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Apple CoFounder Steve Wozniak applauds after the FCC voted to approve Net Neutrality during a hearing at the FCC headquarters February 26 2015 in Washington DC

Apple Co-Founder Talks Smartwatches and the Future

March 26, 2015
Wozniak has some concerns about smartwatches in general, "every one of them so far just seem to be between me and the better screen that I really want to see on my cell phone."

The man who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs gave his thoughts on the state of the company and the legacy of his friend and former business partner at the 2015 ProMat conference. Steve Wozniak, speaking in his usual style, was less-than enthusiastic about Apple’s latest device, but was excited about the technology.

While expressing some concerns about smartwatches in general – "every one of them so far just seem to be between me and the better screen that I really want to see on my cell phone" – he said he is still interested in checking out Apple's latest gadget. 

"I'm a watch person," he said. "And I'm open to the idea of watches with technology in them, so I'm going to buy the Apple Watch."

"But," he added, "I'm going to buy the absolute cheapest one, the cheapest model possible."

This comment generated a lot of laughs from the crowd, but Wozniak was quite serious on the point. To Wozniak, the high-end version of the device -- priced just under $20,000 – seems to signal some kind of fundamental shift in the direction of the company. 

"I don't know why, but this doesn't seem like the company we started," he said. "When I look at a $10,000 watch and a $17,000 watch and the only difference for $7,000 is the band? That doesn't seem where we started—to move the world forward. "

Despite that concern, he cut himself short of critiquing Tim Cook's leadership. 

"People always ask me if Apple has lost its innovation now because Steve Jobs has died," he said. "They try to get me to demean Tim Cook."

But, he said, he doesn't see justification for that yet.

"When Steve Jobs died, the products he had been involved with were already in the pipeline," he explained. "Give it a couple of years, wait at least two years and then you'll see new ideas coming from the people running the company."

So far, he said, he has seen some pretty positive signs of progress. 

More about Steve Wozniak's keynote speech at the ProMat conference in Chicago on New Equipment Digest.

NED is an IndustryWeek companion site with Penton’s Manufacturing and Supply Chain Group.

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