Steve Wozniak today has done an ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit, taking questions from users on variety of topics. Wozniak, who also gave a video interview for Reddit’s new Formative series, discussed things such as Tim Cook, Apple’s battle with the FBI, Apple Watch, and much more.
One of the most notable questions centered on Wozniak’s approval of Tim Cook as Apple’s CEO. Wozniak explained that overall he thinks Cook is doing a great job. He praised Cook’s attitude of putting the customers and employees of Apple first, a tradition that Steve Jobs worked hard to set. Specifically, Wozniak pointed out that Apple is willing to delve into the advertising game of “knowing you and advertising to you” in order to make money, something Tim Cook has spoken about in the past.
One thing that Cook has done that Wozniak worries about, however, is the complexity of the Apple Watch lineup. Wozniak points out that there are “twenty watches from $500 to $1100” where the band is the only real difference. Wozniak is quick to remind us though, that he “loves” his Apple Watch.
I worry a little bit about – I mean I love my Apple Watch, but – it’s taken us into a jewelry market where you’re going to buy a watch between $500 or $1100 based on how important you think you are as a person. The only difference is the band in all those watches. Twenty watches from $500 to $1100. The band’s the only difference? Well this isn’t the company that Apple was originally, or the company that really changed the world a lot. So it might be moving, but you’ve got to follow, you know. You’ve got to follow the paths of where the markets are.
Building on that, Wozniak pointed out that these days he is wearing an Apple Watch almost daily and that he has a steel model, noting that he enjoys being able to quickly reply to texts and communicate without taking his phone out of his pocket. Wozniak also noted that one of his favorite hands-free devices, however, is Amazon’s Echo as it allows him to “not even have to get out of the sheets in bed to use it.”
I had some other smart watches, and I got turned off. One of them I kinda liked actually, called the Martian Watch. It was a very very simple one, but you could talk Siri commands into it. But I had the first Galaxy Gear, and after half a day, it just turned me off that it was separated; it felt between me and my phone. Whereas, the Apple Watch does some amazing things with Apple Pay, boarding passes for airplanes, and all the Siri commands that work. I do wish the speaker were louder.
Wozniak was also asked about his opinion on Apple’s battle with the FBI on whether or not the company should unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino gunmen. Wozniak says that, as someone who grew up in “a time when communist Russia under Stalin was thought to be, everybody is spied on, everybody is looked into,” he greatly appreciates personal liberties. He also notes, much like Cook has done, that once Apple creates that tool to access the iPhone in question, it’s out in the open so someone with harmful intentions could get ahold of it:
If you tell somebody, “I am not snooping on you,” or, “I am giving you some level of privacy; I will not look in your drawers,” then you should keep your word and be honest. And I always try to avoid being a snoop myself, and it’s rare in time that we can look back and say, “How should humans be treated?” Not, “How can the police run everything?”
I was brought up in a time when communist Russia under Stalin was thought to be, everybody is spied on, everybody is looked into, every little thing can get you secretly thrown into prison. And, no. We had our Bill of Rights. And it’s just dear to me. The Bill of Rights says some bad people won’t do certain bad things because we’re protecting humans to live as humans.
So, I come from the side of personal liberties. But there are also other problems. Twice in my life I wrote things that could have been viruses. I threw away every bit of source code. I just got a chill inside. These are dangerous, dangerous things, and if some code gets written in an Apple product that lets people in, bad people are going to find their way to it, very likely.
Finally, Wozniak also touched on his reasoning for leaving Apple. He explained that he left the company because he wanted to be like “a normal person,” not one seeking wealth and power, while he also loved startups:
I left Apple partly because i wanted to be, like, a normal person. I didn’t want to seek wealth and power, because in my mind it often corrupts people, and I didn’t want to be that person who runs a company. The first time I left Apple was an odd accident. I had a plane crash as a pilot. I didn’t come out of an amnesia state for five weeks where I didn’t know time was passing. When I came out of the amnesia I realized that the Macintosh team (they were my favorite, most creative thinking team at Apple, and I was on that team), would be fine without me.
So I called up Steve Jobs and told him “Macintosh team’s in great shape, I’m gonna go back to college and get my degree.” I had one year left to go. If I waited another year it would be too late to ever go back to college again actually. So I went back to Berkeley under the fake name Rocky Raccoon Clark, and that’s what it says on my Berkeley diploma.
Somehow I grew up with these values that seem kind of incredible, so I always was on good terms with Apple and they always liked me, I’m always welcome. I could come by, Steve Jobs would always make sure I had a badge that could get me into any building. I didn’t use it much, but I can go there. The only trouble is I’ll get mobbed.
And then I left the second time because I love startups.
Furthermore, Wozniak sat down with Reddit’s new Formative series to give a video interview, which can be watched below: