We’re in the 1970s in California. AT In this distant era, telephone calls were chargeable with a price based on distance and duration. A call between two countries, or even between two US states, can get very expensive.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the two future creators of the Apple company, are not even twenty years old. They have a great idea but it is not very legal, they make a device that allows you to hack the phone to make free calls: the Blue Box. It is a contraption that generates frequencies at 2,600 Hz, which has the effect of deceiving the automatic telephone exchanges of the operator AT&T. And it works ! This makes it possible to make calls across the United States, and even internationally, without spending a dime. Without the operator realizing it.
In fact, Jobs and Wozniak didn’t quite invent the Blue Box. The first model had been developed ten years earlier, in 1960, by a hacker named Ralph Barclay. It was in a blue box, which gave it the name Blue Box. AT At the time, there were young people who tweaked electronic stuff and hacked telephone networks because it was a way of defying authority and established order. We called them “freakers”.
The Blue Box designed by Jobs and Wozniak was not blue, but it had something more: it was the first digital box and not analog. It worked much better. Suddenly, the two boys decided to market their invention under wraps. This is where, alongside Steve Wozniak’s talent as an electronics engineer, the commercial genius of Steve Jobs came to the fore. The Blue Box costs $ 40 to manufacture but Steve Jobs decided to sell it for $ 150. They will sell about 40 of them. According to Steve Jobs, it was really this Blue Box that let the two boys know they could do great things together and that inspired them to found Apple.
Delivered : Steve Jobs , Walter Isaacson (Lattès, 2011)