The Woz: Apple has fallen ‘somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business’

By , Feb 7, 2013

Steve Wozniak (iPhone 5 launch, Apple Store Brisbain)

One needs not ask Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak twice to comment on Apple’s moves. For better or worse, he always makes headlines, sometimes by dissing Siri or the iPhone 4S battery life and other times by firing pot shots at Apple for not building a phablet of its own. Speaking at the Business Week Best Brand Awards yesterday, the Apple employee #1 discussed the iPhone, Samsung and competition.

Though an Apple loyalists, Woz isn’t gullible and certainly doesn’t shy away from confessing that competition has caught up with Apple. Other vendors did pass the iPhone in certain features and Samsung, he says, is a big competitor now.

In fact, he openly says that the South Korean conglomerate currently makes “great products”. But worry not: the top geek loves the company he co-founded and “if Apple made lousy products, I would not be in line”. Jump past the fold for other noteworthy quotes and a nice video…

MacRumors passes along a Wiwo.de report.

In case you were wondering, Wozniak proclaimed himself an Apple loyalist:

I am proud that we have such loyal fans. But this loyalty is not given, the need to have the best products is always there.

However, competition has caught up with Apple, he warns:

Currently we are in my opinion somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business. Others have caught up. Samsung is a big competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products.

Competition benefits us all and if the rumors are true, survival in the cell phone space is about to get a whole lot tougher.

Korean site Digital Daily reports that Samsung may add a new feature to its upcoming Galaxy S IV smartphone that will allow for non-touch gesture-based navigation throughout the operating system, ignoring unintended touches and also requiring significantly less power than before.

samsung-galaxy-s4-concept

Previous reports claimed the Galaxy S IV will include a five-inch full HD display, a 1.8GHz eight-core Exnoys 5 Octa processor with 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera, wireless charging, LTE, NFC and more.

The device is seen building an iPhone-like hype ahead of a rumored March introduction.

As for himself standing in the line, Wozniak explains:

The launch of a new Apple product is for me like a big, major concert which you absolutely must attend personally. It’s history. Sure, I could order online or call the store manager so that they smuggled me in the back door.

But that would be nothing. No, I will have the experience like any normal customer. But one thing is certain. If Apple made lousy products, I would not be in line.

The Apple engineer re-iterated how the company from its inception focused on milking the premium segment of the market rather than blindly pursuing market share.

He acknowledged that Steve Jobs’s passing was bad news for Apple on many levels and opined it’s still too early to tell how the company will do without its iconic founder for “it usually takes at least two years to come up with fresh things”.

The ultimate geek, Woz is currently traveling around the world and giving lectures about his experience as an Apple founder, entrepreneur and engineer. Plus, he’s also a chief scientist at storage startup Fusion-io.

Do read the whole interview if you have time (Google Translate is your friend), there’s tons more other quotes and interesting observations.

Woz also talked last week at the Georgia Insitute of Technology about emerging technologies like self-driving cars, natural language recognition, AI machines akin to IBM’s Watson and more.

Here, check out a few short clips that just went live on YouTube.

And your two cents?

Has Apple really fallen “somewhat behind” in smartphones or is Wozniak exaggerating?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1496513068 Zach Krase

    i agree, just look at how many people jailbreak, whats the main reason? better features.

    • Christophe

      But don’t forget that the jailbreak will make your iOS device bug

      • http://twitter.com/PhilBeez86 U Kn0w What 1t 1s

        Ya if u pirate your apps. U must have never jailbroken legallybefore. I’ve spent around $100 on tweaks and mods and my phones (4s & i5) arent buggy at all. I show the people the way my phone works so fluently and it convinces non jail breakers to want to jailbreak. Get informed before making blind comments because u just sound stupid right now.

      • http://twitter.com/asafmoraz Asaf Moraz

        I totaly agree with u :)

      • Lordthree

        More likely to get buggy with cydia tweaks than regular pirated apps

      • Qiren_94

        My iPhone is jailbroken with around 27 tweaks installed and it still works well.

  • Obsidian71

    Define “falling behind” – without any supporting commentary it’s a fruitless exercise.

  • jorith

    I have to agree, apple is still great, but it does need to step up its game!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arif-Qureshi/1506297924 Arif Qureshi

    Apple need same magic like in 2007 when steve job introduce iphone. Total different look with more features

  • jordandev

    On the hardware side other manufacturers making giant phones so you they can cram in more powerful hardware doesn’t mean Apple is falling behind. They could have done that as well but that is not what they are about. Any of this hype about the Galaxy S IV is unfounded as we will have to wait and see exactly what Samsung brings to the table.

    On the software side sure there are a few things that could have more customization allowed or better cross communication between apps and such but iOS is still more polished. Android has made some great strides to come closer but Apple falling behind is way over-exaggerated.

    • Obsidian71

      We’ve seen this same battle play out. There are people that care only for the hardware. They are the ones that want huge phones and quad core mobile processing. Then there are the software fans that love well crafted User Interfaces and conservative and stable software. I think Android users are dominant in the former group while Apple fans are in the latter group.

      • jordandev

        Plus Android fans were forced into the former group because they needed much faster hardware to even have a hope of having smooth performance out of Android.

        Bigger screens are a different (somewhat valid) issue altogether.

      • Obsidian71

        Bigger screens are important for a subset of the public. I’m not buying into the hype that “everyone” wants a huge phone. The Galaxy SIII is just one of many Samsung phones.

        The only area that Apple is behind that I can see is in sharing of data. iCloud and the way apps are sandboxed has made app sharing more difficult. I suspect they’ll have a solution for us within the next couple of years that meets security goals while remaining easy to use and flexible.

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    If Apple open up iOS like it does for OSX there would be less & less tweaks need from Jailbreaking. Apple should & could allow users to install custom profiles than does specific things for your iDevice. Example: Onavo Extend is a app that save you minutes on your data plan by installing a profile into your iDevice. It uses VPN to connected to Onavo servers to compress your data.

  • http://twitter.com/kennyyan88 kenny yan

    Come on,jailbreak is not a crime !!also is not a like taking drug…people please understand what jailbreak mean for IPhone ..I totally agree some comments said “more features “

  • http://www.facebook.com/fourinchworld Michael Scott Allen

    yawn. If only he was relevant anymore.

    • Tr1pTr0p

      Right, as if someone’s relevance makes their statements less meaningful and less true.

  • Well_Said

    I’ve been an avid iphone user since 2008. This year if nothing new in iOS is offered Like IntelliX, bitSms, Zepyer and Auxo features, I’m saying goodbye to Apple. I am fed up having to wait to jailbreak my iphone all the time.

  • http://twitter.com/GtotheFO G

    *yawn*

    This guy is obviously salty from his relationship with Apple, always looking for an opportunity to to voice a negative opinion towards them. You want an iphone phablet? Well thank god you don’t work there anymore.

    • you_fook

      Technically speaking you can turn the iPad Mini into a phablet with Voip calling. It’s not practical, but doable. And actually he is still part time employed at Apple, and he is a shareholder. And I believe something can only get better with negative feedback, if you only received positive feedback would you improve anything? Probably not.

      • http://twitter.com/GtotheFO G

        Negative feedback is not the same as constructive feedback. Dude is and has been seeking attention

  • Daniel

    He was always weird. Maybe he did something in the early days, but now he sounds like someone too desperate.

    Apple could not be always the most innovative. They have lack of creativity after Steve’s passing. We all know that. Back in the 2007 they had the best device on the market and average profits (in comparison with today). Now their profits are breaking records, but they started to sell ordinary* phone. That’s circle.

  • Hyr3m

    “Somewhat behind” ? That’s a “somewhat” huge fucking understatement !

  • m3nphls

    Wozniak is a punk trying to get media attention. Why does he even bother? there’s a reason he is not a part of Apple anymore.

    • you_fook

      Wozniak remains an employee of Apple and receives a stipend, estimated to be USD$120k per year. He is also an Apple shareholder. Dumbass, he left on his own accord.

  • http://twitter.com/Antonio14_ Antonio Latte

    Wozniak is stupid, he just sit an say shut about apple because he is not there a jobs send him to shit, go get a life fat guy.