The Woz: Android Has Some Advantages Over iPhone

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Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has set off a few shock waves in the tech blogosphere by saying that the iPhone may be the best smartphone for some users, but that Android has some advantages over his alma mater’s smartphone platform. In an interview with The Daily Beast, The Woz said that he still recommends the iPhone for many users, but that there are some things Android simply does better.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

Many headlines on the Internet—including The Daily Beast’s own—have spun the interview as one in which Mr. Wozniak said Android is better, but the reality is that he praised both platforms and said that each has advantages over the other. According to him, the iPhone is elegant and beautiful, simple and easy to use, while Android has better voice controls and navigation.

“My primary phone is the iPhone,” Mr. Wozniak said. “I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do.”

He also listed some specific complaints about the iPhone, including its battery life. He said that with Apple’s upgrade to iOS 5, his iPhone, “started running through the battery so fast.” This is a complaint that many iPhone users have lodged and that Apple said it was trying to correct. Recent updates have helped some users, but not all.

His biggest complaint, ironically, was leveled towards the iPhone 4S’s most popular feature, Siri. Mr. Wozniak said that Siri was better when it was just a standalone app, before Apple launched it as a (beta) service integrated into iOS 5 itself.

He said, “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.”

For what it’s worth, we found that Siri could provide a list of lakes when asked about the five biggest lakes in California, but the question about prime numbers greater than 87 returned a list of Bay Area businesses with “Greater” in their names, a useless answer similar to what Mr. Wozniak described.

He also noted that when Apple moved all voice commands to Siri, his iPhone then required a connection to the Internet for voice commands like calling his wife—no data connection, no voice controls. He said that in this regard, Android was better than iPhone.

“With the iPhone 4 I could press a button and call my wife,” Mr. Wozniak said. “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.’”

He added, “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.”

All in all, he said that he tends to recommend the iPhone 4S for people who are already in Apple’s ecosystem and for people who are, “scared of computers altogether and don’t want to use them.” He added he believes the iPhone isn’t frightening, and that it’s simplicity makes it a great device for those who might be daunted by the complexity of other devices.

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Comments

Trey44

“The Woz: Android Has Some Advantages Over iPhone”

Seriously, if you need The Woz to tell you this, you suffer from really bad Apple fan blinders.

Both platforms have advantages.  I’m very happy using an Android phone now because I like 4G LTE, and the integration with Google contacts, calendar, the bigger screen and free turn by turn nav, but there are some great things about the iPhone as well (just wish they would update the two year old form factor).

Lee Dronick

I had similar results when I tried his questions. However, I used Siri to enter the questions into a Google search and got the correct answers.

Maybe what is needed when Siri goes beyond beta is a way to differentiate the type of question with a prefix.

“Math, prime numbers greater than 87?”

“Restaurants, prime rib?”

“Reminder, Siri is still beta.”

geoduck

Occasionally for some things I’ve been known to recommend Windows over a Mac too. The Daily Beast may be trying to make a big deal out of this but in reality you go with the best tool. These aren’t complaints that I haven’t heard elsewhere.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

What Trey44 said about LTE. Not only is it faster than AT&T’s HSPA+, but here in The OC, coverage is better, especially in the hilly areas of South County. Here’s where it matters… Walking the dog the other day, I needed a new podcast episode to listen to and grabbed an hour and half of Mohr Stories, weighing in at 50+ MB, really quickly.

Lee Dronick

Okay Woz, try this

1. Hold home button

2. Siri asks “What can I help you with?”

3. “Google”

4. Siri asks “What would you like to search for?”

5. Prime numbers greater than 87.”

Substance

@Trey44 nails it, this should not be a surprise to anyone who hasn’t had their in the sand.  Especially on Siri requiring Internet access…who came up with that, Apple?  I

That said I believe that Woz has been saying this for a while.  I applaud the fact that someone as techincal as Woz can make the distinction between what works for him does not work for everyone (especially when you are in the vast minority).  Too often, first with Macs and now with iPhones, the technophiles diss on everything that doesn’t appeal to them and can’t understand that what works for them is not what works for the other 98% of society.

Peter

Reminder, Siri is still beta.

Fair enough.  When do you think it will be out of beta?  And since when has Apple foisted beta software on it’s users?  Isn’t that a Google thing?

archimedes

I think Woz’s complaints are on target, although I haven’t observed the battery issues.

As much as I like the “Retina” display, I think the main advantage of iOS vs. Android is the fantastic selection of high-quality apps which run on the iPhone, iPod and (most importantly) iPad.

iOS basically wins because it is excellent on three platfroms: smart phones, MP3 players, and tablets.

iPhone/iPod/iPad are also a great choice for Mac users, because they work fairly seamlessly with the Mac.

Lee Dronick

Fair enough.? When do you think it will be out of beta?

Possibly with the next iOS update.

And since when has Apple foisted beta software on it?s users

At least since Siri smile

For me, even if it is beta, Siri works pretty well and I have been using it more and more. Remember the recent stories about iPhone 4S users more data than other iPhone users, that is probably because of Siri so I am assuming a lot of us are getting into Siri. Anyway, most of the problems I have been having has been with dictating punctuation. I may tell it to:

quote In the course of human interface events quote

but get “In the course of events quote without the closing the “.

Sharm

I bought an iPhone 4s recently because of Siri.
But unfortunately Siri doesn’t work as I expected.
Sir is unable to call the numbers in my contact list.
Doesn’t update the local weather as well.
A word of mouth is too a good way of marketing a product.
But many people different negative comment on 4s.
Please do something ASAP as its Apple’s reputation.

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