The Great Debate: Android vs iOS
After you navigate through all of the media hoopla, fan boy rants online, and flashy ad campaigns what really separates the two behemoth mobile operating systems Android vs iOS? At first glance, the answer to the average user may not be a whole lot, especially after Apple pushed out its operating system’s latest facelift iOS7. This update left many Android and Windows phone users proclaiming iOS7 stole popular features from other operating systems. Dedicated Apple users are giving the iOS mediocre reviews and ratings. It also seems they are feeling a little shell shocked and quite literally blindsided by the new minimalist, and extremely bright theme re-tooling.
As the mobile operating system market continues to mature, it is only natural that certain popular features are going to be borrowed, tweaked, and reworked for companies to stay relevant and fresh in this is hyper competitive industry. One of the main issues that iOS users would often gripe about is the inability to quickly access useful controls and notifications from the home screen. Their answer, the “notification center” works great, and can easily be accessed with a swift slide of your thumb at the bottom of the screen, but it shares a stark resemblance to the same notification bar that Android users have enjoyed for years. Easy multitasking was another sore spot for many iOS users, something that was resolved by adding in a very effective multitasking function. This function is efficient, but still shares a distinct resemblance to how multitasking is accomplished on the Android OS. As a whole, the look and feel between a stock Android OS and iOS 7 are starting to feel very similar, which forces unbiased users to look a little closer to make a decision.
Android’s real selling point isn’t the look it comes with stock form Google- most users never even experience Android in its native form, the real appeal is how easily malleable it is. Any hipster rocker, corporate executive, or soccer mom can completely rearrange their Android OS to suit their specific needs and tastes. Android by design is intended to be tweaked and re-worked to satisfy the aesthetic and functional needs of even the pickiest of users. Apple on the other hand, takes the approach of creating a one size fits all approach which has been wildly successful for them in the early years of the smartphone. This tactic now appears to be losing steam, because it relies so heavily on Apple’s creative team adding groundbreaking features to their OS time and time again. As the years, and advancement of Android’s OS go by, Apple definitely seems to understand their customers desire to be unique and customize their device. This may be a contributing factor to why Apple is pushing the new brightly colored iPhone 5c. What they seem to be failing to realize, is that what people really want to do is customize the way their phone functions- not just what color it is. A good indicator of this desire is the prolific use of iOS “jailbreak” software to allow users to add extra steps of customization and uniqueness to their iOS experience. Hackers all over the globe are diligently working on a jailbreak for iOS 7 to satisfy the masses of iOS users seeking individuality.
Aside from the ability to customize the look and feel of the OS, compatibly with a range of devices and software platforms is another major draw for Android users. Since Android is compatible with a range of devices and brands, it has been able to overtake Apple in market share with Android at 51.6% and Apple at 40.7%. Blackberry and Microsoft round off the top 4 at 4% and 3.2% market share respectively. Apple had a significant head start in the smartphone arena but in the post-Steve Jobs era their lead has been gradually eroded away by aggressive competition. Apple’s once storied ability to be the most groundbreaking smartphone producer has faded in the wake of Android’s ability to innovate. So whatever conclusion you personally come to, the great debate will undoubtedly continue on message boards across the internet and in the hearts of both iOS and Android proponents everywhere.