Steve Wozniak: What’s Right With Android, Apple Pay and YotaPhone

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Written by Gina Smith

Apple founder Steve Wozniak says what Android phones he’s giving up (surprise!), what he likes about the Yota Phone and why he prefers the Apple iPhone 5C to the iPhone 6. Exclusive.

aNewDomain — This morning I received a long email from my old friend and coauthor, the Apple inventor Steve Wozniak. Yet again he is debunking news reports that got him wrong. We are getting used to this.

Wozniak and I spent 10 hours a week together for a whole year (2005) researching, writing and editing his memoir: iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It (W.W. Norton, 2006/2014). So when I see Wozniak quoted saying this or that in news reports, I always check to see if the quotes and analysis even sound like him. He gets misquoted so, so frequently.

steve wozniakToday I asked him if there was any truth to a CNET news report that stated he’s decided to give up his Android smartphones in favor of the Apple iPhone 6.

There wasn’t.

“There’s no truth to it,” Wozniak told me. He isn’t getting rid of Android. “I have always been primarily iPhone [based]. I get Androids so I can test features and compare them … and to [get] familiar with them … With the iPhone 6, it’s  ditch ‘some’ Android phones because [now] I have a larger screen.”

Wozniak told me he did plan on ditching at least two of his five Android devices — the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note — in favor of the iPhone 6. But he told me he was hanging on to the “best” Android device he had, which he said was the Nexus 5.

He added:

I still like the Nexus 5 for its feel, but the thing I liked best about it, the wireless charging, stopped working on the stations in my office and bedroom and I don’t know why,” Wozniak told me.

I have not yet gotten rid of my iPad mini. It’s a tough choice between the iPhone 6+, the iPad Mini, and the iPad Air for watching movies. I do my computer work on my real computer, a MacBook Pro. I can still copy files onto flash keys and pass them around or print them out in hotels or business centers.

He doesn’t miss his Samsung devices, he says. “I no longer feel a need for my Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note. They are nice but I had them mainly to show off the size and let other iPhone people know what’s out there. But now the iPhone 6 does that job.”

Wozniak tole me he did have a problem with file transport on the Apple iPhone.

I do have a huge problem transporting files to my iPhones. I use Apple’s basic TextEdit program to create short written documents on the computer. But if I use any features like boldface or italics, it makes the document RTF. Which won’t play on any iPhone. So I convert such documents to Apple’s word processor, Pages. You can get Pages on the iPhone, too. But my [saved] Pages document from the computer will not even play on the iPhone with Pages then. This stuff is not right and I hope it goes away. But at least the phone size was a start around some [previous] Apple (Jobs) mantra.”

Wozniak, in his email to me this morning, which he said I could share here at aNewDomain, added that he doesn’t think the iPhone 6 is the best iPhone ever, which sort of surprised me. His choice? The Apple iPhone 5C.

I think that the best iPhone ever in terms of a balance of features and inclusion and abilities and looks and feel was the iPhone 5c. I love holding that iPhone more than any other ever. But Apple’s position made most iPhone users want the high end 5s.”

I read this comment to my sixth grader son, an Apple fanatic who has been bashing the iPhone 5C as “cheap” and even “crappy” as compared to the S. “That’s what the C stands for,” he told me. But when he heard his “Uncle Steve’s” comments, he was floored. Marketing, kid. Get used to it. Unfortunately, this boy is still pressuring me for the “six.” That’s him with Steve, below.


Moving on, Wozniak had lots to say about how Apple Pay stacks up to Android-based pay options.
“Apple Pay has been great for me,” Wozniak told me. “For ages I’d find the one or two Android phones that paid by tapping your phone via the NFC chip at stores that had PayPass like Walgreens, 7-Eleven, McDonalds, etcetera,” Wozniak says. “But you had to pull out your special Android phone. Not many people had the right one, since Android makes the software and various phone manufacturers had to choose a model or none to work with it.”

“[You had to] unlock your Android phone, run the Google Wallet app, choose a credit card and type your PIN code into the phone,” Wozniak says, pointing out exactly why he thinks Apple Pay is so much better. “With Apple Pay you just hold up your locked phone and put your finger on the home key. It has helped me and even saved me in many situations.”

Adds Wozniak:

I tried [Apple Pay] when I saw PayPass in a store in Australia — I was buying a prepaid SIM card — but it didn’t go all the way there. At least not yet. But [Apple Pay] is so much easier in [most] cases … it’s going to be a big start toward some eventual world standard, like WiFi was.”

As for the old Android vs Apple debate, don’t expect Wozniak to totally defect from Android any time soon.

“I’m not switching [away from Android] in any sense of the word,” he insists. “I have always been iPhone primarily and iPhone at heart,” Wozniak says. “And I am appreciating the new iPhones greatly,” he added. “It’s a relief and a good sign when I need fewer products to play with … [But] I’ll likely buy and play with any novel or outstanding Android phones in the future, too …”

Case in point: Wozniak was full of praise for the YotaPhone, despite “the fact that it’s a bit thick.”

I have three YotaPhones,” Wozniak says. “I was given one during a speech I gave. Before I had time to get it going in English they sent a second one. Recently they sent me a (double-screen_ YotaPhone2 model, which I do want to try. I saw good demos of the ePaper screen.”

A recent report claimed Wozniak wanted a YotaPhone. An odd thing to say since he already has three.

“I might have said something about a Yota phone but since I had one before they were close to this country it doesn’t make sense that I said I wanted one.”

Side by side with a standard Android phone, the YotaPhone has a huge advantage,” Wozniak told me. “I like that. But currently I like the latest thinnest phones and the Yota phone is still a bit thick.”

Check out:
Steve Wozniak: I Never Said Apple Should Make an Android Phone
Steve Wozniak: Too Bad They Forgot the Engineeer

Steve Wozniak: I Never Criticized the New Apple iPad, Reporters Got It Wrong

For aNewDomain, I’m Gina Smith.
Below, publicity shot of Gina Smith with Steve Wozniak for the first edition of iWoz: Carter Dow.

Cover photo of Steve Wozniak: by Carter Dow

Disclosure: Gina Smith, as co-author of the Steve Wozniak memoir, iWoz, is a business partner of Wozniak’s and directly derives income from the sale of that book.

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