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Steve Wozniak: Apple lags behind in the smartphone business

Steve Wozniak in the early days -- with an Apple 1 board.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a warning for Apple: Watch out for the competition. 

In an interview with the German business publication Wirtschaftswoche published yesterday, Wozniak spoke on a variety of Apple-related topics, but when the conversation turned to smartphones, was openly critical.

Wozniak said that he is proud that Apple has such loyal fans, but noted that loyalty also has to be maintained and confirmed by launching great products. He continued: "In my opinion Apple is currently lagging behind in terms of features. Others have caught up with us. Samsung is a great competitor simply because they are making great products at the moment."

Wozniak is well-known gadget geek who isn't afraid to try mobile devices of all makes and brands. He remains an Apple employee and shareholder to this day, but it's nice to see him keep an open mind about which gadgets and devices he is using. 

In the interview, he also shared that he still feels Apple's current product lineup is worth waiting in line for: 

"The launch of a new Apple product is like a big important concert for me where you have to be in person. It is history. Certainly, I could order online or ask the store manager to let me in through the back door, but that wouldn't be the same. No, I want to have the same experience as any customer. But one thing is certain: I would not stand in line if Apple made lousy products." 


Total comments: 36

Where was Samsung before iPhone? If iPhone wasn't the game changer back in 2007, we were still using symbian phones lol.

Lars Rehm

Certainly true but it's 2013 now...


All of my friends have iPhones ... I'm the oldest of our gang, with the oldest eyes, so I went with the Samsung Galaxy Note II (from the previous big-screen winner, the Evo.) It only seems huge for a couple of days ... then everthing else appears undersized. The AMOLED screen stands up against any iPhone, period. Battery life? All day, with very heavy use (including <embarrassment> Words with Friends </embarrassment>.)
For what I do, I need nothing that I don't have already. People keep talking about a zillion Apple apps, but what you you really NEED for, say, business?
I agree with Woz ... my friends upgrade their iPhones regularly (along with their "fellow travellers") and are hard pressed to tell me what's new that justifies the expense, besides just being a member of the club.


Zonoskar why would they loose retina effect on biggger phone? The original sized iPad is now retina display and so is the 13in Macbook Pro. As far as a user's rating goes, I went from an iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 5. I have a love/hate relationship with new phone. I love the camera including the flash but the touch response of the screen is finicky. Yesterday the sound wouldn't work on the map when directions were requested. Sometimes I don't get texts for hours after someone sends it to me.Only 5 months old - thinking about taking it to Apple store and complaining about all the issues.


If you increase screen size without increasing the resolution, the ppi-number becomes lower. If the ppi sinks below 300, Apple no longer can call it retina because they touted this number as being what retina is all about. Apple cannot arbitrarily increase the display resolution (to maintain 300 ppi with a slightly larger screen) because that would mean ugly scaling or black borders around old apps.

Edited 15 seconds after posting
liquid stereo

Can someone please point out some of the great features that the non-Apple smart phones possess or have brought to the market/user-space?


1 upvote

Apple needs to:
-include NFC
-support Qi Wireless charging
-add multiple screen size and resolutions
-stop being anal about their market policies
-add optical image stabilization in the camera
-add optional SD card
-include wacom digitizer
-introduce user-themes
-allow MP3 ringtones from music library
-allow customization of ringtones for everything (like SMS, whatsapp, alarm, etc).

Need I go on?

What Apple really, really needs to do is extend iOS 7 with the ability to support different resolutions. This will open up whole new possibilities for Apple. They cannot make the iPhone any larger because they will loose the retina effect. They also (probably) cannot double the resolution in each direction and only increase the screen size to e.g. 4.3" with a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect because fullHD is currently only feasible on 5" screens, 2272x1280 on anything smaller than 5" would be a challenge. And if Apple only offered a 5.5" device for everyone, I think they would loose a lot of sales.

Edited 8 minutes after posting
liquid stereo

Really? This is the fantastic stuff that others have brought to the marketplace???

1 upvote

Oh, come on. Get an android and see for yourself. Some things have already been listed, I can add some more.
Widgets, HDR & HDR video (see xperia Z), Google Now predictive assistant, seamless integration with Google services (and in particular Picasa and G+ for sharing photos), google drive, cloud printing, turn by turn navigator with realtime traffic and road works information, completely customizable interface, lockscreen may contain widgets, abiilty to activate camera directly from lockscreen, face recognition unlock, lower price with same or better hardware and storage capacity and there are many things more.
The iPhone has been a great revolution, no doubt, but now it's really lagging behind when it comes to features.


For me, the quad-core processing, larger 5" screen with true HD (1080p, only phone with it) of the Droid DNA was more than enough.

Edited 1 minute after posting

Android has brought lower prices and more choices into the smartphone market. Failure to lower prices as technology matures has consequences. Who's dominating the current smartphone market is yesterday's concern. Growing the smartphone market is the new thing, and last quarter, Android was running on over a third of all phones (not just smartphones) sold worldwide. Lower prices are key to converting phone market share to smartphone market share.

Edited 57 seconds after posting

Apple zealot head explodes when challenged by reality

1 upvote

liquid stereo -- did you have others in grade school write the homework for you and now you are playing the same card?
Because I simply don't believe you are that stupid.
Android as of 4.1 is 1+ years ahead of iOS in EVERY single aspect. There is simply no contest. It is as simple as that, how can I spell it out even more clearly.
Of course, if one is an iSheep, one can close his/her ears and sing la-la-la. Many do.


Android 4.1 is one year ahead of iOS in every single aspect? LMAO... it clearly is not.

I still don't get the hype about NFC, all of the phones I used had this feature but I used it like zero times. Never seen one use it too, it's like a QR code, sounds cool, looks cool but no one actually uses it.

Edited 13 seconds after posting

The usual bluntness for which he is famous.
If SJ were still alive he would call him up, Woz would take some of it back and all would be good.
Now maybe he won't take it back but it won't bring down Apple either.
In any case, I would say he's right about what he says, some fanboys won't like it but still it's true.

1 upvote

It's hard to make blanket statement - and we can all pick on little issues, but in general I think he is right and I give him heaps of credit for actually talking bad about Apple - it seems in business as in politics we would rather baffle with bullpucky than deal with reality - which in the end only ruins your brand and your company (but in the short term it might look like the thing to do) - companies deal with the long term in reality, although not in "their" reality - to it's ultimate demise.

As Woz says "Samsung is a great" company - it is at this time - and it's amazing it's growth from '85 when I was in Korea - but it will die down as some other hungry company comes along - guarateed.


Since the iPAD Apple has not brought anything exciting to the market anymore. They now started to administrate their heritage.
Jobs was a fanatic, and he made Apple the Ersatz church for nerds, but at least he was successful. Now Apple goes the way every company goes: More of the same, new model with "200 new software changes" every 12 months and that's it.

I briefly had the 4S, sold it after a week, and got the "Note 2". Haven't looked back. Screen is large enough to read everything, and the Note does everything I need.

Apple can still raise their sales volume because they push into giant markets like China, but in the western world they left their peak already behind.

Digital Suicide

"Samsung is a great competitor simply because they are making great products at the moment."

Not agreed. Samsung is going ridiculous oversizing everything they make. Samsungs marketing is going through, speed, quantity and size, but not quality.


"Samsung is going ridiculous oversizing everything they make."

...and yet, I have been benefiting from a 7" tab for about 3 years now, first with the original SGT and now with the amazing 7.7, while it was Apple who had to wait for the "7"-nay-sayer" to physically disappear before they allow themselves to offer a smaller iPad...Go figure!


Do you imagine there is less slave labour in other manufacturer's supply chains?

Tech is a dirty, dirty business: Apple are just a good brand to make an example of.

Cacophonic Visions

Good to make an example of because they willfully hide it and only even claim to try to do something about it when they get caught.

As far as quality goes, needing to use a case that triples the phone's size to keep it from shattering from a waist-level drop screams flimsy to me. There is no real quality in anything apple makes anymore, just overpriced, obsolete, slave built trash.


Apple is unfortunately a dying beast, the life cycle continues. And in terms of build quality, the ipad seems very well made, the iPhone has the ergonomics of a frozen audio cassette, and their laptops are flimsy and delicate. There is no reason for their laptops to be made of a solid piece of aluminum other than design elitism. Apple is a software company at its core, and they have created physical housings for their software that is neither practical or financially accessible to most of the world. Technology is amazing and it should be used to further the greatness of humanity by striving to allow access to under served populations. Apple is much like the private university system in the US, essentially marketing something which should be inexpensive (software/ knowledge) to the chosen few who can afford the buy in costs (exorbitant tuition/expensive physical design).


Anyone who has an aluminum MacBook older than 3 years will notice the warping of the materials and general breakdown and deterioration of the materials. Meanwhile my girlfriend has a 7 year old plastic shelled dell that maintains its physical form. (But the software sucks)

photo perzon

The only thing Wozniak should do is buy knee pads and use them daily while thanking God that his luck brought an average skill programmer into the right place time and time again. Lucky lucky average Woz. Oh his opinions on knee pads are welcome. On Apple stuff he is some 30 years past competence.


A little harsh dude...The fact is that few innovations or innovators are "the best at certain skills" - only Hollywood and advertising says so - and few can do it over and over again. Give "poor" Woz a break as I am sure his easily competent enough to tell you that you are full of crap as he is actually involved in tech still and as myself being more of a "nerd" I know that without 100's of Woz's Steve Jobs would have amounted to much less.


Lol. haters got to hate.
Woz is not/was never a programmer, he was the hardware hacker with more than average skill.
Safe to say but without Woz there would be no Apple today.


I guess that it is Jobs who should thank God that he found someone who was able to build a computer, otherwise he wouldn't have had anything to sell. Then, with the money made from Apple and AppleII, he could buy the Xerox labs user interface that was later used in the Macintosh. And that's where Wozniak suddendly became useless. In any case, Jobs has been only a (very) good entrepreneur, able to sell other people's ideas and work. So I'd say that, between Woz and Jobs, it's 50% each.


I knew they had stopped innovating the first day I spent with my iphone 5 (upgraded from a 3Gs). I gained nothing of use in the 5 and was sorry I got it. 6 months later I got a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 out of frustration and boredom with the 5 and looked forward to learning the Android OS, but there were too many problems so I returned it and was actually happy to get back to the 5. Apple needs to allow Flash, make it bigger and give us removable storage and a replaceable battery - then they will be on a more equal playing field (although Android doesn't support Flash anymore either, however you can find old versions that you can install on the Samsung which do work fine, for now at least)

Edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote

You are correct - although Andriod's support of flash is not a reflection on flash, but the fact the Apples body slam on flash essentially killed it on the web - so why work on supporting it in new versions of anything? Sorry to say as all the good things about flash were a threat to Apples control of iOS... And it was flash, Macromedia, and now it's owner Adobe that kept apple alive for 10 years working in every graphics department. I am pretty sure apple would not be where it was today without all that support over the years from Adobe and the graphics community - ALL a mute point now...

1 upvote

The Woz had publically stated a number of times how much he likes the new Microsoft Windows 8 phones.

1 upvote
Joe Ogiba

I have many Apple products but my current phone is the Verizon HTC Droid DNA with 5" 1080p display (441ppi) , wireless charging and beats audio that sounds better than any mobile music player I have tried with my Etymotic Research ER-4P earbuds. Back in June 2010 when the iPhone 4 came out I thought it was ahead of Android phones but today I think they lost the advantage they had back then. The iPhone 5 is the best 4" phone but I think the 5" 1080p display will be the standard soon in premium smartphones like the coming Samsung Galaxy S4.

Edited 10 minutes after posting

A significant portion of the iPhone popularity is the smaller size.
No one is arguing that a larger screen isn't great, but when it results in a device that is almost larger than your hand it begins to impact the devices portability.
If Apple increases the size of the iPhone it will negatively impact sales of existing users more than it benefits from the number of 'new' customers - Apple knows this.
They do need to 'open' the device more however and simply bite-the-bullet in licensing to include other technologies and software like Adobe Flash and 3rd party apps integration with the OS.


As much as I respect Woz as the ultimate geek. He is not much of a visionary. What he did in the interview is simply pointing out the obvious. Apple is losing market share to Samsung, and Android in general.


That is obvious although they haven't really started lowering their prices to compete - and they have the highest profit margin out there. It will be interesting to see how things play out. They really screwed up in Oct when the news said "Samsung Galaxy is the #1 phone" that gave Samsung way more market credit as if you added up the iphone 4 & 5 sales - essentially the same product - they beat Samsung. Not defending Apple, but this "top of the hill" for being .01% higher news environment is rediculous.

1 upvote

Yeah sure... just jealousy from another Android fan-boy, Apple hater... oh wait I guess that doesn't apply. :-)

Total comments: 36
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