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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Jobs and Woz’s first product: Blue Boxes

Stephen Hackett talked to Kristen Gallerneaux, curator at the Henry Ford Museum, about the unheralded first Jobs-Wozniak collaboration, an illegal Blue Box used for phone phreaking:

I think Jobs’s business and marketing mind really took flight with the Apple 1 in 1976, but the blue box was the foundation for that in 1972. It was the origin point for Woz and Jobs working together on a commercial product, and to learn about one another’s working style. Jobs saw potential to monetize the blue box-I believe they cost around $40 to produce, and were marked up to around $150. To meet sales demands, a few helpers were brought in to help out with assembly for large orders.

This was all spectacularly illegal, but they never got caught—and a few years later they were selling Apple I computers instead.