Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak may not be quite the revered figure that the deceased Steve Jobs has become, but when he talks about his former company people listen.
It's not always easy to get "The Woz" to chat about the company he helped build, but the newly permanent Australian resident spoke at length recently to The Australian Financial Review. In the far-ranging interview, the one-time Dancing with the Stars contestant offered his opinion on the Apple Watch, spoke at length about how the company should approach the auto market, and shared his thoughts on how computers may one day rule over us all.
Apple needs a car
Wozniak told AFR that he believes Apple needs to do more than just build technology for cars. He thinks that in order for the company to grow in any meaningful way, it needs to build a full-fledged automobile.
"I don't know if Apple's doing that, or if they're just working on their CarPlay apps for the dashboard of your car, but it seems like they might be hiring a lot of people who could really build a vehicle," Wozniak told the publication. "There are an awful lot of companies right now who are playing with electric cars and there's a lot more playing with self-driving cars, this is the future and it might be huge ... there are so many openings here and it is perfect territory for a company like Apple."
Apple has not announced plans to produce a car, but it has been hiring experienced auto industry executives and has lured a number of employees from Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:AAPL), the current leader in electric vehicles.
The Watch is a tough sell
While Wozniak is sold on an Apple car, he's less certain on the company's about-to-launch watch. In general, he seemed not quite convinced that any watch was worth his long-term commitment. He told AFR that he had experimented with watches from other companies, but has not found one "wrist-worthy" once the novelty wore off.
Though Woz has his doubts about all watches, he made it very clear to the publication that he would be buying the entry level Apple Watch upon its release. He was't critical of the people who would spend $10,000 or more for the high-end versions of the watch, but it clearly is not for him.
"If you buy the really high-priced ones, the jewellery ones, then you're not buying a smartwatch that has a bunch of apps ... Like a Rolex watch, you're buying if for prestige and a label and a symbol of who you are," Wozniak said. "The fact is the difference between a $10,000 watch and a $17,000 dollar watch is only the band, and for an engineer like me I don't live in that world, that's not my world."
Wozniak did leave the door open a tiny bit, telling AFR that the pricey version was not entirely out of the question.
"I'm just not going to buy it for jewellery's sake until I know it's something I'm going to want around me and on me and use every single day continually as a permanent part of my life," he said. "Then maybe I'd consider looking into getting the nicer jewellery version."
Computers may supersede humans
Though he is unsure about the prospects of the Apple Watch, Wozniak believes firmly in the power of technology. In fact, he made it clear that he thinks computers will someday be calling the shots.
"Computers are going to take over from humans, no question," Wozniak said.
He admitted to not knowing quite what the future holds, but he shared a pretty bleak view of it.
"Like people including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have predicted, I agree that the future is scary and very bad for people. If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently," Wozniak said. "Will we be the gods? Will we be the family pets? Or will we be ants that get stepped on?"
Daniel Kline owns shares of Apple. He does not wear a watch. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.