as a technology exposition and a rock festival as a combination music, computers, television and people. They differed from previous rock festivals, notably Woodstock, by shorter lines for the Portable toilets: Wozniak is an engineer, and simply computed the number of Port-a-Potties that would be needed, using less optimistic assumptions than previous concert organizers. (This experience would help him when the time came to build Shoreline Amphitheatre).
In 1986, Wozniak lent his name to the Stephen G. Wozniak Achievement Awards (referred to 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.
Wozniak ended his full time employment with Apple for good on February 6 1987, twelve years after setting up the company. However he still remains an employee (and receives a paycheck) and is a shareholder. He also maintains connections with Steve Jobs.
Wozniak went into teaching (he taught fifth grade students) and charitable activities in the field of education. Since leaving Apple Computer, Wozniak has provided all the money, as well as a good amount of on-site technical support, for the technology program for his local school district. Un.U.Son. (Unite Us In Song), an organization Wozniak formed to organize the two U.S. Festivals, is now primarily tasked with supporting his educational and philanthropic projects.
In December 1989, he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering from the University of Colorado. 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).
In September 2000, Steve Wozniak was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Wozniak co-founded Wheels of Zeus (note the acronym, "WoZ"), to create wireless GPS technology to "help everyday people find everyday things". 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 May of 2004, upon nomination by Dr. Tom Miller, Wozniak received an honorary S.D. degree from North Carolina State University for his contribution to the field of personal computing.
In May 2004, Wozniak was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Kettering University, in Flint, Michigan. He also received an honorary S.D. from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology. In 2006, Wheels of Zeus was closed, and Wozniak co-founded Acquicor Technology, a shell company for acquiring technology companies and developing them, with Apple alumni 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.
Steve is currently working on three new books, one of which is on pranks.
Wozniak, after seeing her stand-up performance in Saratoga, California, began dating Emmy-winning comedian Kathy Griffin. Together, they attended the 2007 Emmy Awards, 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 are no longer dating and have decided to remain friends. As noted in a postscript on the August 7, 2008 episode of My Life On The D-List, Wozniak is currently engaged to another woman, but it did not mention who she was. According to Griffin, “He met someone very quickly and then they [got] engaged. I have had dinner with them, and she’s a thousand times more appropriate! I hate to say it, but in the Bruce, Demi, Ashton [scheme of things], I’m the Bruce!” It turned out that he married Janet Hill in Indianapolis.
On July 11, 2008, Wozniak showed up at the Apple Store at the Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, CA, offering doughnuts to customers waiting to purchase Apple's new iPhone 3G.
Wozniak is interviewed and featured in the upcoming documentary Hackers Wanted.