back to article Steve Wozniak ready for return to Apple

Steve Wozniak – Apple cofounder, former phone phreak, chief scientist at SSD startup Fusion-io, renowned prankster, Segway-polo pioneer, education philanthropist, and Dancing with the Stars contestant – has told Reuters that he's willing to add another chapter to his storied career: a return to Apple. "I'd consider it, yeah," …

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  1. General Ned Ludd

    Not gonna happen...

    While I'd love to see a modern equivalent of the Apple II (that has nothing to do with Linux), I just don't see the hacker spirit figuring too highly in Apple's current direction.

    1. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      Change with the Other Steve

      But that is the point. It could just be that Woz would probably ease down on the control freakery imposed by Jobs; Woz had always been more of the "open" school, while Jobs was responsible for the Apple closedness and the "oooh shiny" stupidity, like having the first Macs lacking a cooling fan.

      Maybe Woz could be a much better successor to Jobs!

      1. thecakeis(not)alie

        Screw Apple.

        You want to make proper use of the Woz's skills? Get Microsoft to set up a multi-billion-dollar arm's-length skunkworks and give the whole thing to the Wox to oversee. Five years later, Microsoft will have bleeding edge, relevant products implementing completely radical design philosophies that leave all competitors in their dust.

        Not because Woz dreamt them up himself, but because he is absolutely the right man for the job of fostering a community of hackers, tinkers and blue-sky thinkers such as you would want at a proper skunkworks.When life hands you a Wozniak…you make prototypes. ;)

        1. Steven Knox
          Happy

          Screw Apple.

          Game-A-Vision needs you back, Woz!

        2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Hiding in Plain Sight .... is the Best Place for Fab IT Secrets in Space

          "Get Microsoft to set up a multi-billion-dollar arm's-length skunkworks" ..... thecakeis(not)alie Posted Saturday 9th April 2011 00:13 GMT

          Screw Apple, thecakeis(not)alie, one knows they are as a Bang and Olufsen looker and hooker of a system but you're never going to leave them in charge of the crown jewels, are you. And how very odd that you wouldn't be thinking, and not have thunk that Microsoft are leading way out ahead in skunkworks games. ...... http://heddinout.com/?p=2140

          Whenever the stakes are so big and the returns so enormous, you would hardly expect them to trumpeting Control of Chaos whenever denial is so plausible and markets ignorance so helpful of stealthy sublime programming ...... virtual machine brainwashing, human version.

          But hey, don't take just my word for it, whenever you can so easily ask them to deny it plausibly.

          1. amanfromearth
            Alien

            You

            You are not the real AmanFrommars and I claim my £5

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              SMARTer Enabling Trojan IDEntity Projects

              "You are not the real AmanFrommars and I claim my £5" ..... amanfromearth Posted Monday 11th April 2011 00:33 GMT

              Don't make any claim against it not being amanfromMars, and more than just real in these Live Operational Virtual Environments, amanfromearth, for then are you perpetrating a fraud.

              A wise man would never ever bet against that which they don't know, for then will he lose everything and his shirt to be naked with nothing to cover his stupidity and arrogance, although in the world of human beings then, is it real ignorance which triumphs to condemn and enslave them to be fools and as a virtual tool and mule for Future LOVE Programs in AI SkunkWorks.

              A Microsoft Cloud Platform and Virtual Space Base Station for New Orderly Worlds Command and Control Operating Systems? A wise man would never ever bet against that which they don't know, for then will he lose everything and his shirt to be naked with nothing to cover his stupidity and arrogance, although a wiser being would always have a flutter to discover they were quite right to be so certainly hopeful ........ which is definitive enigmatic quantum methodology introduced into the metadatabase information to intelligence mix.

              Re "@Giles Jones" ... thecakeis(not)alie Posted Sunday 10th April 2011 09:58 GMT

              Quite so, thecakeis(not)alie, but if they lack definite vision in the future, no matter what else they are easily able to provide and support will never be enough to justify that they succeed and lead in the field. Hell, the world is awash with $$$ looking for a SMARTer home and something special to do, to give currency some real value and show that it works to unlock potential and deliver real present power and virtual remote control to Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems.

              1. amanfromearth
                Alien

                Nope, fake

                I offer as evidence the fact that some portions of your missive are grok-able.

                1. thecakeis(not)alie

                  @amanfromearth

                  I assure you, he's legit.

        3. Giles Jones Gold badge

          Doh

          Why Microsoft? aren't we all happy their grip on the market has loosened?

          Or were you happy with IE and Windows ME? (before Firefox and OSX forced them to compete).

          1. thecakeis(not)alie

            @Giles Jones

            Why Microsoft?

            1) They have the $$$

            2) They aren't Larry Ellison & The Butcher

            3) I - perhaps bizzarely - trust them more than Google with my info

            4) They aren't going anywhere for a long time; they will be able to fund long-term skunkworks projects because thier revenue stream isn't based off of an investment ponzi scheme a-la Web 2.0

          2. Curtis
            FAIL

            Windows ME

            ME was nothing more that a sop to the fools running 98 that "upgraded" to 2000 and couldn't play their games because of the HAL. MS released it with the sole intention of it being able to run an "upgrade" path from 2K back to a 9X type environment.

            If your'e going to piss on MS, do it for the right reasons. The IE thing I can't argue, it was stupidity squared.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah but..

    'Maybe Woz could be a much better successor to Jobs!'

    Apple would lose market share and return to being the company I admired so very long ago. The Woz couldn't live with control/experience freaks in charge now. There are only so many times they would put up with the answer 'Why not ?' or' Lets see'.

  3. Jorge Lopez
    WTF?

    Wow you guys are really ...

    Omg #FAIL# for these posters above me. Apple not open? http://www.opensource.apple.com/

    Apple is not a control freak. They are merely protecting their technology like any company can and should. They use standard off the shelf hardware. I remember Apple from the 80s and 90s and they used proprietary non standard hardware. Pretty much every component in a mac or iphone is found elsewhere in the industry. Just because they make an Apple A5 does not mean it is not the same chip found in most other phones.

    I don't mind that the iOS is restricted. It's got quality control. Look at the android. Trojans left and right and the user experience is horrid. Android has alot of first time adopters but will those same people buy new androids? What about the return rate on android devices?

    I usually let these comments fly but this is ridiculous. Woz may be a great down to earth guy but since when is it ever a good thing to be less successful????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Maybe it's just me...

      Or maybe it's lack of lager, but it seems to me that the "control freak" mantra aimed at Apple seems to have come from its chief rival and detractor's camp. That'd be Microsoft for the completely unintuitive.

      Most of the "anything but Apple" crowd are "coincidentally" hard core microserfs or wannabe microserfs. There's that "ignore/ridicule/fight/lose" cycle thing where it seems to have got to the "fight" stage as far as the dear old serfs, or smurfs from Redmond's point of view.

      Cry havoc and let loose the electric hamsters of doom!

      1. Marcus Aurelius
        Flame

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        Hmmm, I chose anything but Apple because I wanted to do things with my phone that would result in an Apple phone going

        "I'm sorry, I can't let you do that, Dave"

        ...and far from being a Microserf, I'm an aging Lunix hippy.

        I do like my shiny Macbook Pros and iMacs as development systems though....

      2. Dale Richards
        Grenade

        Re: Maybe it's just me

        It's worth pointing out that Microsoft (primarily a software developer) and Apple (primarily a hardware manufacturer) are not direct rivals. They can and do work together on mutually beneficial projects (e.g. running Windows on a Mac).

    2. Andy Long 1
      Grenade

      Godwin...

      Hitler was pretty successful for a while.

      I think it's a good thing to be less successful than him. It would all depend on your operational definition of success.

    3. ChrisC
      Thumb Down

      Really?

      "I don't mind that the iOS is restricted. It's got quality control."

      Users bitten by the ongoing inability of Apple programmers to code a robust summer/wintertime changeover routine might disagree with you here. Getting it wrong once is bad enough, getting it wrong half a year later makes me think their quality control reputation is as much down to slick marketeering and fault-blindness amongst the Apple faithful as it is down to genuine engineering ability.

      "Just because they make an Apple A5 does not mean it is not the same chip found in most other phones"

      It might be the same processing core (or, at least, from the same family) as in other devices, but it's not the same chip. Do any other devices use the A5? Do any other devices use a chip which is in every way (physical size, electrical specs, performance, programming model etc) equivalent?

      Using proprietary/custom hardware in itself isn't a bad thing if that's the only way to achieve the desired price/performance goal. When it does become a bad thing is when the proprietary nature of the hardware allows the company to control who has access to the device. Did Apple really need to make so many little tweaks in the way the dock connector behaves from one iteration of iPod/Phone to the next, or were they just out to frustrate manufacturers and users of third-party devices?

  4. Sam Adams the Dog

    Perhaps you should bear in mind...

    ... that the ' even more renowned Cupertinian cofounder who also goes by "Steve"' probably ain't gonna be around much longer.

    -SATD.

    P.S. Still, it seems like a long shot.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      renowned?

      Infamous.

  5. Robin Stephens
    Flame

    Spoken like a...

    Spoken like a true fanboi. "I don't mind that BIG COMPANY controls my device after I paid for it."

    1. Antidisestablishmentarianist
      Stop

      WTF do you care?

      Why is it that people care that people don't care that they can't fiddle with their 'paid for' devices. Neither party is right, but both parties need to respect that. Otherwise you're basically spouting religion, and we all know what brain canker that is.

      Why don't you go have a wash, eat some vegetables and go sit in the sun for a bit. You'll feel much better about things.

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Happy

        Whoa there sonny!

        You can't go around spouting common sense! Jebus wept, can you imagine the mess we'd be in everyone stopped fighting, showed a little repsect for other people's choices and people started getting along?

        FFS! What would the lawyers do?! Next time you start thinking straight and making sense, you think of all the poor lawyers you'll put out of business! Lets not even consider how boring El Reg would get without the bickering fanbois!

        I suggest you switch off the machine and go think about what you've said, then come back when you've and axe to grind like the rest of us!

      2. Lionel Baden
        WTF?

        RE: Antidisestablishmentarianist

        Why do people care

        Because they have not been given a choice they have basically had a Massive FUCK OFF from apple if they try to even touch their device.

        E.g. Microsoft, How many people actually go around modifying their OS ? 1 < 12 % of the user base (random guesswork)??? If apple allowed most people wont care and wont do it, but the innovation brought on from people fiddling will be massive (Sysinternals spring to mind :D).

        The I could do what i like with "MY PURCHASED" apple kit is the day i consider using it.

        Tell a man he cant do something you can bet your entire sock draw he's gonna bloody do it.

      3. Aus reader
        FAIL

        Is that the best arguement you can make?

        Attacking the personal hygiene of someone you never met? Great way to ague the point.

  6. Wintermute
    Paris Hilton

    Woz back at Apple is one of the worst ideas The Reg has ever floated

    Steve Wozniak made some clever microcomputer designs using the newly-available, cheap, IC components back in the 1970s, full of obscure little hacks and kludges to squeeze the last bit of power out of those low-count circuits.

    So he made one design and it took off. The Apple II was one of the original Big Three of the 8-bit computer world. But here's my point: So what?

    I'm sure that the Woz is a friendly and personable older technie, but everyone nowadays has some strange washed-up old uncle who still likes toying around with tech like he is still 15 years old. Steve Wozniak had his moment of brilliance three decades ago.

    Paris is the icon here, because even Paris isn't dumb enough to try making another infamous video when she's fifty years old.

    1. Steven Knox
      FAIL

      Reading Is Fun

      No, the dumb thing is to judge someone by the one thing you know about them because you're too lazy to research if they've done anything else. Try reading the first paragraph of the article, at least, before posting next time. Thanks!

      "Paris is the icon here, because even Paris isn't dumb enough to try making another infamous video when she's fifty years old."

      Orly? Wait for it....

    2. Oninoshiko
      Alien

      I call

      Rule 34.

      Clearly you must be new to the internet.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Dave Lawton

        A title, why does a reply need at title ?

        I think you mean Sophie Wilson (ARM), don't you ?

  7. Marvin the Martian
    Megaphone

    Yes, because success at one thing is always a fluke.

    It's like all those Nobel prize winning scientists: they're d*cking around a decade, suddenly do something brilliant, d*ck around another decade or two to no effect, get prize, and do nothing useful again.

    It's clear life is a lottery, and past results have no bearing on future rewards.

    When I passed my driving theory without faults, I knew my life had suddenly peaked and the long way down started; I'd hoped I'd have a more impressive laurel to rest on than that but so be it...

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Slim not going to be a design goal then?

    The iPad3 will be a little thicker around the middle then?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ehhhh ... wanna bet?

    "Paris is the icon here, because even Paris isn't dumb enough to try making another infamous video when she's fifty years old."

    OK, I've just put a Watch This Space in my diary.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Difference between apple mac and standard PC

    Both have the same problem, blown power supplies.

    The PC, cost to repair is about $50 since I can use a standard off the shelf power supply.

    The Mac, cost to repair is about $200 since apple could be bothered to use a standard power supply, or even a standard pinout on the power supply.. If it at least used a standard pinout I could move the MB to a new case. Oh wait, no I cant, because they didnt use standard MB's in their systems either.

    Care to guess which one has been fixed?

    (the PC)

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      LOL

      You still use a desktop computer?

      Look at laptops, none use standard PSUs, boards or cases. They sell more than desktops. Desktops are 10% of the market and the least profitable 10% of the market since nobody wants a desktop.

      The masses don't tend to build or repair desktop computers.

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
        Thumb Down

        Masses and laptops...

        You have a point about laptops outselling desktops.

        But are you trolling?

        You should know why some still use desktops (And I'm not talking about those lame iMac one piece things).

      2. ChrisC
        FAIL

        Did you just make up those stats?

        A quick Google suggests that the laptop/notebook/netbook/other portable PC share of the market is expected to hit 70% next year, so I very much doubt that it's already at 90%...

        I'd also contest your suggestion that no-one wants a desktop - whilst most home users have switched to laptops, the business sector is still very hot on desktops, because for any given level of performance the desktop is almost always going to be the cheaper option, and beyond a certain level of performance the desktop is the only option. Fixing hardware problems is less of an issue with desktops compared to laptops (a halfway competent IT bod should be able to swap out a failing hard drive, memory module or processor on the average desktop PC in about 5 minutes once the replacement part has arrived, whereas to try the same on a laptop might take at least that long just to get the damn thing stripped down to the point where access to the faulty part is granted) which is a far bigger deal when the PC is being used as a business tool and not just as a means of accessing MyFaceTube.

        Also, if so few people want desktops, and there's so little profit in selling them, why do so many PC retailers still allow them to take up relatively large amounts of their precious display and stockroom space?

        1. Ted Treen
          Flame

          Yup..

          Recently had to replace my G5 so I could run Adobe CS5.

          Could have got an iMac - but nope. Could have got a MacBook Pro - nope again.

          Bought a Mac Pro because it's expandable.

          I'm the market at which it's aimed. I need to and want to expand my Mac.

          Most (but not all) iMacs are sold to domestic consumers - whose interest in expansion is at much the same level as my interest in games consoles. They wouldn't partake in discussions here as their interest in technology is limited to using it, and not 'tweaking', 'fixing' or modifying it.

          No different to the average driver who spends no time at all on "Practical Mechanics" forums.

          So Macs offend your sense of self-proclaimed nerdiness/expertise/Microserfery?

          Well, chill bro** not every keyboard-tapper/smartphone user/tablet user needs or wants to tinker.

          Get over it. Live with it. Feel irrationally smug & superior if you must, but grant the rest of us the right to differ.

          And the right to "Think different".

          **Teen-speek gratuitously thrown in to please the script-kiddies amongst El Reg's readers,

          1. Stacy
            Joke

            I do think different

            Surely that it the problem - if you have an Apple you are not allowed to 'Think Different' you have to 'Think Jobsian' :)

  11. Daniel von Asmuth
    Jobs Halo

    the contingency plan

    Apple has a plan in case Steve Jobs should not be cured, but they wouldn't reveal the intended successor. I doubt they meant Steve Wozniak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In case of?

      All you have to do is look at the survival curve of the specific illlness in question. Despite the fact it sounds like the person in question appears to have received 'heroic' treatment beyond what is conventionally received, I honestly doubt the outcome will be any the different.

  12. Christian Berger

    @DRM fanboys

    Simply put, the problem is that we as a society need to pay for the development of DRM and it's circumvention. Plus we need to pay for planed obsolescence. While you can still use an Apple II today and even maintain it, you already need DRM-circumvention to get songs onto the earliest iPods. (unless you somewhere have a computer capable of running iTunes)

  13. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    "My thinking is that Apple could be more open and not lose sales."

    I could not agree more.

    I cannot imagine the benevolent Steve reconciling with the ... other... one.

    But... stranger things have happened, I guess.

    Look, Woz, honestly, by virtue of you being yourself, you might be able to think of something totally amazing out of left field.

    I would however like a cheap and cheerful non x-86 netbook. Or perhaps a better smartphone platform.

  14. zen1
    Grenade

    The Woz

    Has probably (and single handedly) done MORE for the advancement of PC technology, by accident, than most long timers in the biz could have ever dreamed of (the lone exception maybe being St. Linus). Maybe and hypothetically, Woz would be just the visionary that's needed to get the metaphorical head out of Apple's collective ass, as the whole Jobian "it's my way or the highway" paradigm is actually pushing potential consumers away. Who knows, maybe he'd even be able to light the fire under Apple Engineer's ass again and get them to tackle the whole "multitasking issue"; which has always been one of my biggest beefs with the iPhone.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Woz is a nice guy, but lousy at business

    He does float around Apple a lot and always has. But his drive and vision are just not there, and never have been. His only real value to Apple might be as part of some PR scheme. The Fanboi's aren't too bright, so using Woz as a spokesperson probably has some value.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      "lousy at business"

      QFT,

      relatively, I guess. Nevertheless, I reckon I'd be pretty happy if I were like him at his age. Could be in better physical shape but I'd be happy to be as lousy at business as he is, for he's certainly doing much better than me :P

      But I take your point. A strong leader for the current amoralistic Apple he could not be.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    The Woz? The Apple?

    Of course there is a role for the Woz at the Apple.

    I don't really know if that post is CEO though. Maybe chief Apple evangelist in an interim if (and it is a big IF) the present CEO decides to spend more time away from the Apple.

    Heck! If Mr Jobs and Mr Wozniak decided to become joint CAE or CAEE (Chief Apple Evangelists or Chief Apple Executive Evangelists) what better team could a newly appointed CEO at the Apple wish for?

    The Woz and Mr Jobs making for continuity and a newly appointed CEO making for commercial resilience in change plus IoS seems to make sense to me.

  17. GeorgeTuk

    And just like that Fusion-io

    is getting mentioned in the press.

    He is pretty smart about that one!

  18. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Woz and Apple

    I am of the opinion that it would be a great publicity coup for Apple to get one of their (much beloved) founders back. If nothing else, he would be an important figurehead to have around should (when?) Steve Jobs becomes a discontinued product [1].

    Give Woz his own research department, lots of money and let him work away. It's a win-win situation for everybody.

    [1] Sniff. I miss my SE/30.

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woz and Apple

    um, Woz and Apple separated for a reason.

    Apple w/ Jobs has done fabulous.

    Woz with anything has done what? I don't see how Steve W can provide any growth to Apple.

    It might be an unfair characterization, similar to all the GE alums. Once the left the "comfort" of GE ot go lead other companies they did not fair so well (Home Depot).

    But given all this time and the dollars don't hurt either, aside from Segway Polo, what has Steve W done?

    I believe it would be a big mistake to bring him back to Apple.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Have some f_cking pride, Woz.

    Return to Apple? I'd be more concerned with the return of my pride and dignity for fishing for a job offer from Apple.

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