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Woz: Apple now 'somewhat behind'

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak declares that when it comes to smartphone features, the company had better get smarter.

Always animated. Currently worried. James Martin/CNET

Steve Wozniak is worried.

He is worried on behalf of "we," as he still refers to the company he co-founded with Ashton Kutcher.

The lovely thing about Woz is that he tends to express his worries fully and spontaneously.

Currently, he is worried that Apple is falling behind when it comes to smartphone features.

I am grateful to Apple Insider for quickly translating an interview Woz gave to Germany's Wirtschafts Woche, in which he may well have been lying down on a chaise longue in order to bare his concerns.

"Currently we are in my opinion...somewhat behind," he said, before adding: "Others have caught up. Samsung is a great competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products."

Some might note a certain inference that Woz feels Apple isn't currently making great products.

Yet he contradicted that theory -- at least a little -- when he spoke later in the interview about why he stands in line with the faithful at every product launch.

"If Apple would make lousy products, I would not be in line," he said.

Woz is well-known for trying out every product that appears in the firmament. He didn't specifically say what features he found particularly inspiring in the Samsung Galaxy S3, for example.

But it would be fascinating to hear whether he has graduated to the view that larger screens are somehow more alluring than Apple's modest affairs.

There's also, one suspects, a little playful mischief in some of Woz's public remarks. Who could forget when he suggested that Microsoft might have reincarnated Steve Jobs?

And then there was the seminal moment when he admitted that he wished Apple hadn't become "so, kind of, arrogant." (No, he didn't say he wished "we" hadn't become so, kind of, arrogant.)

There are those who believe his "kind of" was kind.

Yet it's clear where Woz's heart truly is. He, like many, would love it if Apple's smartphones became more innovative, more daring, and even more coveted.

As he said in this interview: "I am proud that we have such loyal fans. But this loyalty is not given. The need to have the best products is always there."

Anyone notice a certain gentle warning there?