The Woz: Apple Is Too Cool To Become Uncool

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There’s little to fear that Apple’s cool quotient could ever rise so high as to tip the company over the precipice to become uncool, or so Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak believes. The Woz made the comments during a PR tour of Australia in response to questions from a local journalist who wanted to know if Apple could become a victim of its own success.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

Many people have suggested this as a possibility, especially in the wake of Apple’s explosive growth with the iPhone and iPad. The company’s rivals have even based advertising campaigns around this theme. For instance, Samsung had its Apple Fanboy commercials and a new campaign suggesting iPhone users are sheep, while Motorola had a commercial targeting Apple drones (ironically borrowing Apple’s 1984 themes to do so).

The idea is that so many people have bought (or might buy) into Apple as a “cool” alternative that the company becomes “uncool” by definition. This is what Samsung, Motorola, and others are hoping to both foment and capitalize on, while others wonder if it will happen (or has happened).

“Apple a victim of its own success? You could have asked that at any point along the way,” the Woz said after a speaking event in Perth, according to “Of course there’s always a chance - and there’s also a chance that it will become twice as successful because of its success.”

He added, “I’ve never seen the Apple brand tarnished in all the time, even when the company was doing poorly. That’s what’s holding it up - it’s like a savings account. So I don’t think that question can ever say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re just going to get so used to it because everybody has Apple’. No, because it’s so good.”

Mr. Wozniak is precisely correct. We’ve heard for years from any number of sources—most of them fans of competing technologies, platforms, and companies—who have suggested that variations on the theme that Apple will become too successful for its own image, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The Woz was also asked about Windows, and said, “I’m sorry, but the Windows PCs were not that good. I used them.
I did not like their operating system on computers at all.”

According to another story, multi-millionaire and tech icon Steve Wozniak also confessed to not having broadband at his Los Gatos, CA home. According to him, a confluence of events centered around the reality that broadband is a township-granted monopoly in Los Gatos, and he’s simply unable to get broadband physically to his house.

The coverage of these comments included a local Down Under political issue involving the building of a nation-wide wireless network. If you’re interested in the subject, check out the full story.

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Too Cool to Become Uncool reminds me of Too Big to Fail.

Gives me the creeps.

no relation at all

Comparing “too cool to become uncool” with “too big to fail” has no relation at all. The second involves corruption, greed and crooks fighting for money. Apple is a company who seeks perfection. Apple is not perfect. They have a lot of crap products, specially software, as Xcode for example, but Apple wins because in average their products are amazing. The base of Apple coolness is in part the content they have to their devices. So, to make Apple uncool Apple would have to launch a bunch of crappy products and end iTunes. Apple won the mobile war, nothing that can be done on the mobile arena will change that.



There is something else, I believe, at play, namely a Steve Jobs halo effect on Apple and its image.

It has long been recognised that martyrs cannot be fought against, but acquire greater power in death than they ever possessed in life. A similar effect over hearts and minds occurs for those who die relatively young or in their prime. SJ was in the prime of his creative life. Since his death, he has been increasingly cited, not only as a singular genius, but as the standard against which all others are compared. He has been elevated to a rarefied staus to which few in history have attained. This practice, if history is a guide, will extend into the future, and this despite his widely cited flaws. Those but add to the mystery of his genius. Those who expected, or at least hoped, that he would fade into irrelevance are in for sore disappointment.

Why is any of this important? It is important because that aura of creative genius, lost before its time, will extend to the most important of his creations, Apple. That alone sets Apple apart from the competition. This is cache more than mere cool. In death, SJ has extended that aura of our collective goodwill to his company in a way that he could never have in life, because then he was a mere mortal. This is the power of death over hearts and minds.

On a practical note, it buys Apple some needed breathing room and enough latitude to make a few mistakes, so long as they are modest. I predict Apple will be forgiven those since, after all, SJ wasn’t there to guide them. This also permits the company to experiment and innovate without undue trepidation.

For the competition, the news is not so good. Rather than being spirited through space on the wings of a revered and departed patriarch, they trudge the common pathways on mortal feet of clay.

And as far as cool is concerned, I believe that Apple are just warming up.


No relation
You are correct that there is no direct corollary between the two. It just implies an overconfidence, an assumption of invincibility that is worrying. Like a coach told me years ago “if you assume you will win, you’re gonna’ lose.”



It is not true until the fat lady sings.

Wozniak also said great things about the lumia 900 so does it mean it is meant to succeed beyond MS widest dream.


It is not true until the fat lady sings.

And if Apple ever starts believing the hype, the idea that they have to be ‘cool’ rather than good, she will be warming up.

As far as the Lumina 900, Woz cannot predict the future. It will succeed or fail in the marketplace reguardless of what he says.


There is definitely truth to this. I always thought Apple was cool even when they were on the verge of going out of business in the 1990’s. I don’t know if there is anything that could change that perception in my mind.

There is big difference between “too cool to become uncool” and “boneheaded business decisions that nearly put you out of business”.

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