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Woz riffs on Android vs. iOS

Much as he likes the iPhone, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes Google's Android platform could eventually dominate the mobile market. Oh, and Apple had a smartphone before the iPhone.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks that the iPhone is tops in overall quality but also that when all's said and done, Google's Android platform will reign supreme in the mobile market.

"The Apple phone has very few weaknesses," Wozniak was reported as saying to Netherlands newspaper De Telegraaf in an interview (translation) posted today. "When it comes to quality, the iPhone is leading."

The newspaper also quotes Wozniak as saying, however, that "Android phones have more features" and deliver more buying options for those who don't want to be limited to a single device. But in a follow-up interview with Engadget, Wozniak countered that he didn't say anything of the sort. Instead, Wozniak told Engadget, he pointed out a single feature--the ability to say "navigate to Joe's Diner or something" on Android--that he "would love to have on my iPhone." He went on to say that "almost every app" he uses "is better on the iPhone."

In addition, Wozniak was quoted by the newspaper as saying that like Windows in the desktop OS space, Google's mobile platform will become the "dominant" option in its own market. Wozniak told Engadget that the Telegraaf reporter asked him if Android would eventually be dominant and that what he said was "Android because that's based on what I read--nothing more."

"I said that Android will probably be a lot like Windows, and we got a lot of junk from Windows. At least the iPhone is good," Wozniak said to the gadget blog. "I'm certainly not saying that Android is better than iOS by any stretch of the imagination."

Predictably, Wozniak's comments as reported by De Telegraaf caused a ruckus, given that he's a co-founder of Apple and still a shareholder in the company. But he wasn't really covering any new ground with the remarks about Android's prospects. Many analysts believe Android will eventually overtake the mobile market and leave Apple far behind.

By 2014, market-research firm Gartner expects Android to own about 30 percent of the worldwide mobile OS market, while Apple will account for just 15 percent. Another research firm, IDC, expects Android to have about 25 percent of the smartphone market globally in 2014, compared with Apple's expected 11 percent share.

Beyond all that, De Telegraaf cited Wozniak as saying that Apple had developed a smartphone in 2004, but (obviously) never released it given that it "was satisfied with the quality, but wanted something that could surprise the world."

"If Apple comes [out] with a new product, it must have a real breakthrough," Wozniak reportedly said. It seems that Apple felt that "breakthrough" came in 2007 when it released the first-generation iPhone.

(Via Engadget)

Update at 11:25 a.m. PT: Steve Wozniak was interviewed by Engadget after this report was published to clarify some statements made to De Telegraaf. Those clarifications have been added throughout.