It's hard to overestimate the influence Steve Jobs has had on modern life. From the way we've evolved to interact with technology, to our subsequent interactions with one another, he successfully shepherded much of the world into his vision of the future. And since today, February 24th, marks what would have been his 59th birthday, we're honoring his legacy with a list of things you'd only know if you've read Jobs (nerd!), and a few you won't even find in there.
1. The iPod name was inspired by the pod bay door in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The man Apple hired to help introduce the iPod to the general public — a freelance copywriter named Vinnie Chieco — told Wired that he thought the device's all-white design evoked the look of the pod bay doors.
2. They invented a killer laptop in 1989 that was way ahead of its time.
The Macintosh Portable predated the PowerBook by two years, rocked an LCD display, a super beefy processor, and a scaled down car battery. Unsurprisingly it weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds. Oh, and it cost $6,500. Weirdly they've developed a cult following today, with nut jobs like this guy updating them to access the internet.
3. Apple has sympathy for the devil.
The company's first computer — The Apple I — was priced $666 for retail, as it was technically one-third over the wholesale price. Apparently, Wozniak didn't realize the digits' connotation and preferred it to rounding up because it was easier to type. Oh Wozzy, you cray.
4. They're listening.
Everything you say to Siri gets sent to them, where it's analyzed and stored. So be nice, they're judging you.
5. Their first logo incorporated Isaac Newton and looked like it belonged in Barnes and Noble.
It was designed by one of the original founders Ronald Wayne (the guy who gave up his 10% stake in the company for a short-sighted extra $1,500) and was surrounded by the phrase "A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought — alone". The Steves smartly rejected it.
6. The reason for the bitten apple version they use today is shrouded in mystery.
Theories abound for the initial rainbow apple logo. Some say it's an homage to genius (and gay) WWII codebreaker Alan Turing — who killed himself by eating a poisoned apple after the war. Others say it's an homage to Newton's discovery of gravity and the separation of light. Either way, it stuck.
7. The Woz technically still works at Apple.
That's right: the Steves never fully broke up. While he no longer actively toils at the office, Woz is still an official employee and receives an annual stipend of $120,000. How much are you pulling in to not go to work?
8. The Steves built Brickbreaker, not Blackberry. And it was called Breakout.
Before he founded Apple, Steve Jobs worked for Atari and conceptualized the Pong-like Breakout video game, handing it off to Woz to build a prototype. Released in '76, there have been countless clones for all manner of consoles and mobile devices.
9. That box your iPod came in was engineered by more people than your graduating high school class.
There's a secret packaging room in Cupertino where select packaging designers agonize for months over your unboxing experience for new products, from how the protective screen sticker will be removed to the way the cord unravels. They repeatedly open boxes, making tweaks to ensure they elicit the perfect emotional response for the consumer. Think about that the next time you rip open your brand spankin' new iPhone.
10. Apple doesn't ship products; they all fly first class.
They don't trifle with plebeian cargo ships, preferring to move most of their stock by air to cut down on delivery times — a move that's made them Cathay Pacific's biggest freight customer.
11. Steve Jobs used his family to name the early products
The Apple Lisa (one of their first computers to debut in the eighties) was named after his daughter. He soon ran out of children to keep on that path.
12. Apple's design team has an insanely low turnover rate.
Before he became Sir Jony Ive, he was just Jonathan Ive. Mercifully, unlike that hackjob of a haircut, he and the great majority of the industrial design team at Apple have stuck around to crank out groundbreaking designs since before Jobs rejoined the company.
13. They are the Mike Bloombergs of the computing world.
Smoking near their computers voids the warranty. Ten bucks says they amend it to include e-cigs eventually too. To hell with them if they make a comment about our big gulps though.
14. They make way more money than you thought, and have more operating cash on hand than the U.S. Treasury.
Raking in roughly $4,550 per second and spending considerably less than that, in 2011, the company was holding nearly $3 billion more than the U.S. government. It certainly didn't hurt to have all that cash on hand when they convinced the state of California to let them build their new campus (rendering pictured above), reshaping the city of Cupertino forever — and plunking down over $5 billion in the process.
15. They trust no one, especially not Gizmodo.
For new and senior employees alike, they assign fake projects. If anything about it leaks, they know the source and terminate the mole. In 2010 Gizmodo paid $5,000 to some guy who found a prototype iPhone 4 at a bar. It was shrouded in a faux iPhone 3S skin, and made Gizmodo a household name overnight. It also sparked a legal battle, umpteen personal emails to editor Brian Lam from Jobs himself, and a lifetime ban from any and all Apple events for anyone associating with the Gawker network.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor for Supercompressor where he heads up Home coverage and red hair-having. He's been an Apple convert since 2004.