Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has stated in an interview that he favours Windows Phone over Android in terms of “looks and beauty” and that apps for the Microsoft OS look “much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone.”
Wozniak, who founded Apple alongside Steve Jobs in the late 70s, is known to be a gadget hoarder and carries a number of devices around at any one time. During an interview with tech website A New Domain he was asked his thoughts on his various handsets and described in great detail why he feels that Windows Phone (in this case operating on his Nokia Lumia 800) offers the most aesthetically pleasing experience.
When further discussing the issue, the tech legend said: “I’m kind of shocked on every screen — much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone.
“So I think that what Microsoft or Nokia did is that they went to some of the key app makers and got them to deliberately make specialised beautiful ones or they put their own themes on.”
Wozniak even went so far as to suggest that the spirit of Steve Jobs is being channelled through the platform, saying: “I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS [Microsoft] due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things.”
The Apple founder did point out after the interview that he still sees the iPhone as the number one handset however.
“I did give my opinion that the Windows 7P phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive” said Wozniak.
“In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps.”
Mr Wozniak’s opinions started a somewhat heated debate in the Dialaphone office as to how important aesthetics are in the world of mobile software. The beauty of the Windows Phone platform cannot be denied, but do buyers look really look for the prettiest interface when purchasing a handset?
Functionality is obviously, at the core of OS and UI design (as intuitive as it is, no one would ever call the BlackBerry OS interface beautiful), however, certain elements of all platforms do have aspects which are easy on the eye.
The iOS UI is arguably seen as beautiful due to its elegant simplicity, with prime functionality meaning an almost anti-design ethos takes place. In this respect, the platform reflects the mindset of Steve Jobs and to a larger extent Jonathan Ive.
Android is a more complicated affair, thanks to its open-source foundations and the myriad overlay UIs incorporated by different manufacturers. However, the ‘pure’ iteration of ICS on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus demonstrated how stunning an interface Android provides when not meddled with. Paradoxically, the Sense UI overlay built into all HTC devices offers users an intuitive, visually stimulating experience.
The aforementioned BlackBerry OS has always been a somewhat utilitarian affair, but even here certain design flourishes give a nod towards aesthetic consideration. The tablet-based PlayBook OS offering the is almost Zen-like in its stark simplicity and many industry insiders have suggested that this may provide the blueprint for the much anticipated BlackBerry OS 10.
Considering all of the above, we would still be hard-pushed to conclude that there is a more visually pleasing platform than Windows Phone 7.5 (particularly when teamed with the luxurious Nokia Lumia 800). The Metro UI is quite frankly astounding and, thanks to Microsoft’s firm grip on third party designs, apps follow a similarly impressive path.
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the idea of one platform being more visually appealing than another will always be a contentious issue. That said, successful aesthetic design does have a way of transcending technology boundaries (the ‘threaded’ display of SMS messages that has become the norm, for example) and it will be extremely interesting to see which features embed themselves as aesthetic principles in the next round of operating system updates.