The late Steve Jobs is most famous for being the genius behind Apple’s rise to technological and cultural relevance — and rightly so. However, he wasn’t always the tech genius in his later years that most of us are familiar with.
When it came to Apple’s very first models of computers, he actually had far less of an important role in their design than most might think, says Apple co-founder and Jobs’ long-time friend, Steve Wozniak.
Sarina Khemchandani, a 14-year-old entrepreneur, scored an interview with Wozniak in late August where she asked about the role Steve Jobs played in developing Apple’s first computers in the early days.
According to Wozniak, he played no part whatsoever. Wozniak, who had been designing computers since he was a high schooler, had designed the Apple I and Apple II before he ever met Steve Jobs. At the beginning, Jobs didn’t even know anything about hardware engineering or software. Wozniak explained:
“Steve Jobs played no role at all in any of my designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer and printer interfaces and serial interfaces and floppy disks and stuff that I made to enhance the computers. He did not know technology. He’d never designed anything as a hardware engineer and he didn’t know software. He wanted to be important and the important people are always the business people. So that’s what he wanted to do.
“I wanted to be the engineer, in a laboratory, like a mad scientist. So that was my thing.
“The Apple II computer, by the way, was the only successful product Apple had for its first 10 years and it was all done, for my own reasons for myself, before Steve Jobs even knew it existed.
“So I had created it and it was just waiting for a company. And Steve Jobs was my good friend, the businessman.”
You can watch the Wozniak’s full response below. Wozniak tells of how he and Jobs met at 2:33 and starts to talk about Jobs’ role at 3:42.