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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 



Comment from E-mail:
1. Do you believe in the idea (that Mac users are truly different than > others) behind the "Think Different" campaign? Why or why not?

Woz:
First, the "Think Different" campaign appeals largely to existing Mac owners. Mac owners have constantly been attracted to the images of more creative computer use. This has attracted a lot of creative professional types like ad and video creators, not lawyers. If you like people that think a certain creative way, it does seem to overlap Mac owners a lot. Also, Mac owners have had to fight for their existence and have had to even make sacrifices to hold on to their Macs. This breeds an amount of passion and camaraderie, just like members of any minority. One aspect of "Think Different" is that you know from the start that you aren't going to have an easy time, and that you need a good reason to divert from the mainstay. You either make this sacrifice or you don't, it's in you, the individual.

Comment from E-mail:
2. How much of a role would you say that Apple played in igniting the personal computer industry?

Woz:
The Apple ][ was the first computer to sell widely into homes, not into hobbiest bedroom laboratories or companies. It set a tone of a lot of personal features and appearance that were acceptable in the home. It also moved needed personal work projects into the home with a DOS and the first spreadsheet. Even as Apple ]['s dominated business and schools, that carried over to the homes. The phrase 'personal computer' came to mean one that a single person used, but it also meant one that was acceptable in homes, with a non-commercial appearance.

Had Radio Shack dominated Apple in the early days, instead of the reverse, we'd be crediting Radio Shack today.

Comment from E-mail:
3. When the Macintosh was unveiled, did you feel that you were really changing the world?

Woz:
I did believe that and so did almost everyone at Apple. It was the most significant change in computing from the user viewpoint ever. Today, 15 years later, every computer in the world is now a Macintosh.

Comment from E-mail:
4. Which do you think was more important to making personal computers popular, the Apple II, or the GUI technology of the Macintosh?

Woz:
Well, the earlier start is generally given more credit. The Apple ][ actually included bit mapped graphics and some people were creating text screens and graphics games using it in a keyboard controlled mode. So the signs of a GUI were already shown. There are a lot of reasons to look at today and overlook the real turning point, but you can still see that the press considers the Apple ][ the turning point. Plus, it made the huge amounts of money for Apple that gave it the chance to introduce the Macintosh.

The question is a bit like whether new processor advances like graphics processors were more important to games than earlier sprite technologies of early Nintendo machines. The answer has to respect the earlier machines for creating a game machine industry.

Comment from E-mail:
5. If you could go back in time, and change just one thing about Apple, what would you change and why?

Woz:
I'd probably leave the floating point instructions in my BASIC instead of taking them out to save a few weeks. Sorry, but I'm an engineer and I really don't look at the political evolution of the company.

On the other hand, I had bad feelings around 1983 when stores had so many models of Wintel machines and only one Apple ][. It was obvious way down that we were losing a market share battle despite having a better machine. It would have been good to lower prices or partner with other manufacturers back then. That decision could have been the same for the Mac in later years. I do believe that we could have held standards in the OS and treated it, and other software, as the revenue owners once everyone had a computer. Look at the size of Microsoft, and they didn't start with the gem that we did. We would have wound up a mainly software company with no control over hardware quality (we'd have to match the clones for price there) but Apple would be dominant today.


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