iOS vs Android: No Winner Here

It seems like every few months or so, there’s another round of iOS vs. Android posts online. Usually corresponding to the most recent OS version released by Apple or Google.

Having switched from Android relatively recently, and finding myself generally enjoying most (but not) aspects of iOS, I think both OSes do a good job.

While reading through my RSS feeds earlier this week, I stumbled across this great summary of the two operating systems.

It’s quite short (especially given the subject matter) at only 9 medium-length paragraphs, but I thought it was very insightful. I’ve included some of my favorite snippets, along with my thoughts, below.

Check out the full (short) article here.

Monetization of Android vs iOS:

The fact still remains that Google make nothing from Android and hardly anything from Google Play, so they need to keep your attention somehow. My biggest concern with using Android has always been my privacy exchange

This is an incredibly succinct way to say something I’ve noticed more and more over the past 3-4 years. Android is free and open-source – Google continues to pour millions of dollars into it, not because it makes money, but because of the data they get from it.

Remember that Alphabet (Google’s parent company) made about 85% of their revenue for the Q2 of 2019 from ads (desktop and mobile ads, Youtube ads, Map ads, etc.). The other 15% percent of Alphabet’s revenue comes from everything else: Google Play Store, Google services, hardware, etc.

No wonder Google is pushing notifications that “update” you on recently searched topics. The more often you’re in the Google Search app (which is now built into the home screen), the more ads you see (and the more ads they can sell. Plus, that means more mobile engagement (like Maps) which gives them more data, which means better ad targeting.

On software quality and services:

Android is the more useful operating system, it makes it much easier to interact with notifications and find things you need instantly. Google was the trail blazer in giving users tools for free that typically cost money and monetizing it in other ways – see Google Maps for an example…Apple may not be in the business on monetizing your data, but the OS and all the free apps that go with it are there to pull you in so they can sell you other things.

I’ve definitely noticed these two different approaches while using iOS and Android.

I don’t know which is better in the long run, but I have come to appreciate paying developers more money upfront for apps or services, in the hopes that they continue to improve those apps responsibly. Free apps are great, but most developers will try to make their money back somehow, and if you aren’t paying with money, you may be paying in other ways.

I personally find it easier to just not buy services or apps I don’t want or need.

On hardware selection:

A huge selling point for Android is that it is far more exciting from a hardware perspective…In exchange for giving up [hardware choice with Apple] you get the best source of high quality, diverse and sometimes expensive software in existence.

This another negative in the abstract that turned out to be positive for me.

I used to love keeping up with the latest-and-greatest Android phones. From the original Android G1 (with its crazy keyboard) to the Note line (giant screen and stylus), the Yotaphone (dual screen with E-Ink), the Samsung Fold, and many others, Android hardware is an incredible ecosystem.

This constant iteration does have some downsides, though. Probably the most well-known is the uncertainty about when or even if your Android phone will be updated. This isn’t specifically Android (or Google’s) fault, but it definitely something to be aware of. It’s worth pointing out, though, that the update situation is much better now than it was even 2 or 3 years ago. In addition to the unpredictable software support, hardware support for all Android devices is very much non-existent (unless you want to void your warranty).

Apple, though, generally supports their devices for 4+ years, and they have a network of Apple stores (and certified repair shops) to take care of things like battery and screen replacements under warranty and with a relatively quick turnaround.

However, the nicest thing (for me) about the monolith that is iPhone and iPad hardware is that I don’t really pay attention to it. The new devices come out once a year, and that is the new stuff. With Android, each OEM had its own release schedule, and that meant that there was generally a new device at least once a month. Since I enjoyed tech, keeping up with it was fun, but it was also a pretty big time commitment that I really don’t miss too much.

I’m still on the periphery of Android, though. I still have (and enjoy) my Chromebook, and I still try to keep up-to-date on Android (since I’m the resident tech support for family and friends), but that’s it. And I don’t really miss it too much.

Read the whole (short) article by Greg Morris here.