One of the original co-founders of Apple, Steve Wozniak believes that the business he helped to build has become too focused on being a premium brand and should open up its ecosystem to other platforms.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Steve Wozniak admitted that Apple was still good at "setting a standard with a new device" but because it seems to have stopped taking risks and attempting to build completely new devices, has settled into a cycle of making incremental improvements to its existing product range and as a result is losing its cool.
"We used to have these ads, I'm a Mac and I'm a PC, and the Mac was always the cool guy," he said. "And ouch, it's painful, because we kind of are losing that."
This is by no means the first time that Wozniak has been openly and publicly critical of the company he and Steve Jobs started in Jobs' parents' garage 37 years ago. During a TEDx event in Brussels in November, he claimed that Apple was being out-innovated by Microsoft. He said that the company was producing "more of the type of innovation where you see something and you say, ‘Whoa, they really changed things drastically. Whoa, they aren't really even going in the same direction as everyone else.'" During the same event he also revealed that he was worried Apple "was just used to cranking out the newest iPhone and falling a little behind."
Even if this is the case, the latest figures from Strategy Analytics show that despite the apparent competition from Samsung, the iPhone is currently the world's most popular and second most popular smartphone. In Q 4 2012 the iPhone 5 shipped 27.4 million units, the iPhone 4S shipped 17.4 and the Samsung Galaxy SIII shipped 15.4 million making it the third most popular handset in the world.
"This was an impressive performance, given the iPhone portfolio's premium pricing," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. "Samsung's Galaxy SIII has long proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia. However, global demand for the Galaxy SIII appears to have peaked and Samsung will surely be keen to introduce its rumored Galaxy SIV upgrade in the coming weeks to fight back against Apple's popular iPhone range."
When asked about the future of Microsoft and BlackBerry in the smartphone market, Wozniak said that Microsoft would be able to build a big enough critical mass of consumers to survive but that BlackBerry would have to switch to the Android operating system if it wished to survive.
In the Bloomberg interview, Wozniak also questioned Apple's reluctance to make its iTunes mobile app available to the Windows Phone 8 or Android platforms. However, on the much-rumored launch of an iWatch, the computer genius was rather more upbeat and said that if the Siri integration was up to the task that it be a great product.