Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak may have waited in line for the release of new iPhones, but he says there are ways Android has leapt ahead of iPhone. His calm and collected perspective on the two platforms is a breath of fresh air between typically warring parties and definitely in stark contrast to that other founder. That is whats so great about Steve Wozniak, the branding doesn’t matter, it’s all about the tech itself, a staple of a true blue, and I say this admiringly, geek.
Woz recently attended an interview with Dan Lyons of the Daily Beast. During the interview he compares iPhones with Android phones, and ultimately the Woz laments the limitations of Apple’s smartphone. Check out excerpts from the interview after the break.
Woz especially preferred Android’s voice commands and GPS capability, which at first seems surprising considering his iPhone 4S sports Siri. Woz says he’s been using Siri for a long time and used to love it when it was an independent application created for the iPhone. However, since Apple bought Siri and built the software into the iPhone 4S, it doesn’t work as well as it used to.
“I used to ask Siri, ‘What are the five biggest lakes in California?’ and it would come back with the answer. Now it just misses. It gives me real estate listings. I used to ask, ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and it would answer. Now instead of getting prime numbers, I get listings for prime rib, or prime real estate”
Worse, a lot of the times Siri says it can’t make a connection to the back-end servers that power the system.
“With the iPhone 4 I could press a button and call my wife. Now on the 4S I can only do that when Siri can connect over the Internet. But many times it can’t connect. I’ve never had Android come back and say, ‘I can’t connect over the Internet.’”
Woz goes on to admit the better results of Android voice as well,
“I have a lower success rate with Siri than I do with the voice built into the Android, and that bothers me,” Woz says. “I’ll be saying, over and over again in my car, ‘Call the Lark Creek Steak House,’ and I can’t get it done. Then I pick up my Android, say the same thing, and it’s done. Plus I get navigation. Android is way ahead on that.”
Then there’s battery life, a caveat once supposedly limited to Android and heckled by the iPhone enthusiasts. Woz, however, can tell no lies.
“With the iPhone, something happened with the new OS or the new phone, and it just started running through the battery so fast,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of issues with things I have to turn off just to save the battery life.”
So how do they stack up as far as user experience then, having heard his gripes on these integral elements so far,
“if you’re willing to do the work to understand it a little bit, well I hate to say it, but there’s more available in some ways”
So it seems that its true what they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Another interesting aspect he comments on is the simililarity of the rivalry between Android and iOS to the Mac and Windows rivalry of yesteryear.
“I can see the similarity,” Woz says, but “There’s not as big a difference [between iOS and Android] as there was between Mac and Windows.”
Apple is up against a stronger competitor, since in his mind Windows was never a very good program, while Android actually is. At the end of the day Woz says he still recommends the iPhone as the best choice for most users.
“The people I recommend the iPhone 4S for are the ones who are already in the Mac world, because it’s so compatible, and people who are just scared of computers altogether and don’t want to use them. The iPhone is the least frightening thing. For that kind of person who is scared of complexity, well, here’s a phone that is simple to use and does what you need it to do.”
I have to hand it to Woz, he’s a genuine guy, his passion is clearly engineering regardless of label. Although I’m a huge Android advocate, there are instances that I will actually recommend an iPhone to someone. One thing I think Apple got right is that it’s more “goof proof,” but with that comes limitations. In situations where I know the person is not comfortable with technology, I sometimes simply swallow my pride and recommend the iPhone. It’s not easy, but in most of these cases they were probably already leaning that way because they already drank the Kool-Aid, or shall I say Apple-Aid.