One of the most persistent legends surrounding the origins of Apple is that the early employees toiled away in the garage of Steve Jobs’ parents house, tirelessly putting in long hours to create what would become the Apple I. Actually, to call this story a ‘legend’ is disingenious as it’s essentially considered to be 100 percent fact.
Or so we thought.
During a recent interview with Bloomberg, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and unquestionably the brains behind Apple’s early designs, poured a bit of cold water on the heralded story of Apple’s garage beginnings.
“The garage is a bit of a myth. We did no designs there, no breadboarding, no prototyping, no planning of products. We did no manufacturing there. The garage didn’t serve much purpose, except it was something for us to feel was our home. We had no money. You have to work out of your home when you have no money.”
If that’s the case, then where was work on the Apple I done? Well, according to Woz, much of it was done during his time at Hewlett Packard.
“The work was being done – soldering things together, putting the chips together, designing them, drawing them on drafting tables – at my cubicle at Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino. That was an incredible time. It let me do a lot of side projects, and it was five years to the summer of ’75, when I built the Apple computer, the first one. The next summer I built the Apple II computer.”
It’s hard to know what to make of Woz’s retelling. Not only has Jobs’ garage been immortalised in tech folklore, it’s been depicted in movies and is even a pilgrimage destination for exceedingly passionate Apple enthusiasts. And now the Woz of all people is saying that it’s a myth? If that’s the case, why did Woz only decide to spill the beans now?
Well, it may all be an issue of semantics. Woz seems to be stressing that none of the integral computer designs were done in the garage. Woz, though, says that once the designs were complete, ‘finished products’ were taken to the garage where Apple’s employees would ‘make them work.’
Video of the Woz’s full interview with Bloomberg about developing the Apple I can be seen here. It’s well worth watching and provides an interesting look back at the computer that would precipitate the personal computing revolution.