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Wozniak reveals why Steve Jobs loved secrecy

Ashleigh Allsopp | May 17, 2012
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has set off on his Woz Live tour across Australia and New Zealand, revealing why Steve Jobs liked secrecy

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has set off on his Woz Live tour across Australia and New Zealand, revealing why Steve Jobs liked secrecy, why he thinks computers should be able to interact with humans, how he feels about leaving Apple and what he knows about the iPhone 5.

Speaking at the Sydney session of the tour on Monday, Wozniak talked about where he believes true innovation is found: "Innovation comes from brain power; it comes from having smart people around. It doesn't come from just cranking a wheel."

"Mobiles have changed my life in ways I wouldn't have expected," said Woznaik. "I used to teach kids in school: "You're in a science fair, think of something at home you could make better." Sometimes those apps catch on, they go viral, and all of a sudden millions of people are using it. That's a great area for innovation."

Wozniak believes that the key to coming up with an innovative new product is to begin with engineers. "It's always better to start with some great engineers who are inspired to build things."

"Then there's the engineer that's special, like an inventor Those types take risks. When I came up with the colour formula to deliver colour with a $1 chip, it was very risk taking. Would it work? It had never been in a book," Wozniak continued.

Apple is known for innovative products, said Wozniak. "All I brought was a good company that had a culture of doing things different, and also being delightful and entertaining to the consumer. It started out with Soundjam (which became iTunes), iPod went so easily with it."

Wozniak revealed that there were lots of trials involved in the making of products, all of which took place in secrecy. "Steve Jobs kept a lot of products secret when he returned. If everyone knows what you're doing it makes you scared."

"Now the iPod wasn't let out until it was so obvious that this was an extreme step different to everyone else's music player," he said.

"People like things that are easy. With iPhone, the secrecy allowed us a lot of ways to look at it. Apple developed other phones, for 6 years, but the problem is, they just didn't have that special gleam," said Wozniak. "That's what lead Apple to finally recognising that once we've solved the problems with the iPhone, we had a product that the world had never expected to see."

Wozniak said that when they first started Apple, "Steve Jobs was worried that the big companies will jump on us. They've got more resources."

He says that they came to realise: "if our people are smart they can do just as good a job. If you start out early and do a good job and get a good market share, you'll grow and maintain your percentage as you grow."


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