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Our Quick Q&A with Woz – His Thoughts on iPhone Jailbreaking & More

iPad portrait of Steve Wozniak by David Newman

As a gang of self-confessed Apple fanboys (and one fangirl), there are a few figures in the technology arena that hold huge and lasting interest for us. Steve Wozniak – Woz – is definitely in that small group. He’s a co-founder of Apple, a genuine pioneer in the history of the personal computer, and always comes across as someone whose love of technology has never wavered.

We were recently given the opportunity to have a quick Q&A session with Woz. We’re obviously super happy to have had the chance to fire a few questions at him, and even happier to be able to share his answers with you. We asked him about what tech he might be building if he were a teenager today, his experience and thoughts on iPhone jailbreaking, and more.

Here’s the full set of questions and Woz’s answers:

When you were a teenager you built computers. If you were a teenager right now, what would you be building?

Probably robots, maybe smart phone apps, or a combination. Hopefully, something with hardware.

What’s your experience and opinion on Jailbreaking iPhones?

I’ve tried it out. I’ve been disappointed by the app quality. Some of my friends complain about the quality of the user experience using Android but love to install and show off their jailbreak apps.

But I think it’s the best thing for developing minds to build companies in the future. You need some personal fun in reaching a goal that’s not what everyone else has or does. And I loved looking at schematics of devices when I was young and knowing how to attach other things to them or modify them.

iOS and Android have transformed an entire industry in 5 years. Over the next decade, what equally disruptive companies/products/platforms could prevent a two-horse race and how?

Not my area of understanding. You can’t count out any existing large companies. I also think that in 5 years we’ll start wanting every device to respond in natural ways to natural voice. Companies in that field, of understanding real human voice, even when it’s a bit off or wrong, and being able to figure out metaphors and figures of speech on the fly (even made up ones) will have a big day. Also, we need to incorporate vision into understanding what is really meant, like looking at someone’s face and getting clues about how time-critical something is, or if it’s a joke.

From iMac to iPod to iPhone to iPad, Apple keeps innovating: what will be the next “big thing” and what iName would you give it?

Apple tends to do things well that were being attempted poorly before. Part of this is that so many of us make a critical mass to insure enough sales to set the next direction. I have no idea what it is. I’m hoping that it’s a much smarter iPod nano that you wear and ask questions of.

You’re a big fan of jokes and even ran your own joke line back in the day. What’s your favorite Apple, computer or technology related joke? Your favorite joke of any kind?

I don’t have a list handy so I don’t want to try to guess. I loved all the major easter eggs of the past and wish they were still allowed.


And there you have it. Some great answers from Woz. I thought his take on jailbreaking was especially interesting – definitely not toeing the Apple party line on that topic.

I’d like to say to a huge thanks to Woz for taking time to answer our questions, and also to his wife Janet for helping so much to make this happen. We look forward to checking back in with him in future.

The image at the top of this post is a superb portrait of Woz done on an Apple device, the iPad, by a lifelong Apple fan, David Newman. It’s one that Woz is very fond of and has said is the best picture or painting of him ever. Check out all of David’s great artwork at his Flickr stream here:


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  • Waz,

    Hi! Remember Me? From the little store you got the ware? Didn’t add right for you when you didn’t have it? K, so, Apple, built on bugs, App Store, cluttered with ‘pay per install’ Apps, cluttered with BS reviews, cluttered with Cash ware that will NEVER make cash because Steve (GUYS, NOT THAT STEVE, COME ON DUDES, history, get out the box), says, hey, I want them there. Why does he care what they want?

    So, what’s the deal? It’s all ERROR.

    -Clerk (fun fun fun, let’m obsess!)

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