"There's nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market." It sounds like the sort of thing a message board troll would say to get a rise out of you in a forum you should stopped reading 15 minutes ago. It is not what you'd expect to hear from one of Apple's co-founders.
And yet, that's exactly what Steve Wozniak said in an interview with Wired's Mat Honan at the Apps World North America conference this week. Now, to be fair to Woz, it was part of a larger point he was making about Samsung not innovating and just throwing in extra features. Still, going on to say "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" is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Back the same platform that Steve Jobs hated with the fire of a thousand burning suns? The one he considered a stolen product? And the one that Apple competes with, using its own phone, its own operating system, and millions of apps for which it gets a cut of each sale? Other than that, Woz, your plan seems flawless.
Not to pile on the big guy, but we thought of five things Apple would make ages before they'd make an Android phone. Not counting easy things like unicorns and unicorn docking stations. Got any more? Tell us in the comments.
A smart thermostat
Tony Fadell of Nest was on Apple's original iPod team--when Google purchased Nest for $3.2 billion, it acqui-hired a lot of former Apple design talent. It's highly unlikely Apple would enter a new space just to compete with ex-employees, but who knows, someday Cupertino might want to give connected home systems the old Apple one-two hardware-software punch. Or it could just support some carefully chosen third-party partners on an OS level--like how Nike+ integration is built into iOS.
A robot assistant
When Wired asked Woz what area he'd go into if he were a young engineer today, the answer was artificial intelligence. Apple could snap up a company like iRobot and turn loose an army of robots that clean our homes while acting as AirPlay receivers. OK, OK, yes, I just want DJ Roomba with an Apple logo on it.
A video game console
Apple tried and failed at this before--remember the Pippin? And nobody likes to relive their failures. But Apple could still put games on your television--you can already mirror some games from an iOS device to an Apple TV and use the iPhone or iPad as a controller, and there are rumors Apple will add an App Store to a future Apple TV for more native gaming. Even if it doesn't play Elder Scrolls or 12-man multiplayer Call of Duty, plenty of iOS games would translate well to a big screen. And now that the gaming consoles are living room entertainment hubs, the Apple TV isn't that far behind. Closer than Nintendo.
Backpacks and bags (sorry, Evernote)
At 2013's Evernote Conference, CEO Phil Libin spent part of his keynote telling the story of how the company insisted on designing the sign for its new building in-house. Only it didn't come out how they wanted, and in the end they took too much time doing something outside their wheelhouse when they should be focused on improving Evernote. Then minutes later he announced the rollout of Evernote-branded lifestyle products, created with partners, including backpacks, T-shirts, and "business socks."
Apple has a retail channel that can sell whatever third-party accessories fit its brand image--even exclusive items like this bag, so there's no reason for the company need to make its own. But even an Apple-branded black mockneck would be more likely than an Android phone. That'd be like making an Apple T-shirt with a Google logo on it. Or a pair of socks for your iPod. And that would be screwy.
Forget self-driving cars. What about a skateboard that doesn't need wheels?! It's genius. Apple could start by purchasing Yuneec and adding Multi-Touch support to the remote control that lets you control the speed of its awesome E-Go Cruiser longboard. (You can also use an iOS device already--convenient!) Then just figure out how to take the wheels off...somehow. As long as doing so doesn't require Android.