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Why Apple’s co-founder loves the Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo
Source: Amazon
Why Apple’s co-founder is in love with Amazon Echo
Why Apple’s co-founder is in love with the Echo

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is fired up about a hot new tech gadget — and it isn't an Apple product.

"I'm excited right now about the Amazon Echo, oddly enough," Wozniak told CNBC this week. "I think it's the next big platform for the near future if I'm right."

Wozniak, who is hosting Silicon Valley's first-ever Comic Con starting March 18 in San Jose, California, sat down with CNBC to talk about the event and the ways technology and culture influence one another. In a wide-ranging interview on everything from virtual reality's mass-market potential to Apple's battle with the FBI, Wozniak revealed that Amazon's voice-activated personal assistant has become a key fixture in his home.

Steve Wozniak
Michael Newberg | CNBC

"It's just become such a wonderful part of our life, not having to lift anything up and speak to things, and just speak to it anywhere across a room," he said. "That is such a luxury and freedom."

Amazon describes the Echo, which launched to the public last June, as "hands-free and always on." The device, which sells for $179.99, can be used to get "information, music, news and weather from across the room," according to Amazon.

Wozniak's passion for the Echo, and for Apple's virtual assistant Siri, centers on his frustration over the constantly changing nature of apps. "I fell in love with speaking because I hate to memorize … because you know how apps change, they change it this year and things you memorize don't work the same."

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Rather than navigating a confusing app landscape, Wozniak said that when he has a question or needs to complete a task, he finds it easier to just speak it out loud to his Echo.

You can just say, 'Get me an Uber,' and it does ... you can say, 'Get me some paper towels,' and if it knows your last order on Amazon, it orders it right there," he said. Wozniak said he ordered his second Echo by telling his first Echo to "order me an Echo."

Wozniak isn't the only person excited about the device. In December, Amazon said the Echo was the best-selling item across all $100-plus products on Black Friday.

When asked whether he's an investor in Amazon, Wozniak said, "I don't do stocks," adding, "I just like technology when it's useful for people."