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Wozniak: Android will catch up in quality, overtake iOS

updated 08:10 am EST, Thu November 18, 2010

Wozniak expects Android to match, outsell iOS

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak partly surprised the industry in a Dutch interview by arguing that Android would eventually overtake iOS in sales. He told De Telegraaf that there are "very few weaknesses" in the iPhone and there were no real complaints or problems, but it and iOS would eventually be matched in consistency, satisfaction and quality by Android. The sheer variety of devices will ultimately accommodate more people and is already seeing technical advantages emerge.

"Apple has set the direction for the entire world," Wozniak said, "[but] Android phones have more features."

Much of Apple's early lead was in combining a set of technologies ahead of anyone else, including the multi-touch screen, large amounts of flash memory, new battery technology and new manufacturing processes. The mix gave it a two-year head start.

Recent market share statistics validated part of the veteran's view, as Android is outselling the iPhone when all manufacturers are combined. Android phones have also been getting features that Apple can't or won't add, such as 3G hotspot creation, hardware keyboards, microSD storage and pseudo dual screens. Designs have also ranged from very low-end devices like the HTC Wildfire through to high-end devices like the 1.2GHz Motorola Droid 2 Global.

The early tech pioneer also confirmed that Apple had developed a phone as far back as 2004 with a "well-known Japanese consumer electronics company" but had decided against it because of the intended effect. "Apple was satisfied with the quality but wanted something that could surprise the world," he said. "If Apple comes [out] with a new product it must have a real breakthrough."

Regardless of whether Android or iOS took the edge, Wozniak didn't expect Nokia to fare well. It was late to recognize the usefulness of touchscreens and is now too closely associated with old design. It's the brand of a "previous generation," he said. A new brand might help rekindle interest.

by MacNN Staff



  1. sapridyne

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just don't know...

    It makes sense, in theory, I guess, that this could happen. But I'm struggling to see how Google can create a product as visually appealing as the iPhone interface.

    When I look at Google's offerings... from their regular search, to Docs/Apps/Mail, to Chrome, to Android, to Wave, to Buzz, to HotPot, to whatever... the interfaces are pretty bad. Often times, they are really bad.

    Sure, that can change by Google hiring some good interface designers, but I don't think they see their interfaces as having issues.

    I think Google is looking for the next big hit... Android will continue to "succeed" based on how it's approaching the market, but I think we're beginning to see the company struggle. It has lost it's way and is beginning to flounder. In a year, we'll be reading articles with the theme of "What happened to Google?" Schmidt will be ousted in 2-3 years.

    They might find their way again, by refocusing on what they do really well, or they'll just get passed by.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wow, Wow, Wozy

    What are you smoking? I like to have one too!

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Doesn't Woz still own a lot of Apple stocks? Not the kind of thing you should be saying especially if you still have a vest interest in the company.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Coffeetime and a little more; Smoking...

    well they did say he gave this interview in Holland. Guess he was on the usual tourist "junk"-et.


    Joined: Dec 1969



    I am a little surprised by this prediction and I would like to make my own prediction. Woz is WRONG.

    One has to trust the ego's of all the CEO's out there who are copying Apple's products. They also want to be another "Steve" and want to leave their mark on the world.

    The difference is that they are mostly a bunch of traditional businessmen who need to take their stock prices higher and "satisfy" their stockholders. So while they will continue to copy Apple and add some of their "own innovations" their products will never be "insanely" great.

    Apple will always be ahead of the curve.

    If these guys could have done it they would have done it, They were in the phone business a lot longer than Apple. Plus a public domain software will never converge to give users a consistent experience.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why do people think Woz's prediction is so off bas

    The market is being flooded... FLOODED... with Android phones. It's a fair bet to think that Android sales will one day (or already have, depending on who you ask) overtake iPhone sales.

    It's also a fair bet to think that the quality of Android will improve as well, perhaps to the level of the iPhone -- in both software and hardware.

    That's not to say that the Android platform will completely overtake the iPhone -- that's just to say that, just like now, the iPhone may be the highest-quality, all-around integrated smartphone, but it may not be the sales leader. You know, just like the Mac -- awesome machine, but it doesn't top the sales charts.

    Woz isn't saying anything derogatory about the iPhone -- he's just stating the obvious: that Apple doesn't always sell the most, but they typically sell the best. You don't have to sell the MOST widgets to be making the BEST widgets, and I think Apple's stock price (and momentum) reflects this paradigm nicely.

  1. anly

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    everyone who can afford an iphone will get one, if not they will get an android that will suffice. people will realize for the best experience is with the iphone/iOS, at least it is for now probably for the next year.

  1. xmlaroux

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Your assumptions are absolutely correct. Apple has never cared about being the "Market Leader". The ipod was the first time Apple was EVER the market leader in anything. So, the iPhone, iTouch, and now the iPad are all great products that currently lead the industry. Your comparing two phones (iPhone 3GS and the iPhone4) against an Android OS which is gaining more momentum that he (Wozniak) see's will not be kept up by an IOS phone. Why is that so bad for Apple? Apple makes great products... makes a HUGE margin on everything they sell. Why is this bad?

    Apple wants to make a TON of money on Hardware, Software, and that is great for them.

    You want to keep paying $279 for an iPod that costs them $49 to make... so be it. Are you happy? Do you percieve this to be a great value for you? If so... then Apple loves you.

    I don't , and it bothers me that after all these years, a simple NANO is still so dam expensive when the IOS is cross platform, and the hardware is just a simple nand chip and a screen. The price should keep coming down, that is how IT works... but Apple bucks the trend to line their pockets not with a good amount, but price gouging. That is why so many people hate Apple... they don't follow the normal IT cycle. Is it bad? Nope... not for Apple.

    So everyone don't get all upset when someone in the industry states "Apple no longer selling the most Smartphones", and Android has passed IOS phone sales. It doesn't matter for what you percieve to be "Your IOS". Apple still makes a ton of money off of you, and you will still spend it.

    All is well with the world.

    I will keep my appetite satisfied with a new device every year +, with Android changing at a pace Apple will never keep up with. I'm happy... your happy... all is well!


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why Android will FAIL.

    Here is THE reason why Android will fail in the market.

    This is for Google TV from Sony. One vendor only.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't know about catching up in quality, but

    it doesn't take a genius to see that Android will, at least for the short term, dominate mobile OSes in market share. There's really nothing wrong with that. From Apple's standpoint, Android is basically eating into Symbian, RIM and Windows Mobile market share. Apple is still gaining in market share and certainly grabbing the most profit share. The Android platform really isn't generating very much revenue for Google or many of the smaller smartphone vendors. HTC seems to be getting the lion's share of revenue from Android. Unless Google stops the fragmentation of Android, fewer developers are going to be happy with it. Apple has a lot of growth in the mobile sector with emerging nations like China, so even if Android dominates there's still plenty left over for Apple for the next couple of years. I wouldn't try to predict anything beyond that. Apple's fully integrated mobile ecosystem apparently doesn't require major market share to generate huge amounts of money.

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