Episode 64: Steve Jobs and Apple

Welcome to Slow American English, the podcast for learners of American English. I’m your host, Karren Tolliver.

This is episode number 64: Steve Jobs and Apple

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Now for the podcast:


Steve Jobs was born in 1955 in San Francisco, CA. He was adopted as a baby and grew up near San Francisco. He would one day help the area to become Silicon Valley.

Jobs was extremely intelligent and much smarter than most people. He went to college in Oregon, but he dropped out after only six months. However, he then audited creative classes where his love for design grew. While in Oregon, he lived and worked at an apple orchard.

When he was nineteen, he worked as a video game designer for Atari. When Steve Jobs was 21 years old, he and his good friend Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) founded Apple Computer in 1976. It was one year after Bill Gates had founded Microsoft. Jobs and Wozniak worked in Jobs’ garage, the same place where Jobs’ father taught him electronics as a hobby when he was younger.

At that time, computers were very large and very expensive. Only big companies and governments had computers. Apple Computer made them smaller, cheaper and more user-friendly. Anyone now could buy one. Apple’s first product was the Apple I, and the electronics were designed by Woz. Jobs was responsible for marketing. The computer was sold as a kit that people had to put together.

Apple introduced the Apple II computer in 1977. It was ready to use and was the first highly successful individual computer. The Apple II started a boom in personal computer sales. It also opened the market for software companies to sell directly to consumers.

Three years later, Apple had sales of over $139 million and became a publicly traded company on the stock market. At the end of the first day of trading, the company was worth almost $2 billion.

Apple has almost always been on the leading edge of technology. They were the first to produce computers that anyone could buy. And even if they did not introduce a product, they have always improved it. Their design and marketing abilities have always been on the top level mainly because of Steve Jobs.

Jobs was forced to leave Apple in 1985 because executives thought he was hurting the company. He then started NeXT computer company, which was bought by Apple in 1996. In 1986, Steve Jobs bought an animation company from George Lucas that would become Pixar. Pixar produced the first entirely computer-animated movie, Toy Story, in 1995.

Jobs came back to Apple in 1997. The company had not been doing well, but he led the company to great success once again. Among the revolutionary Apple products produced were the iMac desktop, Macbook Air laptop, iPod, iPhone and iPad. In 2008, Apple became the second-largest music seller in the US because of iTunes. It was normal that other companies scrambled to produce comparable products every time Apple introduced something new.

Steve Jobs died in 2011 after fighting cancer for almost ten years. He was only 56 years old. He is considered one of the geniuses of electronics, marketing, design and business. If you want to know more about him, I recommend the book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, published a few months after Jobs died.

Language note: Apple started as what we call a garage business in American English. Garage businesses are small start-ups, and the term implies the products are the owner’s inventions. We can also say selling out of your garage. For example, “Jobs started selling computers out of his garage.” Microsoft, Google and Amazon also started as garage businesses.

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That’s the podcast for this time. Slow American English is written and produced by Karren Tolliver. Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

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Theme music is written and performed by SW Campbell and used by permission. Find more music by this artist at Soundclick.com/swcampbell.

This has been Slow American English. I’m Karren Tolliver. Thank you for listening.