- Apple II F.A.Q.
Apple II 20th Birthday Greeting from Woz
A2 20th Birthday Greeting from
Here's an Apple II 20th Birthday Greeting from
Woz, that I wanted to share with every Apple
II user! Trackback: http://apple2.org.za/.../WOZ.A2.20th.Birthday.Greeting.txt
Cheers and Apple II Forever,
Tom from http://apple2.org.za
Date: 24 Jun 97
Subject: Re: Apple II 20th Birthday Greetings
From: "Steve Wozniak"
Note from Steve Woz:
On Tue, Jun 24, 1997 8:02 AM,
>Just a short note and sincere request to ask you if you could send me a
Birthday Greeting to relate to the apple II community
from you? Anything short,
sweet, personal from the Apple II creator (:
YOU :) and sincere would be grately
appreciated! If I'm correct - today is the 20th
Birthday of the Apple II computer
- release for public distribution and sale.
Reply by Steve WOZ Wozniak:
It's been 20 years since we saw a new life.
The Apple II told us that we'd from
then on have the power that Kings never dreamed
of. That we'd forever be more
independent than ever before. That computers
would be fun as well as exiting and interesting.
That science fiction was fiction no more.
The Apple II was designed by hand using self
taught hardware design techniques. I even did
a better design with the aid of programs that
I ran on the Apple I. I wrote all the code by
hand and assembled it myself with the aid of
the 6502 instruction set card. I wrote a BASIC
interpreter, something I'd always dreamed of
doing but had never studied, which was most of
the work of designing the computer. Actually,
I'd dreamed of writing a Fortran compiler and
had never before used BASIC. But I could sense
the direction that things were going.
My goals were to build a machine that didn't
have to be a "computer" in the sense
of previous computers. It merely had to permit
me to program solutions to engineering problems
in my job at Hewlett Packard and to play games.
previously designed hardware video arcade games,
before games were programs. One of them was "Breakout" for
Atari. I decided that it would be great to be
able to 'program' the game of Breakout on my
Apple II, in BASIC! I simply added commands to
draw colors and sense a paddle (which I designed
in for this). I added a speaker. One evening
in my apartment I programmed the whole game in
about 15 minutes (BASIC is a very easy language
to develope and test in). No big deal, I had
expected this. But then I spent a half hour changing
position of things (like the score) and shapes
of things (like the paddles) and motion of things
(the ball) and sounds and colors. The variations
that I played with would have taken months, at
least, to try in a hardware design. I was shaking
as I called Steve Jobs to tell him that the world
of game design was going to change forever. My
life changed a lot that evening.
We learned a little about what we could do with
this machine, largely to amuse
our friends with programs that we wrote. We explored
the future of hi-res video
game programs too. We were a part of the emerging
world of applications software for games, word
processors, data bases and the like. And then
we got the floppy disk!
Visicalc taught us all that a computer like
the Apple II, which had been our
whole world just by itself, wasn't enough. A
huger buying community was looking
for solutions to problems. A solution was an
application plus a computer.
We owned the world of personal computing with
the Apple II. This company which
had been started in cramped apartments full of
wires and tools, and on a lab
bench in a garage, went public. The company was
worth more after 3 years than it is even today.
Personal computing was a field open to hit products
dreamed of in our lifetime.
In a couple of years the Apple II "way"
of color, hi-res, massive memory,
paddles, sound, built-in BASIC, plastic case,
typewriter look, I/O, floppy, and
more were being adapted in every cheap knock
off attempt. But never as well as we had done.
We came to see that the big difference in computers
had to do with software, not hardware. The elegant
design of the Apple II, and its importance in
the wonderful feel of this machine, lost value
in the eyes of many who preferred to see cold
specs of a product and miss the forest.
The Apple /// was designed to be, among other
things, the Apple II killer.
Although our customer base loved the Apple II,
and sales accellerated for years
as we expanded with the growing computer market,
everyone in Apple worked for one product only,
the Apple ///. Such a shame for a company to
distance itself from the real world.
The LISA/Mac technology came along and it was
obvious that once switching, you'd never go back.
People in Apple, the entrepreneurial campany
of all time, thought in terms of building new
things and forgot to expand the Apple II into
this GUI software. The Apple IIx, early precursor
of the Apple II GS, was killed because we didn't
expect to sell 20,000 units per month. Thankfully,
the GS was revived by a small group who truly
believed in it. And thankfully, they were unhindered
for enough years that the OS evolved as much
more stable and superior to the Mac platform
in many ways, on just a fraction of the machine.
Thinking back, I can't remember a single time
when I was truly frustrated with my Apple IIs.
The II and II Plus started us off. The IIe was
perhaps the most solid machine ever to get started
with. It came along as schools started buying
computers. Even the first HD's came out for it.
My IIc is a memory that is only
slightly improved on by today's laptops. The
GS and it's various op sys
incantations gave meaning to many of today's
enthusiasts like yourselves.
The Apple II will live forever, in the hearts
of people who can smile while they
work, and in the heart of every computer that
is a joy to use.
475 Alberto Way #104
Los Gatos, CA 95032