Steve Wozniak, the benevolent genius who co-founded Apple, answered a few questions over at Slashdot today and though many of the answers were consistent with his awesome easy-going, open-sourced, tinkering self, he actually had some interesting advice for Apple. Here's free advice for Apple from Woz.
Woz would want iTunes on Android
Apple's real rise from the small market-share Macintosh company to the iProducts of today began with iTunes and the iPod. This turned out to be a 2nd huge business which roughly doubled Apple's 'size'. If you remember, we ported iTunes to Windows. We now addressed 100% of the world's market with this integrated system (iPod/iTunes) and it began the era of Apple that we are now in. So why don't we port iTunes to Android? Did something get closed up? I love Apple products and iTunes and wish it were on my Android products too.
It's a pretty interesting perspective, if iTunes made it to Windows, why can't it go to the Windows of the mobile computing world, Android?
Woz would want less lawsuits
I wish that instead of all these lawsuits Apple was sitting down and cross-licensing with the other players. They have come up some very good features without complicating the UI. Things like a palm swipe to take a screen snapshot. I would like my iPhone to be the best it could, even if someone else did some of the things first.
It's a little fanciful, of course, to think that Apple would collaborate with other companies to make their iPhone better but if in the end it's a net positive for consumers and technology, Woz is all in.
Woz sees value in bigger phones
I saw for the last few years one small screen in the midst of a lot of large screen and felt myself, as countless others must have, that the larger screens had more value. Blame me for taking the leeway to suggest that this was the one door Apple left wide open. iPhones are not inferior to other smartphones, and the cost is similar. iOS 6 is not inferior to Android. We could all get by with either of them. I never said this sort of thing about Windows. So there has to be some reason that Apple lost so many sales to other products.
Gotta wonder if Apple will be steadfast in thinking that the iPhone's now 4-inch screen is good enough as the competition continues to go bigger and bigger.
Woz on how Apple can survive without Steve Jobs
We did go through a period of introducing a lot of key younger talent when Steve Jobs returned. One suggestion is that we look at doing that again.
Technology has always been a young man's game.
Woz on open source versus being closed
There is no one right opinion. I'm for more openness. I believe that you can create the best most innovative products even when they are open. But I could be wrong. Open products tend to seem more complex. I suggest that maybe 80% of us or more are technophobes and scared to admit how little we know. I'm thinking of our mums and dads a lot in this thought. Apple is the safest haven for them not to get confused.
It's very true. Woz admits his preference for open technology but also understands why closed can sometimes be easier for non-technological folks.
Woz on Woz going back to Apple
Apple is very complex. I like personal simplicity. I like to do what I'm good at, which is enjoying technology. I don't honestly feel I could do better than anyone reading this at a role in Apple. Jobs had the drive to run things and influence things. If there was something for sure where I'd be a great help to Apple, I'd be there in an instant, as Apple is #1 in my heart.
We can all dream about the Return of Woz at Apple and how much good that could bring... but it'll probably never happen. [Slashdot]