Photo of Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Computer Science

For their development and introduction of the personal computer which has sparked the birth of a new industry extending the power of the computer to individual users.

Steve Wozniak is an American pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s, and the mind behind Apple’s first computer. As an inventor, electronics engineer, and computer programmer, Wozniak invented the Apple I computer in partnership with Steve Jobs. They worked out of a home garage, attempting to create a user-friendly alternative to the computers that were being produced at the time.

Wozniak and Jobs founded Apple Computers in 1976 with Ronald Wayne, releasing some of the first personal computers on the market. Wozniak also personally developed the next model, Apple II, which established Apple as a major player in personal computers. The Apple II was the first machine that brought computers into the homes of average people.

With Wozniak’s knowledge of electronics and Jobs’ marketing skills, the two were successful at doing business. By 1988, Apple had a stock value of $985 million. “Even back in high school I knew I could design computers with half as many [pieces] as the companies were selling them with,” Wozniak said in an interview. “I taught myself, but I had taught myself in a way that forced me to learn all sorts of trickiness.”

By Jen Santisi