“It’s confusing. It just works. The camera is so great. There’s unlimited choice. It’s more secure.”
“He’s just a fanboy. He must be paid by Samsung, Apple, or Google to write that post.”
The war of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS is quite a fun debate. It’s such a great topic that no matter how many Opinions or Editorials are written about it, there will always be thousands of readers who will join in on the fun. There are so many truths and myths to both sides of the debate, and so many biases that it’s hard to get a real and honest opinion.
There are so many people who claim to know everything about both platforms, yet very few who actually use both on a regular basis. Claims are made from both sides of the battlefield, without actual proof or evidence to back it up. Heck, even the opinion pieces that do cite actual tests to back up claims, often used skewed data to favor the foregone conclusion.
You may think I am already going to favor Android since I write for a site called AndroidGuys, but truth be told I am more of a technology fan above all else.
For my primary job as a Medicinal Chemist, I use a Windows PC, and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet. For writing at AndroidGuys, I use a Macbook Pro 15″, and for personal travel I use a Macbook. My primary smartphone is whatever device I am reviewing, which is a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. My work phone is an iPhone 6S+, and for personal use at home, I mainly use an iPad Pro for my goto tablet. The point is that I think I have used both products enough to give a fair assessment of the fundamental differences are between them.
The statements and opinions I am making in this post do not necessarily reflect the other writers here at AndroidGuys.com. When speaking positive or negative about one platform over the other doesn’t mean I am a fanboy of one over the other. Sometimes my viewpoint will differ from yours, but that is the fun in technology. I love it all.
Google’s Android – Choice
Be together. Not the Same.
Android is an open source software stack for a wide range of mobile devices and a corresponding open source project led by Google.
Google’s Android is open source software that any manufacturer can use on hardware it designs and creates. There are guidelines that Google puts in place for manufacturers to adhere to, but generally speaking manufacturers have a lot of freedom to deliver a product they think is best for the consumer.
According to Quora, Google makes 90% of its revenue from advertising.
Competition to be the best manufacturer within Android is stiff. Google (Alphabet) isn’t in the game of controlling every aspect of hardware, instead its bread and butter is advertising. It makes money through advertising by offering free productivity software, search, Chrome OS, and biggest of all, Android. Android itself is free for manufacturers to use, as well as the apps within it like Gmail, Chrome, Search, and so on. Google’s business model relies on using its software to generate ad revenue.
This allows Google to focus mainly on software, while other manufacturers like Samsung, LG and Huawei focus on hardware. Separating the two allows manufacturers to put lots of effort into giving its customers unique hardware. You can get Android phones for as cheap as $40, or you can get them as pricey as $15,000 dollars with the limited edition Vertu Bentley series phone.
Androids come with curved or dual displays, AMOLED or LCD, up to 4K resolution, optical zoom cameras, deca-core processors, 1GB-6GB of RAM…the list of hardware features is almost infinite. Metal, glass, plastic, carbon fiber – Androids come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The choice is yours to pick and choose what you want.
If you don’t use smartphones a whole lot, you can get budget phones like the Nexus 5X and pair it to Google’s Project Fi cellular service, and break free from carriers. Conversely, you may always be on your smartphone and might want to use unlimited data from T-Mobile where you can stream endless videos and music on your large screened Nexus 6P. Or you might just want the fastest smartphone camera on earth with the Samsung Galaxy S7.
All of that choice can lead to confusion. Most consumers in the US don’t want to do research in order to pick the right smartphone they are going to use for the next two to three years.
USB Type-C or micro USB? Quick Charge versus Fast Charge. Samsung TouchWiz, HTC Sense, CyanogenMod, Oxygen OS, LG UI, Xperia UI. Most consumers would ask, “what is all of this stuff?” For enthusiasts like you and me, we love the differences. We love to customize – change our icon packs, launchers, etc.
To others they want the best possible experience and want it unified. Sometimes too much choice is unnecessary.
Apple iOS – Control
The vision of Steve Jobs is a once in a lifetime phenomenon. Give customers the best experience possible by controlling everything.
One phone to rule them all. Technically speaking, there is the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6, and iPhone SE currently for sale. Three phones to compete with the hundred different Androids. Where Google makes 90% of its revenue from advertising, Apple makes roughly 70% of its revenue from the iPhone.
Steve Jobs, the iconic hero to many tech geeks, had a vision to change the world. He wanted to enrich peoples lives, and was willing to tune out what everyone else was telling him to do. Apple controls its software and hardware to the point where no one else in the entire world can use its software on their products. If it’s an iPhone, it was made by Apple.
Carriers have to play by Apple’s rules if they want to sell its phones. No carrier bloatware. No rebranding packaging. Apps in the App Store are under higher scrutiny than apps in the Google Play Store. That’s a good thing.
The FBI and NSA can’t break Apple’s encryption no matter how hard they try. They can’t even force Apple to break its own encryption under a judge’s orders. Apple does everything in its power to give its users the best experience possible while keeping their information private. Google on the other hand, mines data from its customers through its “free” software.
Apple controls its customer experience by having its own stores filled with “Geniuses” who are there to help its customers. Apple understands that customer service is one of the most important factors when customers have issues, and it regularly scores as one of the best. Whereas with an LG or Samsung smartphone, you might have go through your carrier in order to get service. Or you might have to go direct to the manufacturer, in which case, no Android manufacturer has stores that can fix your phones or offer face-to-face support.
With one operating system, users aren’t confused by different skins or UIs, and can rely on each other for help. If Dad has an issue with his iPhone, he can just call my brother for help since he has an iPhone too. Whereas Mom, who has a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can only come to me for help since no one else she knows has the same Android device as her.
Apple sets limitations on what it thinks it can do best. It won’t compete in every area of technology like Samsung and LG do. You won’t find Apple televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, cameras, or vacuums. You will get Mac computers, the iPhone, iPad, the Apple Watch, iPods(Music), and Apple TV. That’s pretty much it, with some accessories that it makes to enhance those products. Apple’s focus is refined and targeted at what it can do best.
By going with Apple you get just one major hardware revision every two years. You won’t get waterproofing, or curved 2k displays. You won’t have the freedom to change the look and feel of your UI with launchers or icons until Apple decides its acceptable. Wireless charging, 6″ displays, or large capacity batteries aren’t options with Apple.
The cost of owning Apple products is high. The cheapest phone you can get from Apple is the $400 iPhone SE which is a three year old design. Three years is a long time when it comes to mobile technology. If you want the large iPhone 6S+, you will need to shell out at least $750. Budget pricing isn’t an option. iPhones aren’t accessible to many around the globe simply due to the price.
Freedom versus Control
However you want to look at it, both Google (Alphabet) and Apple get it right. Respectively they are the second and first most valuable companies in the world. At one point this year, for about 24 hours, Google was even more valuable to than Apple. Google leads market share globally through choice, but Apple leads in market value through control.
Having both is great for all of us. It creates stiff competition, and advances technology at a faster rate than ever. So no matter what camp you’re in, Android or iOS, without both we wouldn’t have the great devices in our pockets now. Both achieved greatness by following different paths, but at the end of the day, the result is the same – Happy customers.
You can check out some of my favorite devices for yourselves by clicking on the highlighted names below.