Opinion: iOS or Android or Apple vs. the World

veröffentlicht am : Mi, 17. 09. 2014 geändert am: Mi, 17. 09. 2014

Kategorie: Apple --> Computer

Schlagworte:


(english version, as i think this is also interesting for my non-German friends. If you have trouble reading it, I might post a translation as well ⇒ leave a comment if you need that, thanks)

now with all the news coverage over the new iPhones and the related products and software, I notice some things:

What is it, that there are so many flamewars going on in the internet when it comes to the choice of your operating system? And acutally it does not matter, if it's the operating system of a phone or a computer or a tablet.

What was "Linux vs. Windows" in the late 90s is now "Apple vs. the rest of the world".

Why are people so emotionally when it comes to that? And why do some people see this choice as a kind of religion? Especially the Non-Apple-Users see those Apple-users more or less as fanatics... but is that so easy?

Let's take a look at a popular question: what is better, iOS or Android (especially with the new devices available now).

There are thousands of comparisons out there, which one is better, Android or iOS. And this one tries to see things a bit differently.

the facts

When it comes to pure hardware features, many Android driven devices are really better than any iOS device available. Take Samsungs flagship the Galaxy S5 for instance: it's lighter than the iPhone 6 Plus (147g vs. 172g), it has the same resolution (full HD) than the flagship of Apple, but is smaller ⇒ higher ppi (432 bs 401), the cpu is presumably faster (2,5GHz QuadCore vs. 1,4 GHz DualCore), 2 GB of RAM vs. (presumably) 1GB on the iPhone 6 Plus, the S5 has a 16MP camera, whereas the iPhone "only" has 8MP, most Android devices (like the S5) have a Micro-SD-Slot for expanding capacity, which all iOS devices lack.

So, the Galaxy S5 is definitely worth the money... And there are a lot of Devices out there, that do have a lot of features, iOS devices do not offer at all or have in a very limited form.

Then there is the choice of hardware. With android you have way more options to choose from. Apple only has, well, in Phones 3 Screen sizes (now), when it comes to Tablets only 2. And those devices are more or less the same when it comes to hardware features and configurations.

On Android you have hundreds of different sizes, colours, hardware options to choose from. You can choose the hardware best for your needs and best for your bank account.

So the answer is easy: Android devices are better than iOS devices.... or is it?

the feel

nobody will argue, that iOS feels a lot different than Android does. There are several components to that feeling...

Pricing

Yes, Apple was always a premium brand and had it's customers pay for it. You get the software more or less for free, but the hardware does cost a bit. This is bad for the entrance in that eco-system. But as soon as you're an Apple user, it's more or less ok. The devices keep their value. My iPhone 5s is now still sold for about 450-500€, my 6 year old MacBook can still be sold for about 200-300€ (compared to, for example, a 6 year old Sony Vaio which is sold for less then 100€). This is something, that is not true for PCs or Android devices.

But when you compare the top devices, the price is not so much of a difference anymore (when announced, the price of the Galaxy S5 was about 750€, which is about the same as the iPhone 6 Plus 16GB now or the 16GB iPhone 5s which was available at that time. And please do not compare the prices of the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus with the 16GB Samsung S5... that’s just... dump.

Speed

Although a lot of those Android devices are faster on paper and when it comes to benchmarks and special tasks, they are really faster. But when it comes to the feeling... well... most of them feel a bit sluggish. This is not that it's really slow or something (well, on some budgets phones it actually is). But there are some things in the little details, that give iOS the advantage here (a small one though). I want to stress out, this is a Software "issue"! The hardware is more capable, but this advantage is somewhat "eaten up" by those little details missing and (unfortunately) by a lot of Android apps that are just... Crap! And those feel slow often, because the developers don't include the little things, little animations showing that something's happening. Even if those animations are only shown for a quarter of a second, they make a difference.

Reliability

How often does it happen, that you open an app on your android device, and it just crashes? or it behaves strangely? This happens (what I have seen in my neighborhood) more often with budget or older (>1 year) phones. But it seems to happen way more often on Android than on iOS.

This is something, people with no technical background tend to describe as "this is not working", they refer it to the phone, not the software. Understandably, because if you buy a top-of-the-nodge Android device, all works.

The problem is, that with Android's fragmentation, developers have to invest a lot of time in testing on all different devices and operating systems out there. It is really not possible, to test this for all devices in all combinations. So they go for the best compromise: use the ones, most used by your target audience.

What that does is, it makes the whole experience of the device worse.

On iOS this is a whole new and different picture. Usually, most apps work. Most apps do something useful or are at least somewhat entertaining. Apple reviews every app automatically and manually. This is something that makes it harder for devs to publish their apps, but it gives the user a better experience for the device and more security (see below).

When I was publishing my first app to the appstore Metafon, i had to change it significantly, because it was not "entertaining enough". (which might still be right, it's just producing random sentences in German and English - but you can define your own vocabulary).

Despite the costs of it (App developers "pay" 30% to apple), this is pain... especially, when you need to send an update. This process usually takes about a week, and if you have some error in your app, this might cause trouble. But the user experience is better: you can be sure, the app does something, it does not do, what's not described and it does not use insecure or forbidden API and does not send data somewhere, if not documented it does.

Maybe that is the reason, why iOS users are more likely to spend money using their phone or tablet. developer income comparison

Security

Security is very important nowadys. And that's a problem with Android, that is not really arguable. There is (a lot of) Malware out there for Android - almost none for iOS.

Although the media actually nearly don't report any android security holes on anymore like they should (like this one here ), every little security issue with iOS is exaggerated and makes it to the title of every it-news out there. Even if it's a problem with the users choosing weak passwords (like the celebrity nude hack ).

Sometimes it seems, media is trying to build a case against Apple. E.g. when they report on spy software out there, it's not mentioned with a word, that this software is not easy to install on iOS, you first have to jailbreak it, which usually takes some time, if not an hour. And if you're not experienced, this is not that easy to do. On Android it's just installing an app and the phone is a surveillance device. Those apps are totally invisible. And this software to spy on your souse for example is free to buy ( example).

Nevertheless, the iOS operating system is safer for the normal user. If you are a techie, you know your way round in the internet, an Android powered device is probably better for you, as you can do more with it.

Apple enforces regulations on Apps, which is an advantage for the normal user. But it might be a huge disadvantage for the power techie, as he's not allowed to do everything on his own device. Yes, you can jailbreak it, but that is not the same. On android you have more freedom.

This freedom does come with some costs though: security is a major issue on Android, and the more you can customize your operating system, the more settings you have, the more it makes it complex to use - which raises the bar for the normal user.

Critics of Apple and Microsoft say that closed source is more insecure than open source. This seems not to be true anymore: whereas there is a lot of malware available for both Android and MS Windows, there is almost none for iOS and Mac OSX. And please stop telling the fairy tale about marketshare. This is definitely not the only truth.

Problem with secruity is, you need an up to date operating system to get the benefit of all updates and new security fixes. This is often a problem with android driven devices (especially budget ones), which won't get a new version of the operating system, if they are older than about a year (some more than that, some even less). This is understandable from the point of the hardware vendor, but bad for the user who wants and needs security and new features. Of course, you can do that yourself manually, install a custom build. But that is not easy to do with every device and not "recommended".

Apple on the other Hand seems to try to support as many devices as possible. IOS 8 is available for all devices newer than the iPhone 4s (which is about 3 years old).

Data privacy

When it comes to data privacy, which is one major part of security, you should always see, where the money is. Google (the maker of Android) does make it's money with... DATA... personal data, if possible. So, you get the Operating System for free, but you (your data) are being sold. This might be ok in some cases, but might not be ok in others. This is something that has to be very transparent, what happens with your data.

Take Microsoft for example... they make their money with... Software, exactly. They do not have a need to gather lots of data about you to make money.

Apple does make it's money with... Hardware! Exactly. All software apple produces has the sole purpose to increase the use (and usage) of their hardware products and make them sell better.

Now have a look at Google or Facebook - they make their money with DATA... your data. The more information they have about you, the better for them. They create an operating system and give it away for free only to gather more information. Take a look at the interview with Tim Cook where he mentions excactly that.

On the other hand, one reason why NFC payment is not a big success (in Germany at least, can't say about other countries), is that Google "has no interest in a payment system, where they don't get anything to scan" (freely translated from German article here).

Again, this is all ok, these are just different business models. The question is, do I want to be part of it, or not? Some people take privacy not so seriously, some people do. And when it comes to the question which company I trust with my private data, I'd rather choose one, that does not monetarize data as a business model.

The circle of friends

And than there is peer pressure. If you happen to have a lot of friends only using Android - you'd probably end up with an Android phone yourself. And that is totally logical, as you maybe need help, need some tips and you feel confident with your choice if everybody around you uses the same tool. That's totally normal...

Unfortunately this peer pressure can be very annoying. I myself was switching to Apple more than 5 years ago, and every time I told that I have a problem here and there and don't know how to do things, some of my so called "friends" answered with "well, you paid so much money, you can spend some more on the hotline" or "see, I told you it's not worth the money".... (and what I call "problem" here is something like "I don't know how to make a screenshot" or "how can I use bootcamp").

Same was when I switched to Linux in the late 1990s. Or when I switched from Palm OS to iOS... I don't know what that is, but it seems like there is some psychological effect coming up. People try to convince others of their decisions (may it be the choice of operation system, the choice of Cloud storage or choice of religion), and tend to see it as a personal insult, if someone has a different opinion. This produces a lot of peer pressure of course and most people yield to it.

the eco-system

this is something which is often not discussed in those comparisons between iOS and Android - whatever device that is. If you decide on one smartphone, you don't only get the smartphone itself, but also a lot of things "around" it. This is everything, that is not really "on" your device, but somewhat connected to other things. On Android you have e.g. the Chromecast to stream Videos to your TV-Set, NFS-Payments (which is not really existent in Germany yet), the different App stores, different Media management stuff, different solutions for cloud computing, different solutions for Calendars and a like (mostly Google) and so on

Apple on the other hand has solutions for most of those things in their own productline. iTunes, Apple TV, iCloud, Apple Pay (soon), iTunes Radio and so on. This all works more or less seamlessly together, usually not big of a deal to get those things to work. This is an advantage of course, as all is built by the same vendor, everything looks same, feels same and follows the same rules (for privacy for example). But if you want to use something else - a different media management tool for example, you end up with a lot of hassle. How to get the Music on my phone without iTunes? How with the photos and videos?

Sometimes it's hard to leave that eco-system. If you have all your media in iTunes, you'd probably don't switch easily to a different management tool. If you have a ton of apps you paid a lot of money for on your Android, you'd probably don't switch easily to iOS and vice versa.

conclusion

As you see, there are advantages for both of the device categories. Fortunately we have the freedom to choose, what we want to use, and what company we trust and what we like and not. For some reason, people start "believing" in their OS... and I have to admit that there are more "believers" in the Android camp than on the iOS camp (Warning, this is a subjective perception, no statistical data available!). When it comes to the flamewars mentioned in the first sentence, usually it's started like "Apple users are dump" or "iOS reaches a point now, where Android has been 2 years ago" and so on. I actually never saw this written by iOS or Apple users...

But there are trolls all over the internet and we should not give this too much attention. The real problem is, that these discussions are 1. nonesense, 2. insulting for both and 3. not informative and misleading for people who really want to get informed.

So, choose the eco-system you want. Depending on your needs, your likes, your gadgets and maybe because there is a device in the color matching your shoes. It does not matter. As long as you're happy with it - all is fine.

But please: Do not get upset if someone has a different story, a different taste, a different set of gadgets and hence a different device at home. Everything is ok... peace y'all....

Should I get an iPhone 6 or an Android Phone? Should I switch?

That's the question. If you do not already have a smartphone, than you're more or less lucky. You can start fresh, as there is no previous purchase of apps or other gadgets that might stop you from choosing freely. First of all, don't let yourself be misguided by the fans of either one. Go and try several options out, both technologies, and make your own opinion. Most people tend to be very prejudiced about "the others", so ask people of both "camps" if possible.

If you already have an smartphone, you need to decide what is it, that is so annoying with the current solution that you might switch? And if there is nothing annoying, is the other technology so much better in a way, that switching is an option? And are you willing to do the change (and pay for it) and most importantly will this particular problem (if there is one) be better on the other technology or not?

Example: if you have a problem with android security issues (like you already had malware on your phone or something) and you don't have much gadgets, the switch to iOS might be easy and useful.

But if you are on Android, have a lot of cool gadgets paired with that (like a chromecast, maybe some NFC stuff) and lots of apps you paid for, and the only thing you're thinking is "Wow, this new iPhone is looking good" - maybe this switch would come at too high a cost just for having a "nicer" smartphone (if I were evil, I could say "wait a couple of months, the next Samsung Galaxy will look like the iPhone 6 now ;-)).

I will stay with iOS for now. There are some things, that are a bit annoying, but the switch to Android would cost a lot of time an money (all the ecosystem and stuff) and it would not solve all annoying things of iOS but bring some new, very annoying things.

But when it comes to choosing the right OS and related ecosystem, you're more or less alone there. Good Luck!

erstellt Stephan Bösebeck (stephan)