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.