Steve Wozniak thinks Apple should make Android phones

Samsung may be the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer – almost a third of the one billion handsets shipped last year were from the Korean OEM – but it’s Apple that still enjoys the greatest profits, and with a record number of iPhones sold last quarter, they’re obviously doing something right.

But Steve Wozniak believes that the company that he co-founded is missing out on a big opportunity in the smartphone space, and that there are considerable spoils to be enjoyed by bridging the gap between Apple and Android.

Speaking with WIRED, Wozniak said: “There’s nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market.” He continued: “We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of stylings and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time.”

But he also highlighted a key distinction that separates iPhones from their Android flagship counterparts: feature overload. Apple, he reasoned, takes a more measured approach to adding new features to its devices. “If you have something really good, don’t change it, don't screw it up,” he said. “You pick up a Samsung phone and say 'smile' and it takes a picture, but how much innovation is that? That’s just throwing in a lot of features. People don’t really choose their smartphones based on features. I think Apple is superior at being able to say no.” 

Wozniak's comments come after it emerged that, over a decade ago, Steve Jobs had wanted to get Apple's OS X running on Sony Vaio notebooks. If Apple could share its software for use on another manufacturer's hardware, would it really be such a leap for the company to use a different OS on its handsets? 

Despite Woz’s enthusiasm for the idea of an Apple iDroid, let’s face it – it’s incredibly unlikely to ever happen. And don’t even get started on the idea of a Windows iPhone. 

Source: WIRED

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I think I see his point. Keep the iPhone premium, but use a custom Android (possibly forked) to address to the lower price ranges. Nokia and Motorola have shown you can make good hardware under $200, and the Lumia 520 is the best selling Windows Phone globally.

A $150 iDroid, perhaps with more similarities to Asha, might work well. (similar to how MS could make use of Normandy) Just make sure there's a clear upgrade path to iOS, aid that key Apple services are on it (iCloud, iWork or iLife, iTunes). So, its an Apple experience, but not the FULL experience.

So which part makes a phone premium: iOS or the hardware? If its iOS, I don't see how they can deliver the Apple experience without the OS and its apps. If the premium is only the hardware, why can't they make a budget phone with iOS?

i_was_here said,
So which part makes a phone premium: iOS or the hardware? If its iOS, I don't see how they can deliver the Apple experience without the OS and its apps. If the premium is only the hardware, why can't they make a budget phone with iOS?

Its a bit of both. The key is to have a good, albeit focused, experience. A $99-199 iPhone light doesn't need Siri or a high end camera. If the apps are limited, maybe they can get away with a slower dual core or a faster single. There's a number of possible tradeoffs, but I think it only needs to provide basic services. Be a phone, be a browser, a media player, email/calendar, etc. Again, what an Asha is.

The problem for Apple is it needs to be good, but not a no-brainer versus a normal iPhone. Otherwise, people will import them like crazy and possibly cannibalize the high end market.

He doesn't think it, he just says that if it might go wrong, this might be a way out for Apple. Anyway, making Windows Phones would be more logic for Apple than chosing Android, after all Google and Apple aren't best budies. The relation Microsoft-Apple is much more healthy. But still, I don't see this happen.

While it may give Apple more market penetration, and a lot of Android phone makers a HUGE run for their money, it will never happen. Steve Jobs himself would turn over in his grave and jump out at the mere thought of this. I say, if it's not broken, don't fix it.

Lately every time this guy opens his mouth, he sounds more and more like a bitter old nerd that's still ****ed at his former employer. I've lost nearly all respect for this guy.

-=MagMan=- said,
Lately every time this guy opens his mouth, he sounds more and more like a bitter old nerd that's still ****ed at his former employer. I've lost nearly all respect for this guy.

Former Employer??? Steve still receives a paycheck from Apple, so technically he is not a former employee..

That would be dumb and make the smartphone industry more complicated than it needs to be. Regular consumers (not ones on these tech forums etc) often don't know what they want... and when they use iDevices they'll be like wtf if it was running a non-Apple OS. That would be the same with a Microsoft or a Google device too. Keep them simple gosh and instead grow and be innovative with your own platforms.

Why not? I think it makes sense. They should also make all their apps for Android including iCloud etc and plug Android into that allowing non apple android devices to access the Apple ecosystem.

It's only the hardware-software synergy that makes iOS devices worthwhile imo. This would be like buying a Mac specifically to run Windows on, a fairly uncommon scenario.

I went to the wired article and it would be nice if they actually quoted Steve actually saying what they claimed other than running a hypothetical scenario that Apple could make an Android phone at least in theory. In the whole article there is only one direct quotation relating to Apple and Android:

“There's nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market,” said Wozniak-who, it should be noted, is no longer involved in the day-to-day workings of the company. “We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of stylings and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time.”

And that only speculates that Apple could do something but doesn't actually go so far as to say Apple should do something. Maybe so-called journalists at Wired shouldn't try to put words in Steve's mouth and actually quote word for word if he does actually say something along the lines that they claim he said.

That will never happen cus it'll mean they have to use big phone sizes, good high quality screens and cutting edge hardware to competeand charge a reasonsable price... Goes against apples belief system so would never work!!!

Apple will never do this for the simple reason that they can't control the user experience and turn it into a walled ecosystem. I wouldn't want Apple anywhere near Android, I got sick of their unethical business practices and control freakery and switched to Samsung phones. Love the openness and tinkerability of Android, never looked back. Can you install a custom built optimized ROM with custom stock apps on an iPhone? Nope! Because Apple like to control their walking dead zombies' wallets and experience

I love how I can keep my phone running quick with open source, for years to come, try doing that on a style-over-substance iDevice

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