Apple co-founder and latter-day peripatetic tech guru Steve Wozniak pronounced, courtesy of the BBC’s Click technology program, on how he thinks his old buddies at Apple should learn to share – as should Google, Samsung, and all the rest.

“I wish everybody just did a lot of cross-licensing and sharing the good technology, all our products would be better, we’d go further. I do wish they were more compatible,” said Woz. And obviously, the putative iWatch and wearable devices were top of his mind. “I want a full smartphone type capability on my wrist,” he said. But Woz also remarked that he was far more interested in a reasonably-sized device, specifically instancing the iPod Nano as a form factor he wasn’t comfortable with. “I want the larger size wearable,” he remarked to the BBC interviewer, adding that “organic LED displays could theoretically be printed on plastic and wrapped and folded. We’re just on the verge of products that have foldability and flexibility.”

If Woz is thinking of smartwatches, then you can see the areas he might be thinking of for technology cooperation, in terms of display technology. But he didn’t spare Apple’s blushes in references to other mobile technology areas where Google seems to have an edge, especially voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri and maps. “”Sometimes I say ‘Go to Joe’s Diner’ and [Siri] doesn’t know where Joe’s Diner is. And very often usually I find out that Android does,” he said. And yes, Apple Maps was one of the most conspicuous fiascos in the Cupertino big boy’s attempt to take all its marbles away from Google and the other kids in the sandbox and go home to sulk in its walled garden.

And think, as Wozniak has obviously been thinking, of the benefits of some more grown-up behavior. With Apple no longer under pressure to pretend that it’s the one and only Innovator, we’d be spared the cringe-making embarrassment of Tim Cook trying to claim how original and different the form factor of the iPad Mini is. We’d be spared petty, spiteful and destructive patent lawsuits aimed at hurting each other’s products that in the end hurt only the consumer – and the filer’s public image, and the credibility of the patent system. Who knows? With all that money, resources and intellectual firepower no longer tied up in the legal department’s hands, Apple might even be able to get back down to some serious product R&D and become genuinely innovative again.

” I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners in the future,” said Wozniak. Maybe Apple should be wishing it too.

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Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Vodafone Smart Grand 6. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.


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