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Wozniak on Mac OS, iPhone, future tech

updated 10:30 am EDT, Wed October 31, 2007

Wozniak on Mac OS, iPhone

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak differs in several respects with the company's current direction, according to a new interview. He notes that while he is still getting Mac OS X Leopard, despite knowing little about it, he does not like the direction the Mac OS has taken. "Early on with the first Apples," says Wozniak, "we had these dreams that the computer would let you know what you wanted to do. The idea was that little icons or words would suggest what you wanted to do, but now I have to find my way around to odd little icons that aren't positioned in the prominent places. When conducting a common task, I have to go searching around in folders or the bottom of the screen.

"I don't think any of it will be solved with Leopard," he goes on, "because I don't think there is incentive to. They want to make things easy, and if it seems easy and it can be demonstrated quickly then it's okay. The real dreams of how it will work for someone who knows nothing about the computer have been lost and don't get addressed anymore."

Wozniak in fact dismisses the importance of operating systems including Leopard and Linux, saying that upgrades are done "to keep your loyal people happy. Learning an entirely new operating system is something no one wants to do. You get stuck on a platform, and you don't want to start learning a whole new computer system."

He suggests that computing may be moving beyond the operating system and relocating to different spaces. "Apple has already taken its way into the living room and entertainment system," he comments. "They have a huge advantage in this space. They have the OS, the hardware, the applications, and the online services, and they get them to all work together. A company like Hewlett-Packard, on the other hand, can make a computer and have great ideas, but it boils down to the software element, and they're restricted by what Microsoft provides as an operating system."

Regarding the iPhone, Wozniak argues that it should be treated like a computer, and criticizes the approach Apple has taken to date, locking out third-party programs. "From a business point of view," he says, "Apple owns what they have done. They have a right to lock it. But I am really for the unlockers, the rebels trying to make it free. I'd really like it to be open to new applications. I'd like to install some nice games. Why in the world can I not install a ringtone that I've made? How would that hurt AT&T's network? Here is Steve Jobs sending letters to the record companies saying [they] should provide music that's unprotected, but here he is taking the opposite approach with the iPhone. I don't know to what extent AT&T is involved in the thinking and direction."

The iPhone may be a guide to future interfaces, though. "I don't think anything revolutionary is close on the horizon, but I guess you never know. I didn't think the iPhone would be as pleasing. I was really surprised. Eventually, I would love a little computer with a camera that recognizes me, and I can throw a lot of little gestures at it, and it responds to what I say and do. It will be very hard to create a computer that can understand our voice and our rhythm."





by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ok except...

    third party apps are "in", with an announced dev kit, APIs etc...

    As for the dream vs reality, given what computers can do now that was never imagined, Leopard seems to be a more permissive and forgiving OS than ever - unless you routinely run many dozen programs, the dock is a decent way to do things.

    spaces need tweaking, not sure i like the check register finder lists, sharing controls are no longer on their own, but it's minor on balance with a faster finder, data detectors and a unified interface style

  1. webraider

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Direction of OS X

    I completely agree that the early mac days from OS 9 and back are gone and missed from a UI standpoint. I mean it could have used a face lift but the concept behind how the computer worked and files were managed have not be re-captured with OS X. That said... it could be that the concept behind the UI of OS 9 and back is in itself obselete. More and more people are using computers these days and like it or not.. alot of them have used Windows Machines. Making the Mac a little more Windows User Friendly is unfortunatly for the rest of us a SMART move. The two OS's are more alike today than they have ever been (From A GUI standpoint that is). Still, the old GUI is missed by the rest of us.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    what

    What the h*** does Woz do nowadays anyways?? I mean besides ride his Segway and get interviewed about Apple products?

  1. madmanXwater

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    A lot of talk.

    It's much easier to sit back and criticize what other's do than to do something yourself. Steve and Apple are out there doing it everyday, Woz if you don't agree then let's see what you have created.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: talk

    agreed. Apple also has to be concerned with gaining market share and being a profitable company in a very cutthroat business, so to a certain degree making users comfortable has to win out over new human-OS interface paradigms.

  1. smashedbanana

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    UI

    Why exactly do I want a computer that will tell me what I want to do?

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    No perfect UI...

    Leopard sure beats the heck out of DOS. I don't think a modern OS that handles hundreds of tasks can be simplified but so much unless there's some sort of AI behind it.

    But that would most likely involve more OS bloat and tax the processors to death. Steve Wosniak is probably a very intelligent individual so he should have continued to work on interface design and show SJ how to do it properly. Right now, I'm sure he's more into Kathy Griffin than some stupid UI programming.

    Steve Jobs into turning Apple into a highly profitable company and as a shareholder that's good enough for me.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    that's some good s***

    Woz must be smoking these days. A UI that tells me what I want to do? Like, reads my mind and stuff? Sounds suspiciously like how MS tried to put s*** in Win 95 and "Bob" and Office which tried to 'help me out'.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Um...

    Computers haven't developed as envisioned in 1980?? Something must have gone awry!

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    respect

    Give the man respect, with out him, you wouldn't have your toys to be fanboys of.

    I agree with everything he said.

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