UPDATE: Woz now says he was misquoted by De Telegraaf, and offers direct clarification of his statements over at Engadget. He says he never meant to suggest that Android was better than iOS, just that it seemed to possibly be on track to overtake Apple’s OS in terms of market share “based on what [he's] read.”
Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder and worldwide technology celebrity, predicts that Android will dominate iOS before long. Wozniak, speaking to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, shared his thoughts on various topics in his usual candid manner, but the Android/iOS war was front and center throughout.
First, Wozniak revealed that, as many speculated at the time, Apple was working on a phone product as early as 2004 (well before the iPhone’s 2007 release). The product, developed with the help of a popular Japanese electronics company, wasn’t game-changing enough for Apple’s high standards. According to Wozniak (in translation from TechCrunch):
Apple was satisfied with the quality of the smartphone but wanted something it could amaze the world with. When Apple releases products, they need to be groundbreaking. Companies should hold off on entering markets until they have a seriously compelling product to offer. Products like that need to be be [sic] developed in isolation from the rest of the company, and it requires developers to steer clear from paths already traveled.
While Wozniak still feels the iPhone is the superior product on the market, he also acknowledges it’s not for everyone, due to the closed nature of the operating system and iTunes dependency. He appreciates the broader range of options that Android affords users.
Wozniak sees the relationship between iOS and Android as similar to that between Mac and Windows, respectively. In light of that comparison, Wozniak acknowledges the problems in consistency, quality, and user satisfaction that Android faces, but thinks they’ll be overcome to match and eventually dominate iOS as Windows did the computer market.
The faith Wozniak seems to have in Google being able remedy its shortcomings (and the inferred lack of faith in Apple to do the same) probably won’t be too well-received by Steve Jobs as the Google/Apple battle continues to heat up. But at least when the “wonderful wizard of Woz” speaks, he never disappoints.
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