Film Title: Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender portrays Steve Jobs. Universal Pictures/Universal Studios

Don't See Steve Jobs Without Reading This First

Oct 08, 2015

Steve Jobs, the new Aaron Sorkin-written, Danny Boyle-directed film about the late Apple co-founder, is out Friday, Oct. 9. The film is split into three acts, each centered around a different product release helmed by Jobs—the Macintosh in 1994, the NeXTcube in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. The movie, based on former TIME editor Walter Isaacson's biography, avoids biopic birth-to-death tropes. But beginning in medias res can be confusing. Here's a spoiler-free guide to who's who in the film.

Film Title: Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender portrays the pioneering founder of Apple in “Steve Jobs”,Universal Pictures/Universal Studios

Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender)

The late co-founder and CEO of Apple, clearly. After being forced out of the company in 1985, Jobs founded NeXT, a computer company focused on high-end machines. A struggling Apple bought NeXT in 1997, bringing Jobs back into the fold. He heralded the company through a massive turnaround, launching hits like the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Jobs died Oct. 5, 2011 of complications related to pancreatic cancer. Jobs was given up by his birthparents and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, an experience that many say colored his worldview significantly.

Kate Winslet Best Roles Steve Jobs
Joanna Hoffman in Steve Jobs, 2015.Universal

Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet)

The marketing chief on the original Macintosh, Joanna Hoffman also followed Jobs to NeXT. She was known to be one of the few people seemingly unaffected by Jobs' legendary "reality distortion field," the name given to the executive's seeming ability to get people to believe what he wanted them to. Kate Winslet, the actress portraying Hoffman in the film, recently said that Hoffman "did genuinely love" Jobs, and that "she misses him terribly."

Film Title: Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen).François Duhamel—Universal Studios

Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen)

Steve "Woz" Wozniak co-founded Apple along with Jobs. Wozniak designed the Apple I and much of the Apple II. He and Jobs had a love-hate relationship: Wozniak was a firm believer in the 1970's-era computer hacker and hobbyist movement, which led him to push for Apple's machines to be open and changeable by consumers. Jobs, however, felt simplicity to be the better route, thinking that too many options served only to confuse less-educated shoppers.

Film Title: Steve Jobs
John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender).François Duhamel—Universal Studios

John Sculley (Jeff Daniels)

John Sculley, a longtime PepsiCo executive and marketing expert, was convinced by Apple and Jobs to become the company's CEO in 1983. Sculley and Jobs enjoyed a warm relationship at first, with Jobs as the product guy and Sculley the marketing guru. Before long, however, the partnership soured as the two tussled for power. Jobs attempted to get the Apple board of directors to oust Sculley; Sculley in return convinced the board to limit Jobs' responsibilities.

Shortly thereafter, Jobs left to found NeXT. Eventually, unfriendly market forces and a series of product flops, including the ill-fated Newton PDA, resulted in Sculley's dismissal from Apple.

Film Title: Steve Jobs
Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson) with daughter Lisa Brennan (Makenzie Moss).François Duhamel—Universal Studios

Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson)

Chrisann Brennan was Jobs' girlfriend. They had an on-again, off-again relationship for years. When Brennan became pregnant in 1977, Jobs denied the child's paternity. After Chrisann's daughter Lisa was born, a paternity test proved Jobs to be the father. He initially questioned those results, telling TIME in 1983 that "28% of the male population of the United States could be the father."

Jobs also denied naming Apple's Lisa PC after his daughter, though he later admitted to biographer Isaacson that was exactly what he did. Jobs would later reconcile with Lisa, leading her to change her legal name from Lisa Brennan to Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

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