Steve Wozniak may have co-founded Apple and remains a major shareholder, but he tends to tell it like it is. In a new interview with Dutch-language newspaper De Telegraaf he gave an opinion that'd likely make his old pal (and current Apple CEO) Steve Jobs blow a fuse -- he thinks Android will win the smartphone war.
Woz made a comparison we often make -- Android for smartphones is a lot like Microsoft's Windows on PCs in its approach. Mr. Wozniak comments that while the iPhone isn't for everyone, Android is more of an OS for the masses.
He didn't only have kind words for Android, though. He also admonished the platform for lack of quality consistency, which he says is similar to Windows in its early days. He did predict, though, that Android OS eventually be on par with iOS by his standard.
He states, "The Apple phone has very few weaknesses. True complaints and problems are not. (sic) When it comes to quality, iPhone is leading. Apple has the direction for the entire world. Android phones have more features."
He also predicted that despite being late to the smartphones game, Nokia would turn around its fortunes and make smartphones that appeal to young consumers.
Apple's early success with the iPhone, he said, came thanks to a perfect storm of breakthroughs in screen, battery, software, and manufacturing technology and memory. He says that as a result the iPhone was in "first place" for two years (apparently disregarding Nokia's offerings as true smartphones).
And he reveals a previously unknown fact that's pretty fascinating. According to him, Apple collaborated with a mystery Japanese consumer electronics company (cough Sony?) to make a smartphone in 2004. While the company was satisfied with the quality, it wanted to wait for something more impressive and thus didn't release the iPhone until 2007.
Mr. Wozniak says this was a wise decision. He states, "Apple was satisfied with the quality but wanted something that could surprise the world. If Apple comes with a new product it must have a real breakthrough. Companies need to wait to capture a market until they have something extremely strong. A new product was separated from the rest of the group should be developed. In addition, developers must depart from beaten paths."
That revelation is mighty interesting indeed. How might the market look today if Apple had released its phone in 2004 and gained a 5 year lead on Google? We will never know, but it's fascinating to think about.