Call Steve Wozniak the anti-Steve Jobs. He’s far nerdier than Jobs ever was; he’s not a polished presenter; he has a zillion passions beyond Apple (Segway Polo, anyone?); and nobody’s ever going to spend any time worrying that he’s looking gaunt. But Woz was at least as important to Apple’s success in the 1970s and early 1980s as Jobs, and therefore hugely important to Apple as it exists today–since there might never have been an Apple that existed for more than a year or two if it weren’t for the genius of Woz’s Apple II design.
And even though Steve Jobs skipped this year’s Macworld Expo, Steve Wozniak didn’t. He did a demo of the Modbook, the modified touch-screen Mac tablet which is manufactured by Axiotron, a company whose board he recently joined. Woz’s demo of the Modbook was preceded by 20 minutes of presentation by Axiotron’s CEO, who gave a straightforward walkthrough of the product assisted by PowerPoint (er, Keynote) slides and who seemed to have problems with the booth’s amplification system. But Axiotron shoulda reversed things and put Woz onstage first, since his geeky glee in the Modbook was a far more potent sales tool than anything a CEO could say. And even if he’d had audio troubles (he didn’t) you would have been able to tell how much he liked the thing.