Tech Industry

Woz: Tesla, not Apple, will have the next tech moonshot

Commentary: Apple co-founder says he's betting on Tesla to be at the forefront of the next big thing. He says Elon Musk creates products to please himself.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A big admirer of Elon Musk.

James Martin/CNET

When it comes to the next great tech breakthroughs, Steve Wozniak isn't betting on the company he founded.

Instead, he believes Tesla is at the forefront of anticipating the world to come.

In an interview with Bloomberg Canada, Woz explained that he believes Elon Musk will be behind the things no one has really thought of.

"I think Tesla is on the best direction right now," he said. "They've put an awful lot of effort into very risky things."

Woz said Musk anticipated things like electric cars, self-driving cars and the need for efficient transportation systems. He expressed admiration for Musk's Boring Company, which believes that digging holes beneath the surface will obviate traffic.

"I'm going to bet on Tesla," he said.

Why, though, is Tesla different? "They started with a car -- the Tesla Model S -- that made little sense in engineering terms in how much you have to build for what price and what the market will be," he said

Why, then, did the Model S succeed? "It fit one person's ideal of this will be the most beautiful, you know, a very beautiful, elegant and simple device to use," said Woz.

"It was really built for Elon's own life. What car would he like? And when things come from yourself, knowing what you'd like very much and being in control of it [...] that's when you get the best products," he explained.

Some might imagine that Woz had Steve Jobs' -- and his own -- attitude in mind when he chose Musk as the next standard-bearer. After all, Apple created the sorts of computers that no one thought even looked like computers. (Which was, of course, why real human beings gravitated toward them.)

Now, however, Woz didn't mention Apple as being in the vanguard of the next big thing. A clue to why emerged from his subsequent words.

"Look at the companies like Google and Facebook and Apple and Microsoft that changed the world -- and Tesla included. They usually came from young people. They didn't spring out of big businesses," he said.

Apple is now a very big business. Might Woz be slyly suggesting that Cupertino can't quite match the more cavalier creative nature of Musk? I think he just might.

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