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Woz Says iPhone Features Are 'Behind' 587

Posted by timothy
from the wonderful-wizard-of-woz dept.
redletterdave writes "The iPhone may be one of the bestselling smartphones on the planet, but Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes Apple's flagship smartphone has fallen behind its competitors, namely those built by Samsung, when it comes to smartphone features. Speaking at Businessweek's Best Brand Awards on Thursday evening, Wozniak said he was proud of how loyal Apple fans were to the iPhone, but also said 'this loyalty is not given,' shortly before denouncing his own company's smartphone. 'Currently we are, in my opinion, somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business,' Wozniak said. 'Others have caught up. Samsung is a big competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products.'" I prefer Android, but it seems hard to find iPhone users who aren't enthusiastic about it. Whatever kind of phone you prefer, are there features you envy the users of some other variety?
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Woz Says iPhone Features Are 'Behind'

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  • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:33AM (#42843267)

    my friends pay money for every little thing I download for free with my android phone. sucks to be them

  • by captjc (453680) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:34AM (#42843271)

    Check me if I wrong, but hasn't the iPhone always been behind on features? I mean, how many years did it take just to get copy / paste.

    The iPhone was never about features, it was about style and ease of use. The problem is that they set the standard and the other companies have finally caught up.

  • It's just a phone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:38AM (#42843297)

    Get over it. Why are people so emotional about it?

    If more Americans cared about the bigger issues in their lives we wouldn't be tax slaves living in a crumbling nation with an out-of-control government.

    Am I the only person that feels this way?

  • As an iPhone user (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:38AM (#42843305)

    This is the feature I envy the most: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/android-phones-vulnerable-to-hackers/2013/02/01/f3248922-6723-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html

    The health of an ecosystem can be measured by the abundance of parasites... Actually, I forget if that's positive or negative correlation. Time to do some homework.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:47AM (#42843367)

    It depends on what you mean by "features".

    The first few generations of iPhone led the market in many respects when it came to hardware: screen quality and resolution, battery life, camera quality, processor, etc.

    They also lagged behind in some software features: no copy and paste, lack of push notifications, multitasking, etc.

    iOS also changed the way we use phones.

    I've always been an Android fan, because I don't like the walled garden approach of Apple. I have to give it to Apple though - it's only been recently that Android hardware has caught up and surpassed the iPhone.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:48AM (#42843377)

    my friends pay money for every little thing I download for free with my android phone. sucks to be them

    I know, paying developers for their time! What fools they are! In the grand scheme of things (given the cost of the phone and the plan), a couple of bucks here and there for apps is peanuts.

    In all seriousness, what I want the iPhone to do that Android does is be able to control the hardware from a quick access screen - ie, turn the wifi or bluetooth on and off quickly without having to use the main settings app. When Apple announced they were bringing the swipe-down-from-top notification centre thing to iOS I really hoped that the ability to add those sorts of things to it would be there, but it seems not.

    Other than that, I'm happy with it.

  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:48AM (#42843381)

    That's great that Wozniak can look at competing products and recognize accurately their strengths and weaknesses. That kind of objective evaluation leads to better decisions and great products. Companies that mindlessly insist that their products are the 'best' and punish any who dare to say otherwise have a difficult time putting out high quality products that people want to use. Those are the kind of companies that try to force their products on the marketplace and only have success if there is no choice but to use their products.

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:48AM (#42843385) Journal

    Quick question... is good product design about packing in as many features as possible, whether they are something people will actually use, or actually good ideas, or actually implemented in a good way, or something someone will actually use?

    No. There are countless products in every market where the company that makes them does exactly that. They shove in every bell and whistle, whether it makes sense or not, whether it can be used in reality or not, and they are mediocre-at-best products. Many of them are bad, and you spend money on those features you will never use, just to get the handful that you will.

    Just because the iPhone has "less features" doesn't make it a bad product. Similarly, just because some other phone has "more features" doesn't necessarily make it a better product. If it has more useful features, then it probably is a better product; if those features are implemented in a useful way that isn't buried under a horrible unusable interface, or requires everyone you interact with to also have that product for the feature to be of any use.

    (None of what I said above applies to any specific product or manufacturer unless explicitly stated. This post was not meant to be a critique of any particular device, rather a critique on the concept of "more features == better")

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:49AM (#42843391)

    The health of an ecosystem can be measured by the abundance of parasites...

    Good God... calling a "walled garden" an ecosystem!

    If all the animals are fed from a single trough, that's not an ecosystem, that's a farm.

  • by SpankyDaMonkey (1692874) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:53AM (#42843413)

    Amazing how the circle has turned when it comes to phones. The iPhone has gone from being the hip new boy breaking the rules to a member of the establishment that everyone else is slowly leaving behind.

    It used to be that the iPhone was an inspirational device, a device that caused geek envy wherever you used it.

    And now, well it's the device for the technical luddites who have more money than sense, or for those that Apple have managed to lock in to their closed-wall infrastructure and are now too wary of trying something else. In other words - it's the phone you recommend to your parents so you don't have to do tech support for them.

  • Not really... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:55AM (#42843433)

    ... other than battery life and better phone calls.

    I've got a Galaxy Nexus, and the hardware is fine -- high-resolution screen, fast enough CPU, etc. The only real "lacking features" are software things, and since it's Android that's just my own fault for not finding a better app to do whatever it is.

    What I seriously don't like, though, is its ability to MAKE PHONE CALLS. This is a device that people watch Netflix on, for fuck's sake. Why is it using a ~10kbps codec for voice calls with an acoustic bandpass of a few khz, and moreover one with some absolutely awful signal processing characteristics? For instance (and this is just one example), if I'm talking to someone in the wind, and there's a gust of wind on my end, the phone mutes the speaker so I can no longer hear what they're saying. Why should it do that, unless it's trying to squelch feedback, which is very much not the problem?

    As for battery life, I appreciate them making the things slim, but if they'd make it another 5mm or even 8mm thicker with most of that extra volume given to battery, you'd get about four times as much life out of it. Does anyone make a phone like this?

  • by Entropius (188861) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:57AM (#42843445)

    swipe-down-from-top notification centre thing

    If fucking bounce-back lists were worth a billion dollars, this thing that's actually useful? Google should sue Apple for $10 billion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:04PM (#42843485)

    He's a smart man. I'm sure he meant to say exactly what he said. Who are you to say what he meant?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:04PM (#42843493)

    With Apple, you are the customer, and the phone is the product.

    With Google, you are the product and the customer is any company that wants every little bit of information about you.

    Google even admits to this. So consider this every time you think that Google products are free. They aren't, and the price could actually be more expensive than any gadget or app you could ever buy.

  • Re:iFirstPost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:06PM (#42843503)

    Horseshit. Not what he said.

    As for the question in the summary, I'd say Android handsets lack quite a few things you get in the iPhones. But he's right when he says iPhones are missing some things that some Android handsets might have.

    I prefer the Android way, but only an ass would ignore that Apple does some things much, much better.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:16PM (#42843573) Journal

    Find a free Samba client for iOS that is not trialware with a tiny file size limit, and a free VLC/Mplayer equivalent.* Ready? Go!

    *These are the only apps I've tried to find for iOS, so far I have a 100% horrible dissatisfaction rate.

  • Sample bias... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by siwelwerd (869956) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:17PM (#42843579)

    I prefer Android, but it seems hard to find iPhone users who aren't enthusiastic about it.

    There are a large number of people out there who think the iPhone is the only smartphone. So when they buy a smartphone, they buy an iPhone and love it, because the only thing they compare it too is their old clamshell phone. So naturally, they are very enthusiastic about it.

    Actually, on a larger level my hypothesis is that Apple products work great for anyone who does not question the arbitrary limitations put on the software by Apple in the name of "ease of use". They just assume that "phones can't do that" or "computers don't do that" and are happy; whereas if you know a little bit about how much effort it would be to have that feature, and that it's omitted solely to simplify (i.e. dumb things down), it is immensely frustrating (although it seems once one reaches Apple Guru level, all the workarounds are second nature and these things are once again painless). In short, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. I say this at someone who uses Linux/Android at home, but OSX/iOS at work.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:44PM (#42843797)

    You'll notice how careful he was not to say "Android-style notification system", which would have made it much more clear.

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:55PM (#42843895)

    Check me if I wrong, but hasn't the iPhone always been behind on features?

    That may be, but the gap is widening. I have an iphone5 from my employer, and still prefer my private Android phone, despite it being 2 1/2 years old, chronically out of space, terrible battery life, and basically being end-of-life. The user interface is better, the features richer and more powerful, and the overall experience superior. Oh, and of course, the screen is bigger. And Siri--please, Jeannie works just as well (better in some cases, not quite so well in a few others, but overall, at least equivalent in overall performance).

    Apple has mindshare because of group think and fashion-accessory/status symbol mindsets, not because of technical or aesthetic qualities. And its mindshare is shrinking, despite all of the media-bias. Android is outselling Apple 2/1 worldwide, and that gap is growing too, and not in Apples favor.

  • by farble1670 (803356) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:20PM (#42844091)

    Android is for tinkerers

    while there's no hard data, it's estimate that 1-2% of android users have rooted their devices. fewer than that will have installed custom ROMs.

    cheap folks

    i'd rather be cheap than stupid. stupid is paying 2x for a less powerful device. i paid $300 for my nexus 4. an iphone 5 is what? $600? oh, did i mention i have free tethering with my stock ROM on at&t?

    and folks who easily succumb to marketing

    did you really just say that, in support of apple? apple is the epitome of fashion over function.

  • Re:Updates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zieroh (307208) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:20PM (#42844097)

    When you buy a particular device, the hardware inside that device (e.g. SOC, Camera, Baseband) doesn't change. As long as Google doesn't change how the drivers interface with newer versions of the OS, the drivers for your particular device will continue to work.

    This.

    Abstracting the hardware from the upper parts of the OS is a solvable problem. It's a matter of considerable mental effort and architecture, but it's definitely solvable, and has been repeatedly solved in the long history of operating systems. The fact that Google somehow hasn't managed to solve this problem for Android speaks loudly about their abilities in the realm of OS design.

    Here's a hint for Google engineers: monolithic is BAD!

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:24PM (#42844127) Journal

    Pissing and moaning about the fact that everything you need isn't available for free is naive, developers like to get paid.

    Why is this naive? It's a step backwards. Apart from some commercial games I only use free (at least as in beer, mostly also as in speech) software on my other computers. Why should I have to go backwards with iOS?

    And I condemned iOS LONG before I tried finding any software for it, just based on how the software is managed on the OS.

  • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:35PM (#42844187) Homepage

    Every non-trivial device requires tech support if exposed to a wide enough audience. There's an unbreakable trade-off between the complexity that comes from adding more features and making more ways something can fail. Note that I didn't say "in a phone" or "on a computer"; this trade-off exists in all design.

    If Apple products really removed support, you wouldn't have to schedule time at their "genius" bars. The idea that Apple has lowered support overhead by decreasing visible features has some truth to it, but that this only goes so far has been obvious for years. I think the Onion pointed out how bizarre that turns if you go too far best, with Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard [theonion.com].

  • by vakuona (788200) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:42PM (#42844253)

    Whenever I see someone dismissing a product other people prefer as being a "status symbol" or "fashion accessory", I just think "snob". Seriously, why can't people like an iPhone and not have it be about being a status symbol, because as 50m sold in 3 months, it definitely isn't one.

    The iPhone is a quality product for which consumers are willing to pay more than they are for other products, and not because it is a status symbol because, I assure you, no women have offered sex to me because I own an iPhone!

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:56PM (#42844351)

    a couple of bucks here and there for apps is peanuts.

    Ah, another Apple user happy to be nickel and dimed for everything.

    I know, paying for things that people make might be alien to you. For the rest of us, we realise that money can be exchanged for goods and/or services. I'm happy to support developers, especially at the low prices they charge for typical mobile applications.

    I get value from a product that I pay money for, the developer gets paid. Of course I'm happy about that. Why is that such a hard concept to understand?

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @02:38PM (#42844661)

    android has better privacy controls than iOS. every android app must declare permissions for the services it can use BEFORE it is installed.

    The problem is that is a horrifically stupid idea.

    No user can POSSIBLY know before they run the app if all of the permissions make sense. Contacts is a great example, at some point it might benefit to look something up from a contact. So you just agree.

    Meanwhile on iOS the user is not asked if the app should access contacts until they are using the app and whatever they are doing triggers the request. So they know what the app does, and know EXACTLY what they did to make the app ask for contacts, so they can decide if it makes sense to have them.

    Also, if you don't agree on Android generally you just can't use the app because you have to agree to everything (yes I know there are ways around that, not standard though). On iOS I can keep using the app that I've just told has no access to location or contacts, without having to pre-select access teh app should have.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @04:20PM (#42845385)

    How is it "backwards" to pay people for your use of their products? Do you work for free? Because if you don't, it sounds to me like you are part of the "problem", and are making those that use the fruits of your labor "go backwards".

    Of course, given your adamance against paying for things, maybe you really do work for free. In which case, please accept my humblest apologies and condolences.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @07:13PM (#42846479)

    Ah, another Apple user being suckered out of extra money instead of using a system where corporations pay developers to make apps to give to customers free of charge to make their devices more useful. You're a chump, a fool who is parted from his money easily. why is that such a hard concept to understand? In other news, most Linux kernel developers are paid for their work.

    You're trying too hard to make this into something it's not. The GPP's point was that we were chumps for paying for software, full stop. My point is that paying for software you find useful is not "foolish" especially when the costs are small.

    It's hardly being "suckered" out of money, unless you consider any shop to be "suckering" people out of money when they browse the store and decide to buy something. It's not as if there aren't also a host of free apps on the store too. You make it sound like every single app costs money and that someone holds a gun to your head and says "buy it sucker!!!"

    I'm not sure what the argument is here? That it's bad to buy software from developers, but it's ok if those developers are funded by someone else?

    This is not an "us vs them" argument. It's like it's impossible for you apple haters to find any common ground with people who use a different mobile operating system to you. It's tiresome. I would have thought of all things, paying software developers for their work (by any means), would be an uncontroversial opinion. Alas, no, because we use Apple software we're "suckers" and "fools" for paying developers for their time.

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