Steve Wozniak gave an illuminating interview to TechCrunch today in which he expressed several heartfelt emotions--among them, fear.
Of course, Apple's surviving co-founder--who spoke while standing in line for an iPhone 4S in Los Gatos, Calif.--expressed his sadness at the passing of Steve Jobs. But Woz went on to say that without Jobs, Apple could easily lose its ability to transcend tech-industry tropes and directly address customer needs.
"I'm a little afraid," Woz said. "It needs one person--almost one person--one mind still in control."
Woz said he hoped that Apple wouldn't go the way of Sony. Once upon a time, Sony products were simple, beautiful, revered and coveted. "But they lost that formula," he said.
His fears about Apple, he said, were magnified by the presentation of the iPhone 4S when someone on stage (twice) mention dual-core processors. "Steve doesn't want us to think about dual-core processors," Wozniak said. "All we need to know is how do we get our answer, how do we connect to the Internet."
Even worse, Woz said, was the mention of split antennas. The message that might have been lost, he suggested, was simply that the new phone had better reception.
Woz is passionate (and wise) about the fact that the things that matter to engineers aren't the things that matter to real human beings. This is the core of Apple, one that the iPhone 4S launch made him fear might be forgotten.
So here was this quintessential engineer reminding engineers that they're not real people. Which some might find very sanguine indeed.