Apple's humble road to success

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ByJonathan Bloom KGO logo
Friday, April 1, 2016
The humble beginnings of Apple
From two guys in a garage, to the phone in your pocket, Apple celebrates its 40th birthday Friday.

CUPERTINO, Calif. (KGO) -- From two guys in a garage, to the iPhone, Apple is celebrating its 40th birthday. Here's a look back at the company's road to greatness.

Few people know Apple like Dan Kottke does.

"I was the first guy that Steve (Jobs) hired to actually work in the garage," said Kottke.

That famous garage in Cupertino is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend. Though Kottke says it got a bit lonely.

"Actually, I was the only person that worked in the garage -- Steve wasn't working in the garage. Steve was always on the phone in the kitchen. So Apple Computer was really run out of the kitchen," said Kottke.

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Kottke met Steve Jobs in college. The two discussed spirituality and traveled together and spent a week on a farm.

"Harvesting apples and fasting on apples, that's where the apple imagery came from," said Kottke.

But the urge to tinker came from another friend -- Steve Wozniak, who had just met a guy called 'Captain Crunch.'

'Captain Crunch,' he's a good friend of mine actually. Old phone phreak who figured out how to make free phone calls with tones in American phones, that was an incredible year of my life, and if that hadn't happened just like Steve Jobs says, I say Apple never would've happened either," said Wozniak.

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Now a museum piece, the Apple 1 was for hobbyists, the Apple 2 was for everyone -- especially kids.

"Which gave millions of students like me a chance to actually touch a computer for the first time," said Christopher Garcia, Computer History Museum curator.

And of course, the Macintosh -- but only after the ill-fated Lisa.

"Expensive, slow, hard to use, and the thing that doomed it is that other companies didn't buy into providing software for it," said Garcia.

After seeing failure and success with personal computers, it wasn't the last time Apple needed a few tries to get something right. Although the next big flop was something much smaller -- the Newton; it was a glimpse of the future that arrived too soon.

"The technology just wasn't there yet," said Garcia.

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But then Steve Jobs returned to the company and the next tiny device was a different story.

"The iPod changed things. When he introduced the iPod, that was Apple saying you know what? We're going to dominate people's lives," said Garcia.

It gave way to the iPhone and the iPad -- with the App Store creating its own economy.

"Never would've seen that coming," said Kottke.

Not bad for a few guys in a garage.

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