The Woz on Siri, iPhone 4S battery life and Android beating iOS on navigation and voice commands (UPDATED)

UPDATE [Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 7:35am ET]: Steve Wozniak commented on the original article on Facebook, saying he’s been misinterpreted (again). His full comment can be found at the bottom of this article.

Journalist Dan Lyons (aka Fake Steve Jobs) filed a report with The Daily Beast on Saturday that highlights Steve Wozniak’s thoughts on the iPhone 4S’s widely reported battery woes (that did not go away with iOS 5.1 Beta 3):

With the iPhone, something happened with the new OS or the new phone, and it just started running through the battery so fast. I’ve had a lot of issues with things I have to turn off just to save the battery life.

Wozniak, 61, who cofounded Apple with Jobs in 1976, also has gripes with Siri. The engineer thinks Siri is cool, but at times impractical compared to Android’s voice action. This is mostly due to Siri’s architectural reliance on network connectivity that is required to complete functions.

I have a lower success rate with Siri than I do with the voice built into the Android, and that bothers me. I’ll be saying, over and over again in my car, ‘Call the Lark Creek Steak House,’ and I can’t get it done. Then I pick up my Android, say the same thing, and it’s done. […] On the 4S I can only do that when Siri can connect over the Internet. But many times it can’t connect. I’ve never had Android come back and say, ‘I can’t connect over the Internet. […] Plus I get navigation. Android is way ahead on that.

Apple is thought to be creating its own navigation and mapping solution stemming from the company’s three mapping-related acquisitions: C3 Technologies, Poly9 in 2010, and Placebase. Wozniak is also good friends with Andy Rubin who heads the Android project and one said, “There’s more available [on Android] in some ways.”

Although Apple did not detail Siri, its voice recognition and artificial intelligence systems run on Apple’s servers rather than the phone itself. Siri may also infringe old Excite patents, said to be changing hands soon as a valuable asset in order to compete with Siri. In case you are wondering, the iPhone remains Wozniak’s primary phone. He loves “the beauty of it,” and he is first to recommend it to friends. However, Wozniak sometimes wants the iPhone to do “all the things my Android does.”

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Founding contract that established Apple Computer Co. up for auction at Sotheby’s

35 years ago, Steve Jobs invited Ron Wayne to persuade Wozniak to join him in his entrepreneurial foray called Apple Computer Co. Jobs and Wayne go back a long way and had known each other from Jobs’s Atari days. Wayne drafted the original four-page founding contract that established Apple Computer Co. on a typewriter and came up with all the legalese of their partnership agreement.

Twelve days later, Wayne left the young startup and sold his stake. 35 years later, the original founding contract goes up for auction at Sothesby’s and is expected to fetch a cool $150,000. Apparently the consigner bought the legal papers back in the mid-1990s “from a manuscript dealer” who is thought to had acquired them from Wayne, Sotheby’s Richard Austin told the publication.

What’s interesting about the documents are the terms of Wayne’s withdrawal from Apple. So, how much did the two Steves compensate Wayne for his ten percent stake of the company, now worth $35 billion? According to Bloomberg:

On April 12, Wayne withdrew as partner. The move is documented by a County of Santa Clara statement and an amendment to the contract, both of which are part of the Sotheby’s lot. Wayne received $800 for relinquishing his 10 percent ownership of Apple, according to the document. He subsequently received another payment of $1,500, according to Sotheby’s.

Included right after the break is a video interview of Ron Wayne with The Next Web’s Matt Brian from September highlighting why he left Apple after just twelve days. One of the reasons is Wayne’s realization that he would be standing in the shadows of geniuses.


The original legal document that established Apple Computer Company (left) and signatures of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne (right).

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Ron Johnson tapping former Apple peers but not poaching…yet

Ron Johnson, Apple’s former vice president of retail and the creator of the Apple Store, left for J.C. Penney November 1 and already he is picking industry veterans to join his leadership team at the Plano, Texas-headquartered department store chain. The Wall Street Journal reports that Johnson is tapping former Apple talent, including former chief financial office of Apple Retail Michael Kramer and Apple’s chief talent officer Daniel Walker.

Interestingly, it was Walker who helped Steve Jobs hire Ron Johnson to head Apple’s retail efforts. Both men served at Apple from 2000 to 2005. Granted, Walker and Kramer are both long-exited Apple people, but the temptation for current Apple talent to somehow make its way to Penney will always linger.

Sure, you might say who would  rather work at J.C. Penney rather than the most powerful, cool technology company in the world. But on a granular level, there might be high paying jobs with Johnson that Apple won’t match that could draw some top Apple talent.  Johnson himself is probably the best example of that.

There is also likely a non-compete clause in Ron Johnson’s severance agreement barring him from poaching Apple employees, but those are easily circumvented.  Just as Steve Jobs poached a bunch of his top Apple engineers to build out NeXT…
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It looks like Apple may have made enough iPhones this time

We are getting a lot of reports that those big lines are clearing and Apple Stores actually have some stock of iPhone 4S left over (the shot above is from Naples, Florida). While the lines are much larger than iPhone 4 lines were during the Verizon launch, they aren’t as big as the iPhone 4 launch lines according to a few reports.

Why? Apple now has more points of sale (+Verizon and Sprint Stores, Sam’s Club, etc). Plus, online pre-orders have been popular with 1 million being sold this year in the first 24 hours on 100 carriers (vs. 5 countries last year). Some analysts are predicting up to 4 million unit sales in the first weekend alone.

From our knowledge of the situation, we’ve heard that Apple has thought ahead this time and ramped up production well ahead of the release. In fact, Apple could have released the iPhone 4S hardware much earlier if the iOS 5 software had been ready.

But that’s good news for those who are trying to get in early on the iPhone 4S but didn’t want to camp out or pre-order.

The bad news? AT&T activation servers seem to be taking some time to activate phones with some users reporting 5-15 minute wait times.

What’s the word on the street out there?

Woz speaks up for net neutrality

Concerned about net neutrality and hold a little inner fear that one day access to the Web will involve tiered access with the ‘real’ Web almost impossible to get to?

Then be glad Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has taken time to tell an FCC net neutrality hearing to do the right thing and enact net neutrality rules that favor the people. Read more

Six of the best Apple books — ever

Apple  generates more column inches of coverage than any other firm on the planet. Love or loathe, millions worldwide are fascinated by what happens in Cupertino — and that’s probably why the company is now one of the biggest in the world dominating the smartphone and tablet industries.

What follows are some of the most essential titles any Apple watcher should read and own if they really want to build up their understanding of the company.

We’ve been watching Apple at work and play for a long, long time. We consider these to be the key titles to help boost understanding of the history and philosophy of the company.

We know that Mac website editors across the planet have a few books forever in the shelf behind their desk, and we figured it would be of some interest if told you which books they are.

So, whether it’s to satisfy your own curiousity, or for a Christmas or birthday present for an Apple fan, we think you really can’t go wrong with any one or all of these titles. Read on…

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