What Escapade that Helped to Create Apple


This is WITS Zen initiative to post a  short series of stories and anecdotes from the recently published Steve Jobs, the new biography of the Apple co-founder written by Walter Isaacson about the “roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, table computing, and digital publishing.”



Imagine two college dropouts who conspired to work on a computer for household use out of a garage since helped conquer the fear of technology among millions of non-geeks simply by making a computer fun and easy to use. Both Steve Jobs and his friend and Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, ventured into creating personal computers out of the Jobs’ garage. As chronicled by Walter Isaacson,Stephen Wozniak, “who was far more knowledgeable about electronics than Steve Jobs.” Wozniak, popularly nicknamed “Woz”,  also sometimes referred to as the “Wonderful Wizard of Woz”,  was introduced to Steve by Bill Fernandez.Reminiscing his friendship, Steve told his biographer that he was impressed with Wozniak, who “was the first person I’d met who knew more electronics than I did.”

” It may have been the most significant meeting in a Silicon Valley garage since Hewlett went into Packard’s thirty-two years earlier,” says Isaacson.To raise money for their company, Jobs sold his Volkswagen while Wozniak sold his Hewlett-Packard scientific calculator. From an initial capital of $1,300, Apple Computer, Inc. grew into a billion-dollar enterprise.

But how this happened? This is one of the escapades  that led to creation of Apple, years later.

The escaped that helped to create Apple was started in September 1971 when “Wozniak read an article in Esquire . ” The story, Ron Rosenbaum’s ” Secrets of the Little Blue Box”, described how hackers and phone phreakers had found ways to make long-distance calls for free by replicating the tones that routed signals on the AT&T network…. The article revealed that other tones that served to route calls could be found in an issue of the Bell System Technical Journal…” They bought the parts to make an analog tone generators. “Jobs had built a frequency counter when he was part of the HP Explorers Club, and they used it to calibrate the desired tones. With a dial, they could replicate and tape-record the sounds specified in the article….At first the Blue Box was used for fun and pranks. The most daring of these when they called the Vatican and Wozniak pretended to be Henery Kissinger wanting to speak to the pope.”

It was then that they  took an important decision that the Blue Box could be more than merely a hobby, and they could build and sell them. They ” made a hundred or so Blue Boxes and sold almost all of them,” Jobs recalled.The partnership paved the way for what would be a bigger adventure together. “If it hadn’t been for the Blue Boxes, there wouldn’t have been an Apple”, Jobs later reflected.

We can only say that without Steve Jobs, there is no doubt this world would be different and devoid of some wonderful technology. Somebody rightly tweeted,“RIP Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.”

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