Gadget addict Woz will line up for iPhone 3G

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak said he'll be waiting in line overnight to buy an iPhone 3G.

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak will be in line all Thursday night to buy an iPhone 3G, but he said most of his friends with the original device aren't ponying up for the new one.

Even the inventor of the first Apple computer doesn't have the new handset yet, though he said he's held one in his hand. Wozniak told an audience at the Social Networking Conference in San Francisco that he'll be waiting along with others at Valley Fair shopping center in San Jose. But he said it was more a matter of gadget lust.

"A little faster downloading of Web pages, and it has a GPS [Global Positioning System] chip built in. But, you know, these aren't, like, break-the-bank items," Wozniak said. "A lot of the people I know just aren't going to upgrade yet. I always like to have the latest and the greatest."

Wozniak does have hope that the iPhone will help bring Apple into enterprises, where the company has yet to gain a foothold despite gaining market share in notebooks and high-end desktop computers for consumers.

"It has all the security functions, now, to work with Microsoft Exchange, and I think that'll be a first little step in," Wozniak said.

The key to the iPhone's success is the same as for other Apple products, according to Wozniak: hands-on design and subtle details.

"When I did all my stuff with the Apple designs, I was always a designer for a market of one. Here is what will do exactly what I want," Wozniak said. "I think Steve Jobs works very much from that philosophy. Skip a lot of market research and just be in the market yourself and know exactly what's right."

Wozniak was warmly welcomed by attendees at the two-day conference in San Francisco even though he admitted he doesn't know much about social networking. He said he has used sites like Facebook, but that his own notoriety has been a crutch.

"I get 30 invitations a day," Wozniak said. "I realized that it's exploding. The more I said yes to, the more people are trying to get me to be their friend, too, and it's a real problem. ... It's not like I have time to really participate in these things, because all day long I'm trying to say no or yes to them."

The 57-year-old Wozniak remembered ham radios and computer bulletin boards as an early form of social networking for geeks when he was young, but said the revolution he helped create has opened a divide between his generation and today's children.

"They're so good at games, I think, 'Oh my gosh, they have different brains or something.' They just learn these games so quickly, and we of our generation just can't really learn them," Wozniak said. "The world must look very different to them. It'd be nice to be there, but we got to see it happen."

The iPhone 3G is already available in Australia.

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
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