Steve Wozniak, or “Woz” as he is affectionately known by his fans, is famous for being the co-founder of Apple along with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. While Wozniak hasn’t been actively involved in the company’s operations since he left in 1985, this outspoken Silicon Valley icon is always happy to share his thoughts on Apple’s latest products or offer his suggestions about what he believes the company should be doing. However, unlike most employees of Apple who tend to stick closely to the company’s official talking points, Wozniak is not afraid to offer his honest opinions on the company he helped found or the products that it makes. Here are five memorable quotes from Steve Wozniak on everything from the Macintosh and the iPad, to the inaccurate myths about Apple’s founding and his relationship with Steve Jobs.
On the legend of Apple’s birthplace
One of the most widely circulated stories about the history of Apple’s founding is that the company was operated out of Jobs’s garage, where Wozniak designed and built the Apple I and Apple II computers. However, while the story of two entrepreneurs using a garage to operate a startup that would eventually grow into the world’s most valuable company is an appealing one, it is not entirely true, according to comments that Wozniak recently made to Bloomberg Businessweek.
“The garage is a bit of a myth,” Wozniak told Bloomberg Businessweek. “We did no designs there, no breadboarding, no prototyping, no planning of products. We did no manufacturing there. The garage didn’t serve much purpose, except it was something for us to feel was our home. We had no money. You have to work out of your home when you have no money.”
Although he is the co-founder of a company that makes the iOS mobile operating system, Wozniak is not hostile to the rival Android system developed by Google. In fact, he believes both companies would benefit by working together.
“Sometimes I say ‘Go to Joe’s Diner’ and [Siri] doesn’t know where Joe’s Diner is. And very often usually I find out that Android does,” Wozniak told the BBC in 2013. Wozniak believes that this is due to Google’s sophisticated search engine and he pointed out that there are aspects of both operating systems that he likes.
“I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners in the future,” added Wozniak. “I believe you should have a world where you’ve got to license something at a fair price. There are good things I see on Samsung phones that I wish were in my iPhone. I wish Apple would use them and could use them, and I don’t know if Samsung would stop us.”
On the Jobs biopic
Jobs, a Joshua Michael Stern-directed biographical drama based on the life of Steve Jobs, made its debut in 2013. Wozniak weighed in on the historical accuracy of film after seeing an early trailer that depicted a conversation between himself (Josh Gad) and Jobs (Ashton Kutcher), in which Jobs is trying to explain to Wozniak how computers could impact society.
“Not close … we never had such interaction and roles,” Wozniak told Gizmodo. “I’m not even sure what it’s getting at … personalities are very wrong although mine is closer … don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future.”
To be fair, it should be noted that Wozniak was hired as a consultant on the still unmade Aaron Sorkin-scripted film about Jobs. However, Wozniak apparently turned down a previous opportunity to help with Jobs based on his problems with the film’s script. “I was approached early on,” Wozniak told The Verge. “I read a script as far as I could stomach it and felt it was crap. The Sony people got in contact with me too and in the end I went with them. You can’t do both [films] and be paid.”
The Aaron Sorkin-scripted film has had a troubled start and was recently sold by Sony to Universal for a rumored $30 million, reports The Hollywood Reporter. According to Deadline, the studio is seeking Michael Fassbender for the role of Jobs and Natalie Portman for an unknown role in the film. While remains to be seen how successful the second feature film about Jobs will be, Wozniak’s low opinion of the Joshua Michael Stern-directed movie appears to have been prescient. Jobs currently has a dismal 27% approval rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.
On the iPad Air
In October 2013, Apple unveiled the iPad Air, a redesigned version of its flagship tablet that was “20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad,” according to Apple. However, the size and weight improvements didn’t appear to impress Wozniak. According to comments he made at an Apps World conference, Wozniak would have preferred if Apple had focused on improving the device’s storage capacity.
“When I finally took a look at the devices, the iPads didn’t hit my needs,” said Wozniak, according to Macworld. “Yes it’s thinner, but I wanted storage. I don’t have broadband at home, and you can’t get great broadband connection in hotels, so I carry all my personal media in the iPad. So I was hoping Apple has a 256GB iPad. I was hoping for more storage so I could put every episode of Big Bang Theory on my iPad. So I emailed my wife and said ‘nope, I don’t want one of those.’”
After some media outlets portrayed his comments as being critical of Apple, Wozniak clarified what he meant in an email sent to aNewDomain. “I never criticized the new iPads,” Wozniak told aNewDomain. “I think they are fine. I don’t think you have a choice between iPad models so that’s just saying that the iPad is good … that’s a very different statement (and contrary to the implication) that, if I chose not to upgrade now, less than a year after my last upgrade, then I, Woz, am saying that the new Apple iPad is bad.” In other words, just because Woz doesn’t see the need to run out and buy the latest iPad model doesn’t mean he hates the iPad Air.
On the original Macintosh
In 2013, during an appearance at the “Further with Ford” technology conference in Dearborn, Michigan, Wozniak was asked about the first Macintosh computer that Steve Jobs helped to create after he was removed from the team working on the Lisa computer, reports The Verge. As described by Wozniak, the original Macintosh was one of Jobs’s rare failures.
“Steve really took over the project when I had a plane crash and wasn’t there. He took over the project, and it was really my own opinion — only my opinion — that he wanted to compete with the Lisa group that had kicked him out,” said Wozniak, according to The Verge. “He liked to call them idiots for making it too expensive. Well, one megabyte of RAM back then cost 10,000 of today’s dollars. He made a cheap one — but what he did was he made a really weak, lousy computer, to tell you truth, in the Macintosh, and still at a fairly high price. He made it by cutting the RAM down, by forcing you to swap disks here and there. It was a lousy product. Every time we improved the Macintosh, year by year by year, it got closer to what the Lisa had been.”
However, Wozniak pointed out that the experience making the original Macintosh made Jobs a better product manager down the road. “Introducing the Macintosh, Steve was still young, trying to move too fast, and not regulated enough to really create a good product, a successful product,” said Wozniak via The Verge. “When Steve Jobs was at NeXT, he was really getting his head together and taking control and becoming the person that, when he came back to Apple, you know, he was ready to really run the company and keep control of things and watch what was being done and develop new products secretly that were really incredibly great.”
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