William Shatner’s “Star Trek” character led the USS Enterprise, but Friday night the actor didn’t lead the way when it came to knowing about one of the most iconic devices of our time.

It happened at the first-ever Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose, California. The event is the brainchild of Steve Wozniak, the electronics genius who co-founded Apple and managed to attract guests to this weekend’s event as influential and diverse as Astro Teller (the head of Google’s moonshot division) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) to speak and sign autographs at the show.

But Friday night was all about William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk. And during a question-and-answer session with the actor, Shatner started by introducing his host as the inventor of the Apple iPhone.

Steve Wozniak takes the mic.

Sean Hollister/CNET

“Can you imagine inventing the iPhone?” Shatner asked the crowd, suggesting that Wozniak’s accomplishments far surpassed his own. But while Woz did single-handedly design the very first Apple computer — the Apple 1, built in 1976 — he left the company a full 22 years before the iPhone was announced. I couldn’t help shaking my head in disbelief that Shatner didn’t know. Looking around the room, it seemed I wasn’t the only one.

Then, Shatner announced he wanted to embarrass Woz by having the Apple co-founder — a longtime Shatner fan — ask him a question in front of the packed house.

If you’ve ever met Wozniak, you’ll know he’s one of the most approachable celebrities you can imagine. He’s a humble, down-to-earth guy who simply loves his gadgets, and always seems surprised by the fact that he’s a celebrity at all.

On Friday evening, he genuinely didn’t seem ready to have a conversation with Shatner in front of the huge audience. Woz couldn’t come up with a question on the spot. I sat 5 feet away from him, and I watched the sweat drip down his brow.

But Woz kept his cool, and as a result, we witnessed a thrilling, awkward and genuine standoff between two of the world’s greatest geek heroes. The L.A. Explorer captured the whole thing on video.

The rest of the evening showed Shatner can be humble and approachable, too. Instead of regaling the audience with prepared jokes, he spent the rest of the evening taking questions from fans in and out of costume, including a number of young boys and girls.

“There won’t be any glasses in the near future,” he told one spectacled 13-year-old girl. “The awe and wonder of science and invention could be yours.”

Silicon Valley Comic Con runs this weekend, March 18-20, at the San Jose Convention Center.

William Shatner honored the Woz during his Silicon Valley Comic Con panel, just for an accomplishment he had no part of.

Sean Hollister/CNET


William Shatner mistakes Steve Wozniak as an inventor of the iPhone – CNET