Macintosh

You are the heartbeat and soul of Apple

in
Comment from E-mail

Contrary to what Steve believes, you are the heartbeat and soul of Apple. With greatest thanks.

Woz

Thank you. It's been said that Apple and Macintosh carry different weights and feelings and associations. I agree with your observation. Although it's not spelled out, you can't always put such feelings into the right words. I'm surprised that people can see that there was a time that we stood for the average person more than for our own company's growth and size and revenues.

It's funny but there are a good number of people in Apple right now that still have these same sorts of feelings, about the soul of the company being important. It's much harder to associate the soul of Microsoft with anyone. It's hard to imagine the soul of Microsoft, right?

 

 

About the IIGS

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Question from E-mail

My question to you is: Do you regret the demise of the II line in the same way that many of its enthusiasts did (and do)? Was the IIGS a promise of more great things to come, with built in command line interface, backwards compatibility, ease of use and a great OS, or simply a compromise "bridge" that was made in a half hearted attempt to appease the large number of II users? I still remember the bitter disappointment when the IIGSx (10mhz, 640x480 video - yohoo!) never came out.

Woz

Your question has more than a single answer. I don't regret the fact that the Apple ][ was demised. Even I switched for good reasons. I do regret the fact that because there was superior technology, Apple gave up on the Apple ][ support too fast and drastically. It's strong sales should have been supported and gradually switched to products like the Apple ///, the LISA, and the Macintosh. For the last 3 years that the Apple ][ was the best selling personal computer in the world, Apple had almost totally withdrawn from it.

I think that this might have been personally motivated. Everyone wants to claim credit for this marvelous invention and the most notable company formation of recent times. The best way is to invent another marvelous computer that overshadows the first. None of the people running Apple had really conceived or invented or designed the Apple ][. Naturally, they needed another good one to demonstrate their own prowess. In the case of the Apple /// and the Macintosh, those in charge didn't want to support the Apple ][ much because it was strong competition with their own products. The LISA team really didn't bring much conflict to bear, at least not that I perceived directly.

A lot of the problem in Apple bringing such satisfying products to market is that the personal computer market exploded, and products have to be rushed to market without the psychological research and product corrections to make them really nice and easy, the way it was supposed to be. I still believe in the LISA dreams of the software being so obvious to use that it was hard to make a mistake and that mistakes were clearly explained. These dreams, of a computer being so helpful to people, were carried over to the Macintosh. But time has proven that we didn't do a very good job of appeasing the users. In my opinion, Windows did much worse, but to be fair it might be because there are so many more companies and companies making products for PC's, with correspondingly more conflicts and artifacts that are impossible to handle properly. The Macintosh has the advantage of fewer options and therefore fewer conflicts. In these terms, you can see why the Apple ][ was so satisfying, it had very little that could mess you up.

The Apple II is a simple and flexible machine

in
Comment from E-mail

On a side note: I've become reacquainted recently with my IIe, and after working with PCs for several years, both hardware and software, I'm learning to appreciate some of the small but significant things that made the Apple II such a simple and flexible machine.

Woz

Some appreciate quantity (of menu commands, for example) but others, like yourself, appreciate quality. In today's computers, the sales game tends to favor quantity too often. Many miss the quality difference (of the Macintosh, for one thing) when they just read comparison charts and feature lists and think that's the important measure. Good for you.

How involved with the Mac you are today?

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Question from E-mail

I was wondering how involved with the Mac you are today? Are you still an apple employee in any way? Do you use only macs, and if so, what kind(s)? Do you ever talk to Steve Jobs? Have you felt "pushed back" into the spotlight since the movie?

Woz

I'm not formally involved with the Macintosh today, but I represent it informally and unofficially on occasion. I keep up with a lot of Macintosh equipment, first hand, and generally know more about what works and what doesn't and what's available and what's not than people inside of Apple

I talk to Steve Jobs on occassion but not too often.

I do feel 'pushed back' into the spotlight right now. Way too much email. I have to handle and turn down lots of reporters. I like a low profile better, it gives me more time to do what I really want to (which might be as simple as taking a child to school).

Lisa vs Mac

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Question from E-mail

My father gave the ][ away a few years ago to a school where the kids used it for "Turtle Graphics". For what it's worth, you were a bit of a hero among me and my friends back then - we knew that you were the hardware guy, and Jobs the business guy. As I recall, and this may be totally wrong, the belief was that Jobs was behind the Lisa, and your "response" was the Mac.

Woz

Very wrong. Steve Jobs was behind bringing the Xerox technology to Apple and building good products with it. But he eventually fell into disfavor with the LISA group. Naturally, the Macintosh became a bit of striking back for him. That's my opinion. I liked all the people on the Mac team very much, even Steve, but my plane crash kept me from it.

The "Good luck" note

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Comment from E-mail

 

Jim, My name is Brian R. I spoke with you last night around 6pm and you asked me to send you this note. Several years ago, Steve visited Fort Lauderdale at my request for what was the local Apple user's group. Steve actually made 2 visits down including bringing 2 of the key developers for the Mac, Andy and another gentleman. On both occasions, Steve came over to my house where I showed him what I was doing at the time with a bulletin board system. After Steve's last visit, about 2 or 3 days later a 5MB hard drive showed up on my doorstep with a "Good luck" note attached.

The success I have experienced since then has everything to do with the Woz spending the time with me that he did in Fort Lauderdale and even on a trip I made with my family out to California shortly after his South Florida visit. As I told you on the phone last night, I am in town with my wife and 21-month old son and would like to stop by to say hello if at all possible. We are leaving Saturday morning to start driving back to Florida. I will call your office around 9-10am on Friday morning. Sincerely, Brian

Woz

 

Brian, this is Steve. I hope that I can get to see you, but if not, best wishes anyway. I do remember your name when I see this and I remember the two Fort Lauderdale visits as great ones. The parts that I recall might differ from your own. I remember your BBS and was very impressed. The second trip was the week that the Macintosh was introduced and I brought Andy, Burrell, and Bill Atkinson along as a special gift to your club and the one in Washington D.C. (if I remember correctly) where the projector almost didn't arrive in time. I remember crying on the plane coming into Fort Lauderdale but I won't say why here.

I get to hear back very often from people that I apparently made a positive difference in their lives, with special gifts or sponsorship. Many of them turn out very successful and I hope that they've been influenced positively. I've mostly forgotten these incidents. There are many many of them. Plus, they are part of my 'way' and not individually special. I am so glad that you remember this good thing.

Mac vs Windows?

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Question from E-mail

How do you feel about the Mac vs. Windows war that some computer users
engage in?

Woz

I'm surprised at the extent of the bigotry. But it really plays out
when companies or schools take a side and prohibit the other platform
at all. We Mac users should be good even when the other side is bad. We
should do what we can to accept the other platforms. All the best people
in life seem to like LINUX.