Steve Wozniak: Apple Watch Edition Won't Move the World Forward

Steve Wozniak in 2005

Steve "Woz" Wozniak is interested in the Apple Watch, but not the Apple Watch Edition at the high end. At a keynote event titled What's Next--The Future of Technology at the Automate/Promat Show in Chicago on Wednesday, Mr. Wozniak said he thought the US$10,000 and $17,000 Apple Watch Edition wasn't the kind of device that would move the world forward.

"I'm going to buy the Apple Watch, just the cheapest one," he said, according to ChicagoInno. "[Offering the high end Apple Watch Edition] didn't seem like the company we started. That's not the Apple that moved the world forward."

He also said that the only difference between the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition and the $17,000 Apple Watch Edition was "just the band."

That's not entirely true, but the only difference is the type of gold—the $17,000 Apple Watch Edition is made of Apple's rose gold allow, while the the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition is a yellow gold alloy—and the band. Whether or not people will be willing to pony up for these limited-quantity models remains to be seen.

And Mr. Wozniak is right. Sort of. Selling a $17,000 Apple Watch Edition isn't something the Apple he cofounded with Steve Jobs would have done. Then again, the Apple run by Steve Jobs for the last ten years of his life wasn't that Apple either—Steve Jobs was always first in line to throw out the old to make way for the new.

I am a great admirer of Steve Wozniak's. His accomplishments as an engineer are legendary, and I frankly think there should be a category above legendary. The Apple I was genius. The Apple II was way beyond that. I mean, wow.

But I think he's missing something on Apple Watch. Based on his comments about Apple Watch Edition, I think he sees this device as an end unto itself. Something that Apple is selling to make a buck, a pretty doodad designed to siphon off money from people with so much money they don't know any better.

That's not what Apple Watch Edition is for, though. This version of the device exists to make Apple Watch the first wearable computer that transcends function and form, that combines elegant jewelry with practical use, that makes people think differently about wearable computers.

The Apple Watch Edition sits at the intersection of art and technology. It really does. Most of us can't afford it, but that doesn't change where it sits and the role it will play in taking wearable computing from something people talk about (t best) to something people actually use.

And with all due respect to Mr. Wozniak, that is precisely the Apple he cofounded with Steve Jobs.

Other tidbits from the keynote include the fact that he has mixed feelings about Tim Cook as CEO of Apple; believes that Bitcoin is cool, but will be shut down by the government if it becomes too successful; sees robots in our future; and thinks that 3D printing is nifty, but isn't likely to become an every day part of most people's lives.