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Woz: Apple may have to build a non-iPhone phone

In an interview, Apple's co-founder offers up the "almost treasonous" idea that Apple should work with Chinese partners to create a totally different phone.

Speaking his mind. ReutersTV/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk

The whole point of Apple was always to think the unthinkable.

So it's always lovely when co-founder Steve Wozniak says what he's thinking, in what always seems like an unfiltered way.

In an interview with Reuters in Singapore, Woz confronted the issues facing Apple and mused that specific products might have to be created for certain parts of the world.

Admitting that some might find the concept "almost treasonous," he wondered whether Apple shouldn't get together with Chinese partners and build a phone appropriate to the local market.

It shouldn't be called the iPhone. Indeed, Apple should put its brand on it, but only "inspect it to make sure it's a quality product."

Woz isn't afraid of cheaper.

Indeed, he believes the margins of cost within which Apple can operate are fairly narrow.

The company might sacrifice a little performance in order to have a cheaper processor.

"There are very few of those kind of trade-offs," he said.

"We haven't cracked the Chinese market as well as we could," he said, speaking of Apple. One of the reasons, he suggested, was that local companies understood the market better.

Any joint venture phone between Apple and a local partner might have "totally different features and work in a totally different way" from an iPhone.

Asked what he would say if was asked to counsel Apple CEO Tim Cook, he said he wouldn't like to try, because he feared the comeback would be "more like a fight."

Woz, unquestionably the most sympathetic character in the recent movie "Jobs," isn't fond of conflict.