Steve Wozniak arrived first at an Apple Store in California
Fans, along with the Apple co-founder, are waiting to buy an iPhone 4S
Wozniak has lined up for previous Apple product launches
A line began to form at the Apple Store here on the eve of the iPhone 4S release, as is often the case around the world during the company’s product launches.
At the front of this particular line Thursday, Steve Wozniak sits in a Pico armchair, sipping Diet Dr Pepper and scanning e-mails from his white iPad.
The Apple co-founder, who gets a paycheck of “a couple hundred dollars every two weeks” and still maintains his status as employee No. 1 in company records, hasn’t been able to stay put for long. Crowds of Apple fans, family friends and people who have seen him riding his Segway around the neighborhood stop to say hi, take pictures and ask for his autograph.
“I’ll be taking a thousand pictures,” Wozniak whispered with a smile. “I’m going to sit down and see if I can get a little e-mail done, because there’s no way I’m going to get it all done today.”
Seconds later, an enthusiastic man in a yellow polo shirt positioned his two kids near the computer legend and pleaded for him to pose. Wozniak immediately sprang to his feet with a grin on his face.
People brought iPhones, iPods and iPads for Wozniak to sign with a marker. “Now your phone is not going to be worth as much when you sell it,” Wozniak said to one woman before signing her iPhone 4.
Fans gave Wozniak their condolences over the late Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder who died last week. Flowers, partially eaten apples and notes were laid in front of Apple Stores around the world, including this one, where the memorial was set just a few feet from Wozniak’s spot in line.
Wozniak explained that sending flowers or onetime celebrations are the kinds of traditions he and Jobs agreed were unnecessary. However, he talked openly about how much he misses his high-school pal, with whom he built a technology empire.
Wozniak acknowledged that he could have easily made one phone call to Apple and gotten the phone he’s waiting in line for, but he didn’t. He has yet to play with an iPhone 4S or its Siri voice-controlled assistant. He has said previously that he does not ask colleagues about products in development because he does not want to ruin the surprise for himself.