Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has today hit out at smartphones, accusing device manufacturers of putting technology before people--and revealed that he's disappointed by Apple's decision to launch the iPhone without 3G.
Speaking today at the Broadband and Beyond conference in Sydney, Wozniak said: "To tell you the truth, I was disappointed...half the phones in the AT&T [the exclusive mobile carrier for the iPhone in the United States] store were 3G already."
The self-confessed mobile broadband speed-freak Wozniak said that he has used the device in spite of the bandwidth restrictions: "I sufficed with it in a lot of cases... but when things are going too slowly, I'll get frustrated and I'll do it on my laptop later," he added.
Currently, the iPhone can only access EDGE networks--often referred to as 2.75 G, as they offer speeds above GPRS networks but below the lowest speed 3G networks--which are capable of providing a downlink in the low hundreds of Kbps.
Apple's decision to launch the iPhone without 3G connectivity was attributed by CEO Steve Jobs as an issue with battery life--"Right now you make a really big trade off going to 3G--and that's really bad battery life," he said at the U.K. launch of the device. However, Wozniak queried the existence of power issues with next-generation devices. "I get as much life on my 3G phones as I get on my non-3G phones," Wozniak noted. "I don't think it's just a battery issue."
Although the Apple handset remains incapable of connecting to what carriers have termed 'mobile broadband', also known as HSDPA, Wozniak complemented the Apple handset on its Web user interface saying he had experimented with a vast array of rival smart devices, none of which had come up to scratch. "Not one of them made me feel good about accessing the Internet, browser-style until the iPhone," he said.
He also criticized rival smartphones for not promoting ease of use. "I'm learning to use their menus, it's awkward. I feel like a slave and less important than the technology."
"With a lot of smartphones, I have lots of frustration. It wasn't easy to navigate around, get what I want. I have some successes and some frustrations with smartphones."
Wozniak also gave the thumbs-up to the iPhone's suite of applications, which are expected to be expanded with the unveiling of the iPhone's SDK roadmap later this week. However, despite his praise for the iPhone's data capabilities, Wozniak said there's one area where the iPhone falls down.
"For voice, I still want another phone," he said.