This is the urban world’s age-old debate. Which one’s better? Prefer one, and hordes would seize the opportunity to pounce on you. Android and iOS are the two primary mobile operating systems currently shaping the world’s mobile experience. Data-driven folks will always cautiously nudge you – it’s not fair to compare apples and oranges. I believe strongly in data. It’s objective. Always reveals reality. There’s no ambiguity. But hey, there’s something called experience and comfort.
The operating system on your device goes beyond a smartphone or a tablet. It expands to form the entire ecosystem of services and additional hardware accessories. It shapes your world. You may not realize it, but it does. Considering that there is no strong third alternative, you’ve settled for either of the two. The reasons for your choice may differ. To each, his/her own. After initially flirting with Nokia, I settled with Android. 4.4 KitKat to be precise. Android wasn’t perfect. iOS was way better back then. My friends who used iOS devices would make fun of Android. It had its vast list of imperfections, and I wasn’t a huge fan of it.
Over the past decade, I graduated from a feature phone to dumb phones and eventually smartphones. I have stuck around as an Android user with occasional dabbles in the failed Windows Phone Mobile ecosystem along and an attempt to check the hype around iOS and iPhone devices in general. I’ve seen phenomenal change with my friends’ preferences too. With the launch of the latest iPhone device lineup with the Apple iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max along with iOS 12, the age-old debate has again come to the front. How much is too much?
Watch: Apple iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR First Look
With the discussion gathering steam, I found it amusing at how some portions of the internet implied that iOS stood tall over the Android ecosystem. With the intensifying discussions, I felt that it was time to share my thoughts on why I firmly believe that Android is much better than iOS has ever been.
Features and options
Comparing the features and the sheer number of options available in Android, I believe that this is a low-hanging fruit in this debate. You are free to disagree with me. But Android is all about providing options to its users instead of boxing them in a corner to learn or unlearn. Apple, on the other hand, made a choice about what you need.
Instead of the walled garden that Apple is, Android believes in choice and customization giving users the full control of their experience.
Freedom of choice and price
Closed hardware and software integration (mastered by Apple) is great. But it also limits device options. Talking about choice, Android gives you a vast pool of vendors and OEMs to choose from. That’s stating the obvious, but we need to appreciate realities around us. And appreciate them. In effect, ecosystems determine the amount of money you’d need to spend on your next smartphone. Not everyone can spend a lakh for a smartphone. With Android, you have the choice between buying a budget, or even entry-level smartphone. This freedom is the greatest weapon for Android, and definitely the most effective for a market such as India.
Apple indirectly reaffirmed this by refusing to launch a considerably cheaper device in the form of Apple iPhone SE 2. The final blow was when the company announced that it’s discontinuing the iPhone SE. This means that if you’re in the Apple ecosystem then either be content with your old phone or burn a hole in your pocket.
Free to choose the brand, experience, and flavor
Even though this is closely associated to the freedom of choice and money that you want to spend on your smartphone but it is worth emphasizing that the user has a number of brands that they can look at if they are planning to buy a new smartphone.
The design of smartphones offered by all these brands may not be drastically different but it still is considerably different than what we have seen with iPhone devices. The options extend to the software that comes with these devices with Android device makers offering their own custom Android-based skinned interfaces. I wish I could say it, but buying a smartphone should be like buying ice cream. You taste each a bit, settle for one, without the thought that you can’t afford one.
Last, but not the least, is the innovative technologies that Android devices pack as compared to Apple. Almost every year, Apple goes on stage and claims that they are the first company to introduce a particular technology in the iPhone. But for the most part, the company is months if not years late to the game. I am sure that Apple has improved implementation in some cases but the claim about being the first company to introduce a technology to the industry is absolutely incorrect.
To recount examples, the company claimed that it as first to introduce the variable aperture software feature where it allows users to change the background blur in a portrait photo after the photo was shot including the multi-frame capture and processing. The changing of the aperture feature has long been present in Android devices while Google did the multi-frame capture and processing last year with their Pixel 2 lineup. The company also claimed that it was the first company with a 7nm-based SoC but Huawei was the first to introduce a 7nm SoC to the market.
Huawei may not have launched its latest 7nm-based Kirin SoC just yet, but it’s relatively a newcomer to the SoC manufacturing process as compared to Apple. Apple also claimed that iPhone X was the first device to come with a bezel-less design but the first Mi MIX had given us a glimpse into bezel-less devices before Apple. That was 2016. There are a number of other such instances where Apple has claimed to be the first in the market to introduce some new technology which isn’t really the case. Truth be told, everyone has the freedom for their own preferences. But to the larger smartphone market out there, Android is simply more practical than any other. Whether iOS or any other obscure third alternative. As it continues to improve, it gets better each year.