Things are getting really confusing.
The 3.5 inch smartphone (the iPhone) released by Apple in 2007 set a new standard for other phones. As we approach 2013, there have been more than 365 million iOS device sold. That figure is really low compared to Android’s 500 million activations by now. Why? Is Android better? Or is iOS? Well today, I will compare some of the main features of both iOS and Android,
and pick a winner for you.
Round 1: User Interface and Consistency
iOS 6 offers a clean and elegant looking design. You may have seen sweet, clean Jelly Bean on the Galaxy Nexus, but it won’t look the same on the Galaxy S3: Samsung skins the OS with its TouchWiz UI (and HTC installs Sense, and Motorola installs MOTOBLUR). Even if you like the added features, there’s no denying they complicate the OS.
iOS 6 on the other hand, is consistent on all Apple’s devices. You’ll get the same experience on an iPhone, an iPad or an iPod. While it may not make such a difference to us techno geeks, it does matter for all the others out there. iOS keeps apps (and developers) on a very tight leash, which results in a far more stable and predictable experience. So this round goes to Apple’s iOS 6.
Jelly Bean: 0
iOS 6: 1
Round 2: Customization
Both iOS 6 and Jelly Bean have a great default interface. But maybe you want to change the default keyboard or mail-app or launcher. Or maybe you hate clicking on the calendar app and you’d rather just have a home-screen widget. Or maybe video wallpapers just make you swoon.
Well, iOS won’t let you do any of those things (without jailbreaking your device). Here, Android has a clear advantage – one of the best parts of Android is its deep-rooted customization options.
Android offers unlimited levels of customization. But ultimately, it depends on what the user want. Does he/she want a device which is less prone to malware, or a device which offer unlimited customization. I, for one am with Android in this matter. You might be too. Round 2 goes to Google.
Jelly Bean: 1
iOS 6: 1
Round 3: Maps vs Maps
You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. We won’t draw this out. Google Maps is way better than Apple Maps. Is Apple’s satellite 3D view cool? Sure (when it works), but I’d still take Street View any day.
Google’s turn-by-turn navigation is better (even though Jelly Bean pushes it to a separate app), and with caching for offline map viewing it’ll still work on the Nexus 7 after it’s out of WiFi range. And there’s walking directions, and public transportation, and Google’s patently superior data-set – the product of a Maps workforce of more than 7000 employees.
Jelly Bean: 2
iOS 6: 1
Round 4: App Store vs. Play Store
What about the apps? Well, there are a lot of these, on both platforms – like well into the hundreds of thousands. Apple will probably beat Google to a million apps, but not by much. And that number doesn’t really mean anything anyway, because so many of these apps – again, on both platforms – are straight-up garbage. (Tablet-specific Android apps are an exception that we’d like to just see way more of.)
The iOS app library is still a huge advantage. But the surprise is that it’s no longer a dealbreaking one. The Google Play app store has finally clawed its way past the Line of Adequacy and has collapsed, exhausted, with its chest over the “Very Good” boundary. Apps that were once only available to iOS users are now available to Android users too. But, still, in this category Apple is better. This round goes to Apple.
Jelly Bean: 2
iOS 6: 2
Round 5: Google Now vs. Siri
Siri has greatly improved. Apple is aiming to make the virtual assistant more than just a novelty. Siri’s newest features include her ability to speak sports scores and standings.
In addition to keeping you on top of your favorite teams, Siri can also make a reservation for you at your favorite restaurant via OpenTable. And movie fans rejoice: Siri can let you know what movies are playing at your local theater.
Despite Siri’s new additions, though, she is no match for Google Now.
Google Now gets to know you personally. It is designed to be truly helpful. In addition to providing you with sports scores Google Now scans your calendar and lets you know when to leave so you’ll make your next appointment on time.
This round goes to Google.
Jelly Bean: 3
iOS 6: 2
Round 6: BloatWare
Bloatware apps are just like garden weeds. You don’t want it, and you don’t need it. Maybe you use Newsstand, Stocks and/or Game Center. But many others don’t. Apple should give us the option to uninstall these apps, right? Well, they don’t. I like the fact that Apple has given us the choice of Youtube on our iOS device. At the expense of installing it manually if we need it. It’s just better to have the choice. And Apple has always refused to let wireless carriers put bloatware on the iPhone.
On the other hand, I really haven’t seen a Android device that doesn’t have carrier installed bloatware on it. In fairness, it really isn’t out of control on Jelly Bean yet: if you’ve got the 4.1 update (and you’re not in Poland or reading this from the future) that means you’re on a Nexus class device. Those have less carrier bloatware (i.e. only two lousy Verizon apps) than other Android phones. But Samsung’s other phones (like the Galaxy S3) along with HTC’s and even Motorola’s probably won’t come out as clean. This round goes to Apple’s iOS 6.
Jelly Bean: 3
iOS 6: 3
Round 7: Hardware and Support
On one hand, app developers hate it, and even as a user it’s often possible to tell when a particular app hasn’t been optimized for your device.
On the other hand, diversity means choice. Android users have the choice of getting a smartphone according to their needs. Apple users can only choose between the iPhone, iPod and iPad.
Android users have dozens of budget to high-end hardware options. If none of them is quite as impressive as the latest iPhone, three new ones will close the gap within a few months. You can buy an Android phone with or without NFC, with as much or as little storage space as you need, with a big screen or a huge screen. With no memory, or 64 GB of memory. The options are really impressive. Jelly Bean wins this round.
Jelly Bean: 4
iOS 6: 3
Round 8: Updates
If it’s important to you to get updates in a timely manner, there’s just no contest.
It has been over 24 weeks since Jelly Bean released on July 9th this year, and its user-base is still under 5% of Android users. That’s because it was only available to Nexus-class devices (and not even to all of them). That’s just a really big disappointment for an awesome OS.
The first roll-out of Jelly Bean to Samsung’s non-Nexus devices comes better late than never, but at the risk of saying Apple would never do that!, well, Apple never has.
When Apple releases a new OS, it ensures that every device which is compatible with that particular OS gets it on day one. In this case, that gave it an adoption rate more than 100 times greater than Jelly Bean’s. What that proves is that people want these yearly updates. Over 100 million devices upgraded in the first week it was available – just because it was available. Apple wins this round.
Jelly Bean: 4
iOS 6: 4
And the winner is:
Really? You thought I would choose a winner? Well, no. Both of these are awesome operating system’s and you can’t go wrong with any of these. You should go with Android if you want a personalised device. iOS is for those who want a simple, trouble-free experience and consistent updates.
I personally prefer iOS.