Daily Archives: 01/19/2012

Steve Wozniak wishes his iPhone were as cool as an Android phone

As co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak will always love Apple like a child, but that doesn’t mean he has to always love everything about every Apple product. Woz has had an iPhone since the day it came out and will likely continue to get every new iPhone, but he recently admitted that while he thinks the iPhone is still the best overall smartphone, there are so many ways in which Android is leaps and bounds ahead.

“My primary phone is the iPhone,” Woz says. “I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do.”

Woz says voice commands work better on Android. Android’s built-in navigation system, where the phone acts like a GPS system, is another advantage, he says.

Android phones aren’t as simple to use as the iPhone, but they’re not that much more complicated, and “if you’re willing to do the work to understand it a little bit, well I hate to say it, but there’s more available in some ways,” Woz says.

Woz caused a stir recently when he showed up on the Google campus to pick up a pre-release version of Google’s latest flagship phone, the Galaxy Nexus, and had his picture taken with a bunch of Googlers outside the Android development building.

As it turns out, Woz wasn’t crazy about the Galaxy Nexus—he likes the Motorola Droid Razr better—but unlike a lot of Apple bloggers and fans, Woz harbors no ill will toward Google and the Android development team.

He and Andy Rubin, the head of the Android project, are old friends. Woz was on the board of Rubin’s previous company, Danger, which made a smartphone called the Sidekick. “I’ve known Andy a long time, and I respect him a lot,” Woz says.

There’s a theory that Android could do to iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system) what Microsoft Windows did to the Macintosh in the 1990s. Microsoft triumphed because it licensed its software to many different hardware makers and ultimately had much greater market share than Apple, which would only sell its operating system on its own hardware.

In the mobile space, Apple is using the same playbook, tying its software tightly to its own hardware. And with Android, Apple is facing the same kind of foe that it once faced in Windows. “I can see the similarity,” Woz says.

Worse yet, this time, he says, Apple is up against a stronger competitor, since in his mind Windows was never a very good program, while Android actually is. “There’s not as big a difference [between iOS and Android] as there was between Mac and Windows,” he says.

The other difference involves applications. It took a long time before applications looked as good on Windows as they did on the Mac. But with Android, that’s not the case. In fact, in some ways Android might have an edge.

Woz says he recently spoke to a developer at Foursquare who said Apple’s bureaucratic approval process slows app developers down, whereas on Android, developers can get programs out faster and work on making tweaks and revisions in less time.

Then there’s Siri, Apple’s new voice-recognition software. Woz says he’s been using Siri for a long time and used to love it when it was an independent application created for the iPhone.

But ever since Apple bought Siri and built the software into the iPhone 4S, it doesn’t work as well as it used to.

“I used to ask Siri, ‘What are the five biggest lakes in California?’ and it would come back with the answer. Now it just misses. It gives me real estate listings. I used to ask, ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and it would answer. Now instead of getting prime numbers, I get listings for prime rib, or prime real estate,” Woz says.


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