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Home / News / Stephen Fry: Apple being top dog is “slightly disconcerting”

Stephen Fry: Apple being top dog is “slightly disconcerting”

The star of QI and Gadget Man talks smartphones, Apple and the joys of the Nokia Communicator

God of Twitter, Quite Interesting QI host and all-round Renaissance man Stephen Fry explores the world of tech in his new series Gadget Man, starting Monday on Channel 4. The show follows Fry as he uses gadgets to improve his day-to-day life – from off-the-shelf consumer tech to prototype products. But he’s no newcomer to gadgets – in fact, he’s the ultimate early adopter…

The BBC Micro was my first computer

“I have a memory from the early 80s of being in a shop called Laskys – they were a big high-street chain. I saw a group of kids gathered around a Micro computer, as they were called in those days, and I thought ‘I don’t know anything about these; they’re really interesting.’ So I bought a BBC Micro with a proud 32k of RAM and that just began it. I became a bit obsessed with it and spent my whole time playing around and upgrading it.”

I was the second person in Britain to have an Apple Mac

“My friend Douglas Adams was the first. Later that year I bought a laser writer printer for £7500, which was a lot of money in those days. You could’ve bought two cars for that. People thought I was insane.”

The Nokia Communicator was the first proper smartphone

“I loved it. It was a great device. I had all the different iterations of that. They were splendid; way ahead of their time. You could send and receive email on them. The Palm was the next one. The Treo 180 was a wonderful machine.”

My love for Apple is no more than a desire for things to be good

“It’s certainly not a tribal loyalty to Apple. I was an Apple fan in terms of the operating system for computers because the only alternative was Windows at a time when Windows was so bad it was almost unbelievable that they had their hand round the throat of 97% of the PC-using world. It was extraordinary. It’s even more extraordinary that Apple didn’t get off their arses and show the world how much better Macs were.”

Apple being top dog is slightly disconcerting

“It’s started to become clumsy. When you get that big every time you put your foot down you’re crushing something.”

Stephen Fry: Gadget Man is broadcast on November 19th, Channel 4 at 8:30pm. This interview was conducted in September 2010, ahead of the launch of Sky 3D.

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home