Steve Wozniak: I Never Criticized New iPad, Reporters Got It Wrong [exclusive]

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News reports on Apple founder Steve Wozniak dissing the new Apple iPad are everywhere. But reporter Gina Smith, who spent two years interviewing Wozniak for their book iWOZ, was suspicious. Wozniak told Gina today it just isn’t true. Find his full comments here. aNewDomain exclusive.

aNewDomain — When my colleague David Street shared a now-viral UK media story reporting Steve Wozniak’s disappointment in the new Apple iPad yesterday — the report included a variety of direct Wozniak quotes deriding the latest iPad — I did a double take.

You see, I know Steve’s way of speaking. I spent nearly two years interviewing Wozniak three times a week for our book and Wozniak’s memoir, iWOZ: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It.

So when I read that report this week, I just emailed him and asked if he actually said what UK and U.S. news stories claim. And if he didn’t, what did he actually think about the Apple iPad?

And if the reports were wrong, how did that happen?

Here’s what Wozniak told me in a series of emails today …

In the first response to my question, he wrote:

 I never criticized the new iPads. I think they are fine. I don’t think you have a choice between iPad models so that’s just saying that the iPad is good … that’s a very different statement (and contrary to the implication) that, if I chose not to upgrade now, less than a year after my last upgrade, then I, Woz, am saying that the new Apple iPad is bad.”

Reporters were to blame, he told me. In Wozniak’s experience, the UK press has shown itself to be “the worst in the world for mischaracterizing what I say.” Wozniak also wrote via email today:

 I’m sure I even started this interview, before a single question, (by) telling them that this was my feeling and experience with (UK)  press but … I’d answer questions and be honest (in the interview) anyway. Some of the headlines (I saw as a result of that first interview) were very wrong — saying that I did not like the new iPad or (that I) didn’t think highly of it … though the headlines on the (UK and other) articles … make such a determination sound correct at first glance.”

But it isn’t correct. Here’s what Wozniak told me he actually meant when he told reporters he wasn’t planning to run out and buy the latest Apple iPad. He wrote:

I don’t buy every Apple upgrade. I love my iPad and I use it a lot … but the new one wasn’t enough of a critical change to get my money. I did not upgrade to the retina iPad back when. But when the retina iPad went to 128 GB of SSD, I did upgrade … because that helped me. By the way, I did upgrade to the new MacBook Pro. I ordered mine online. It’s a tiny thing but the upgrade from three quarters of a TB to 1TB of SSD made the difference for me. Once, I had a MacBook Pro with many tens of gigabytes available get bricked by some upgrade … (all) because it didn’t have enough spare storage room. So I don’t want to be close to full on (storage, ever).” 

And there you have it. That’s Steve Wozniak’s story on the new Apple iPad — and the Macbook Pro — and we’re both sticking to it. For aNewDomain.net, I’m Gina Smith.

Gina Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s memoir, ” iWOZ: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It”. (W.W. Norton, 2005/2007/2012). With John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle, she is editorial director at aNewDomain.net. Email her at gina@aNewDomain.net, check out her Google + stream here or follow her @ginasmith888.

Disclosure: Gina Smith derives direct profit from sales of iWoz but holds no financial interest in Apple or any other tech company, as per aNewDomain’s ethical guidelines.

Cover image: Provided by Gina Smith. Photo credit: Carter Dow

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. A former correspondent for ABC News, Gina is the co-founder and editorial director of aNewDomain Media. Email Gina at gina@anewdomain.net and find her on Twitter @ginasmith888

25 Comments

  • Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, Steve. It’s great I was able to help you set the record straight. I KNEW that sounded nothing like you. Sorry you were so horribly misquoted … let me know if you want to add more to this story!

    • Can you please give us the full conversation, I really don’t like you putting in little quotes like “the worst in the world for mischaracterizing what I say.” are really frustrating when you don’t give any background to them.

    • Don’t forget to put Amazon links into the body copy.

      We’ve got to sell a few more books before I can afford a new iPad.

  • I don’t understand the idea behind this. Gossip is just that and should be ignored. Writing about it seems like some sort of irony. And yes, its ironic that I am writing about it as well.

    • These things matter because they affect people’s perception of the subject/device being discussed. That in turn can affect sales, etc.

      Soy g’s, what he says does matter, and getting it incorrect is a disservice to him, and to the company.

  • Why no links or quotes from the original articles that you and him are disputing? That’s so lame and unprofessional, it makes me think he did say those things and this is just an attempt at damage control.

        • Journalists covering journalists — boring stuff. I chose not to point to the UK articles that were going viral. Not in keeping with ethical guidelines. Everyone saw Steve’s comments, as picked up by US media, against the iPad. The point was to let Steve tell his side of the story. Not to slam our fellow journalists.

          I agree with Ian. Why feed the trolls — or sloppy journalism.

          As for Owen, the reason I put parens in is because that is what is necessary to provide a clean direct quote.

          As for William Stuart, I suggest … Google. Too busy over here to deal with stuff you could easily look up. Ask something difficult.

    • Yeah, the article feels really amateurish when reading it, I asked the author to try and send a link to the original article but she’s ignored me so far… Seems quite weird.

      • William — aka Camfella — amateurish or amateur.

        Precision is the essence of good writing, my man : )
        Take a deep breath and move on …

  • “I’m sure I even started this interview, before a single question, (by) telling them that this was my feeling and experience with (UK) press but … I’d answer questions and be honest (in the interview) anyway. Some of the headlines (I saw as a result of that first interview) were very wrong — saying that I did not like the new iPad or (that I) didn’t think highly of it … though the headlines on the (UK and other) articles … make such a determination sound correct at first glance.”

    Can you not just quote him without adding your own bits? They didn’t add anything especially considering the topic of the article…

  • If Woz had any common sense, or even any sense of common decency, he would not be sounding off on every little thing Apple does. We know the reporters are to blame for asking an irrelevant person dumb questions just to get hits on the headline, and we know it is difficult to refuse a request made by a pretty face, but Woz should know that if someone says he thinks a certain upgrade is not worth buying, it would not be misrepresentation to characterize that as a criticism, particularly if that person is assumed (incorrectly in this case) to have some inside knowledge.

    Come on Woz, GROW UP.