John Couch is the Vice President of Education at Apple, Inc. Couch holds an A.B. in Computer Science from Berkeley, 1969. He earned his master's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1970. John spent an additional two years in the Computer Science Ph.D. program. He left the program to work for Hewlett Packard as a software engineer. In 2010 John was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Philadelphia University for his innovative contributions to education.
At Hewlett Packard, John took on management roles at the same time teaching graduate courses at Cal State San Jose. He coauthored the textbook published by SRA (Science Research Associates) titled "Compiler Construction: Theory and Practice." In 1978 John was recruited by Steve Jobs as Director of New Products for Apple Computer, Inc. In early 1979 John was promoted to Vice President of Software. Like Steve, John was influenced by their visit to Xerox PARC and managed the initial graphical user interface for the Lisa system.
John was promoted to General Manager and Vice President of the newly created Lisa division, called "Personal Office Systems." He ran the Lisa division through launch.
In the early years of Macintosh development, a Lisa was needed to compile software for the new machine. Bruce Horn tells a story in which he needed a Lisa for this purpose, and Steve Jobs directed him to just take one from John Couch's office when he was away. Horn did so, and even decades later "I still don't know to this day whether Steve had arranged this with John, or if John came back to the surprise of an empty desk."
The truth being, at the time, the Macintosh was under development, and there were a limited number of Lisa machines available to develop Macintosh software. John felt it more important for the Macintosh developers to have use of the machine than for him to have one on his desk.
Couch left Apple in 1984 to take over a struggling Christian school in Solana Beach, CA.
Couch served as Executive in Residence for the Mayfield Fund. In 1997, he became CEO of biotechnology software maker DoubleTwist (then called Pangea Systems) and served in this capacity, and then as Chairman, until the company failed in 2002. At this point he returned to Apple to fill the newly created role of Vice President of Education.