On the face of it, Steve Wozniak’s idea of an Apple Android phone is completely out of left field.
Coming from a man renowned for stirring up controversy, it'd be easy to dismiss his call for Apple to explore its arch-rival's OS as nothing more than high-level,tech-world trolling.
But is Apple’s co–founder onto something? Could Cupertino really do something so bold and take over the mobile world in the process?
Woz’s comments, made to Wired, raise some interesting points.
He said: “There’s nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market.
“We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of stylings and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time.”
He’s right to say that there’s nothing to stop Apple using Android.
The software is free after all and Google has no way of stopping manufacturers piling in.
That’s why it’s so attractive to big and small players and what has helped Google’s OS to blitz Microsoft in the smartphone space.
Google might not be impressed, but Apple could feasibly use its software. Woz’s notion of a ‘secondary phone market’ is interesting.
The iPhone 5C was perhaps slated to be seen in this category, but with its decent specs and high price it remains a top–end phone.
With sales of the plastic iPhone struggling and the iPhone 5S surging, it’s unlikely Apple will repeat this two–pronged experiment again.
But can it really continue to use older phones as its budget options? An Android phone could give it a different take.
Sure, Apple could compete. Design–wise, there is still no one to touch them.
The HTC One came close, but all other Android phones look plasticky and cheap by comparison.
Not a single mobile-maker has a designer with the far–reaching vision of Jony Ive. If they did, they’d be way out in front.
Of course, there are huge obstacles which mean this will never happen.
An Apple Android phone would have to use Google’s Play Store, a no-no seeing as the App Store is Apple’s biggest cash cow.
It could use forked Android or non–Google services (up to 25% of new Android phones do this according to recent figures), but then what would be the appeal?
What Woz’s intervention does do, though, is throw down the gauntlet.
Why shouldn’t Apple start looking to compete across the smartphone space properly?
And if it did, how would a device that had appeal to budget users look?
These are questions Apple may need to face as the years go by.
An Apple Android phone won’t happen. But the thought processes such a phone throws up could lead to more innovative kit in the future.