Jobs held the belief that the key to "democratizing" computers was in the software. The "user interface" had to possess a purely intuitive functionality whereby form not only met function, it literally symbolized it. Soon, nearly every Apple computer featured object oriented window menus that invited users to point and click on icons to perform specific functions.
Steve Jobs' vision of a "computer on every desk" did more than start a company, it revolutionized a fledgling microcomputer industry. The Apple story starts in 1974 when Jobs, a part-time video game designer for Atari, and Steve Wozniak, a college drop-out working as a technician for Hewlett-Packard, designed the Apple I in Jobs' bedroom and built the prototype in his garage.
Wozniak was content with the joy of electronics creation. Jobs was nowhere near as good an engineer as Wozniak, but he had a keen eye for marketing. After a few weeks showing off their new creation to local electronics equipment retailers, Jobs came home with orders to build their first 25 machines.
"The personal computer was created by the hardware revolution of the 1970's and the next dramatic change will come from a software revolution," says Jobs. His opportunity to fully exploit this idea came when Apple rolled out the Macintosh. By re-introducing the "windows" interface developed earlier by Xerox and mouse technology, Jobs set a standard for all applications interface in software.
Jobs' concept of user-friendly software for the Macintosh challenged the standard for design and functionality of software interfaces created for all personal computers. Essential to its success was the degree to which the interface allowed people to interact easier with computers; object oriented window menus invited users to point and click on any icon displayed to perform any desired function. In one sweep of a mouse arrow, Jobs abolished intimidating DOS command lines that barred most people from using computers.
The strength of the Macintosh design was not in memory (RAM), power, or manipulative ability, but in its friendliness, flexibility, and adaptability to perform creative work.
While developing the Mac, Jobs compared the task to the history of the telephone. "When the telegraph became popular for communication a century ago, some people suggested putting a telegraph machine on everyone's desk, but everyone would have had to learn Morse code. Just a few years later Alexander Graham Bell filed his first patents for the telephone, and that easy-to-use technology became the standard means of communication.
"We're at same juncture; people just are not going to be willing to spend the time learning Morse code, or reading a 400-page manual on word processing. We want to make a product like the first telephone. We want to make mass market appliances. What we are trying to develop is a computer that can do all those things that you might expect, but we also offer a much higher performance which takes the form of a very easy-to-use product."