Apple co-founder criticises company over Apple Watch

Steve Wozniak said device has taken firm into ‘jewellery market’ and that it is no longer ‘the company that really changed the world a lot’

The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he no longer recognises the company he built, thanks to creations such as the Apple Watch.

He wrote in an interview on Reddit: “I love my Apple Watch, but - it’s taken us into a jewellery market where you’re going to buy a watch between $500 or $1,100 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 $1,100. 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.”

Wozniak’s answer came in response to a question about what he thought of the chief executive Tim Cook’s performance. But while he had critical words for the Apple Watch, overall, he voiced his approval of Cook, saying: “He is continuing a strong tradition that Steve Jobs was known for of making good products that help people do things they want to do in their life, and not taking the company into roads of, ‘Oh, we’ll make all our money like by knowing you and advertising to you.’ We’ll make good products. And you know, I started out as a hardware product guy, so I’m glad to see that.”

Wozniak also had strong words of support for the company in its ongoing battle with the FBI over encryption and security on iPhones.

“I come from the side of personal liberties. But there are also other problems,” he said, referring to the FBI’s proposed solution of writing a special version of iOS to bypass iPhone security features.

“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.”

Wozniak originally left Apple in 1981, after a traumatic plane crash as a pilot left him with anterograde amnesia – the inability to form new memories. He opened up about the accident in the interview, writing “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 realised 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.”

He returned to the University of California, Berkeley, where he had previously dropped out just one year before graduation and finished his degree. After that, he returned to Apple for a short period before leaving again in 1985. He said at the time that the company had “been going in the wrong direction for the last five years” and selling most of his stock as he exited.

But now, the unsung co-founder of Apple looks back on his time with a more rosy view. “Apple is the most important thing ever in my life … no matter what I might go off and try to do outside … I would only say one thing, I am Apple.

“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.”

When it comes to Apple’s current plans, Wozniak expressed support for the company’s reported self-driving car division. “The car market makes total sense to me for Apple, but the important thing is that I hope if they get off on a product, something that they could sell and make a lot of money for but is not ‘insanely great’ as Steve jobs would say, Apple should drop it and start over.”

After leaving Apple, Wozniak built the first universal remote control, the CL9 Core. The company was sold in 1988, a year after the Core was released, with Wozniak briefly pursuing a lifetime goal of teaching computer science to elementary school students.

A few months after Wozniak departed, his co-founder Steve Jobs also resigned from the firm, to found the competing computer company, NeXT. By the 1990s Apple had entered a period of decline, which was only halted by Jobs’ return to the firm in 1997. The company is the largest publicly traded firm by market cap in the world.


Alex Hern

The GuardianTramp

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