Wozniak: Tablet is the PC for 'normal people'

The iPad is what Apple was after from the start, the company's co-founder said

Tablets are the culmination of what Steve Jobs wanted to create at Apple from the beginning, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said Monday.

During a keynote session at Storage Networking World in Santa Clara, California, Wozniak was asked how tablets would change the computer industry. He compared them to TVs.

"The tablet is not necessarily for the people in this room," Wozniak told the audience of enterprise storage engineers. "It's for the normal people in the world," Wozniak said.

"I think Steve Jobs had that intention from the day we started Apple, but it was just hard to get there, because we had to go through a lot of steps where you connected to things, and (eventually) computers grew up to where they could do ... normal consumer appliance things," Wozniak said.

The garrulous Silicon Valley legend, who hasn't worked full time at Apple since the 1980s and is now chief scientist at solid-state storage vendor Fusion-io, did toss out a competitive comment about the market.

"On the subject of tablets, I read today that Android tablets are expected to surpass iPads, and I hope that never happens," Wozniak said.

As usual, Wozniak's speech barely touched on his current job, though he said he accepted the invitation to join Fusion-io because he admired its approach to innovation. Instead, he regaled the audience with tales of his Apple days and his thoughts on education, which he believes should treat math and science more like English. Instead of only rewarding the one right answer, schools should encourage new ways of thinking about those subjects, he said.

Asked why he left Apple, Wozniak said he and Jobs never had a falling out.

"We've never had an argument," he said. "We're just in different places, and we're different people." Jobs was interested in running a company, while Wozniak was and remains an engineer at heart.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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