Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has once again made comments critical of the current direction of the tech giant.
During an interview with Bloomberg, the tech pioneer – who built Apple’s first computers in a garage alongside Steve Jobs – warns Apple risks losing its cool if it fails to innovate.
“We used to have these ads, I’m a Mac and I’m a PC, and the Mac was always the cool guy. And ouch, it’s painful, because we kind of are losing that,” Wozniak says.
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The cool factor was particularly important for Apple, as its critical mass of loyal users is an important part of how the company reshapes product categories.
“[While competitors such as Google or Amazon] all have great ideas, sometimes you need a critical mass of loyal users that will instantly buy and go this direction. Apple is really good at setting a standard with a new device. Apple still has its halo in that regard,” he says.
Wozniak also stresses that getting products right is more important for Apple than being first.
“Apple can keep engineers working so intently toward the right product, you don’t have to rush something out ahead of time.”
The interview follows comments from Wozniak at the Business Week Best Brand Awards show in Germany earlier this month, where he warned that Apple is falling “somewhat behind” its competitors, including Samsung.
“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. Currently we are, in my opinion, somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business,” Wozniak said.
“Others have caught up. Samsung is a big competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products.”
Meanwhile, Apple has even had its “coolness” recognised in British common law – to its disadvantage.
In July last year, UK Judge Colin Birss said in a patent litigation ruling between Samsung and Apple that consumers weren’t likely to get the two confused on the basis that Samsung’s products “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design… They are not as cool”.