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Wozniak to step onto the Mac stage

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is scheduled to be a panelist at Macworld Expo, his first appearance there in six years.

Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak is taking the stage at Macworld Expo after a six-year absence and will be giving his first presentation there in more than a decade.

On Jan. 7, Wozniak, known as "Woz" in tech circles, will serve as a panelist at the big Macintosh show in San Francisco. He will be joined by Mac authors and publishers to discuss Mac OS X at the four-day event.

It has been years since the Apple co-founder gave a presentation or served on a panel at Macworld. Wozniak made an appearance at the conference in 1997, but he did not give a presentation or serve on a panel, said a representative for IDG World Expo, the organizer of Macworld. This upcoming event will mark Wozniak's first speaking engagement at Macworld in at least 10 years, the representative said.

Wozniak said the other members of the Mac OS X panel piqued his interest.

"A bunch of people I know and respect are on this panel, and when they asked me if I wanted to be on this panel, I thought why not," Wozniak said. "I also thought this panel would serve along the lines of an educator on the Mac OS X, and I would have to think about how to present things to people."

Wozniak, who helped form Apple in 1976 with CEO Steve Jobs, earlier this year launched a wireless product design company called Wheels of Zeus.

Wheels of Zeus, or WOZ, is focused on developing a wireless device to help people track everyday things. The company plans to conduct some private demonstrations of the gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show, scheduled for January 2003, and hopes to land some manufacturing deals by June.

"It won't be a PDA (personal digital assistant) or a computer. It'll be something for the vertical markets before it becomes a broad consumer product," Wozniak said.