Woz, check your assumptions

Woz has some things to say about Apple’s latest products.

“To tell you the truth I was really disappointed when the iPhone was introduced … half the phones in the AT&T store at the time were 3G phones,” Mr Wozniak said during a press conference following his keynote speech at the Broadband and Beyond Conference this morning.

“I was shocked because Apple is bringing the full internet [to mobiles] – full web pages with pictures and everything – and it’s not 3G and I knew that would be a speed detriment.”

The thing is, all those phones with 3G weren’t selling, because they were nerdphones. See, Woz, you’re a nerd. I know this isn’t news. But you are around so many nerds that you seem to forget sometimes that you guys really are rare. Nerds can put really cool things to really cool uses. The problem is that non-nerds get those things, and they don’t have much use for them at all.

Non-nerds don’t care about 3G. EDGE is fast enough, and WiFi is WoWee. 3G is a nerd feature, and it will come in when it is just as cheap as EDGE.

Wozniak agreed with those criticisms [of the Macbook Air], saying: “I don’t think it’s going to be a hit.” He said he liked to burn a lot of DVDs for friends and watched movies on planes, and so needed the ability to swap batteries mid-flight.

“I’m trying to figure out a way to make the Air a part of my life because i’m a one-laptop-only person,” he said.

“I don’t feel it’s a benefit if you have to carry the Air plus a DVD player plus a couple of extra dongles to connect to Ethernet things and also maybe an extra hard disk to carry your music – but still there’s a pureness about it and really I like it.”

You didn’t think that the iPhone was going to be a hit, either, because it wasn’t a nerdphone. The Air isn’t a nerdbook. It isn’t aimed at people who carry around a bag full of doodads and gadgets for their notebook. Those people are also likely to want a big screen and lots of horsepower, because nerds can put big screens and horsepower to good use. It is aimed at people who want something small enough to fit into a briefcase (or even a purse) that they can check email on, surf the web, and write letters and reports on. They don’t need a nerdbook. They need a small laptop.

Wozniak, who is still good friends with Jobs, is known for his frank and honest opinions, even when asked about topics as close to home as Apple.

He said Jobs “very seldom” calls him to complain about something he has said about Apple in public.

Jobs understands what is going on. See, Jobs, like me, is a nerd liaison. We like you nerds. We understand you. We don’t get mad when you nerd out. Your opinion, Woz, carries a ton of weight (and rightly so) in Nerdia. Thing is, we also understand non-nerds, and people who don’t live in Nerdia probably don’t even know who you are. Jobs doesn’t get mad when you are critical about Apple products because Apple doesn’t try to make devices specifically for Nerdia anymore. Nerds are a highly independent lot, and will decide whether or not to get one based on the device itself, and will actually be reassured if there are informed criticisms of the device out there, so you are both helping Jobs sell items in Nerdia and doing no damage outside of Nerdia.

The iPhone has been hugely successful, despite not being Woz-perfect. I don’t think the Air will be hugely successful, but I don’t think it will be a flop like the Cube, and I think that it will gain a fierce following from those who do fit into its niche.


  1. Phelps says:

    In my experience, much faster than dialup, much slower than WiFi. The very dumb mobile speed test said 53k, and the iPhone test said 92k. 92 is more in line with my experience.

  2. R says:

    How fast is EDGE anyway? I’ve never tried to surf outside of WiFi access nodes.