Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Jul 2007 20:01 UTC, submitted by Oliver
Apple 10ZenMonkeys has interviewed Steve Wozniak. When asked about Bill Gates, he replied: "I've only spoken with him briefly a couple of times. I admire him, he admires me. Good lord, I'd never written a computer language when he had written a BASIC in the early days of hobby computers. And I thought, 'Oh my gosh - a computer with BASIC finally makes a computer that people can use for things'."
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FAC73
Member since:
2007-07-09

Steve Wozniak certainly didnt invent the PC as a concept. Miniaturization had been going on for a number of years with the transistor and the silicon chip, so it was only a matter of time before someone would produce a computer that could sit on a desk, however I do give credit to Woz for his technical ability. The Apple II was one of the first home computers that a regular person could buy and use without needing to solder on their own keyboard and transformer (I also thought it was the first colour PC as well, though I might be wrong on that).

The Xerox Alto was a revolutionary machine, and something of a landmark in computing, however it was never for sale to the general public, and there was only a limited number made (something like 50), so I dont think it can be classed as a PC as such, even though it has many properties of a modern PC.

From what I understand, the parts alone cost something like $25,000, and the gui wasn't complete. Some of it was "proof of concept" and a number of the applications were still launched by the command line.

Reply Parent Score: 1

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Steve Wozniak certainly didnt invent the PC as a concept.

And Steve Wozniak definitely did not invent the PC as a physical, operational, ready-made, complete device -- Xerox already had such a device several years before Wozniak/Apple.


Miniaturization had been going on for a number of years with the transistor and the silicon chip, so it was only a matter of time before someone would produce a computer that could sit on a desk.

Agreed. And the complete computer that could sit on the desk had been around years before Wozniak/Apple were making computers.


... however I do give credit to Woz for his technical ability.

No doubt, Wozniak was a master of computer electronics.


The Apple II was one of the first home computers that a regular person could buy and use without needing to solder on their own keyboard and transformer (I also thought it was the first colour PC as well, though I might be wrong on that).

The first computer that had a monitor, keyboard, a small box and a GUI with a mouse was unveiled by Xerox in 1973. The Apple II was first shown in 1977, and it lacked a GUI and a mouse.


The Xerox Alto was a revolutionary machine, and something of a landmark in computing...

Interesting. The Alto was "revolutionary," but only "something" of a landmark?


...however it was never for sale to the general public, and there was only a limited number made (something like 50), so I dont think it can be classed as a PC as such, even though it has many properties of a modern PC.

So, if Steve Wozniak had created a single G5 Mac in 1964 and kept it in his closet until now, the G5 in his closet could not be considered a PC?

How an invention is offered/sold/marketed has nothing to do with the nature of the device. The Xerox Alto had all of the basic properties of the later, mass-marketed PCs, with the added bonus of a GUI! The Alto was a PC, far ahead of its time.


From what I understand, the parts alone cost something like $25,000, and the gui wasn't complete. Some of it was "proof of concept" and a number of the applications were still launched by the command line.

So what? The Alto was still an advanced PC, regardless of its price. "Proof of concept" proves that something works, and, thus, the "proof of concept" parts were already invented -- long before Wozniak/Apple.

IF the Alto required some command-line interaction, nonetheless, the Alto was the first to demonstrate hierarchal menus, icons, floating windows, etc. -- many years before Apple even had a GUI.

Edited 2007-07-09 16:52

Reply Parent Score: 1

FAC73 Member since:
2007-07-09

How an invention is offered/sold/marketed has nothing to do with the nature of the device. The Xerox Alto had all of the basic properties of the later, mass-marketed PCs, with the added bonus of a GUI!

Good point, but I dont see the Alto as an "invention" as such, and if we're going to be absolute then the PDP-8 could be considered a Personal computer (minus the gui), or the Imlac PDS-1. They were contained in relatively small cabinets, could be used by a single person, and were both around before the Alto. Hell there was probably some obscure computing device from the 1950's that could be described as "personal", but its not what I'd consider to be a PC.

I have enormous respect for the Alto, but I cant consider it as a "personal computer" in the way that the PET/Apple II/TRS-80 etc. were.
Yes it had a mouse, gui, ethernet and various other technologies, but it was a high concept mini-computer used in a research center, rather than a personal device that could be used in the home. I wouldnt even say that it initiated the home computer market as such.
Kits like the Altair and Mark-8 were what kickstarted the hobbyist movement which grew into todays industry.

Perhaps my definition of PC is somewhat different to yours, but to me it implies affordable and accessible to the home user, otherwise its another tool that remains in the preserve of universities/governments/corporations etc.

Edited 2007-07-10 15:54

Reply Parent Score: 1