The battle of supremacy between Android vs iOS in smartphones is there right from the inception of these two beautiful and advanced operating systems. They score over each other depending on the comparison domain.
I was on android for the most part of my smartphone usage, as obviously there are many points which influence one’s buying decision. Around two years back I switched over to iOS. This was very conscious decision as it’s about switching from one ecosystem to altogether new ecosystem. Because I am a heavy user of smartphone in terms of gamut of activities, there are certain areas like security and privacy which drew me towards iOS.
These are some critical reasons for me to switch over to iOS. I reiterate, this is not about the supremacy of one over other.
The benchmark of quality in hardware is being augmented everyday by manufacturers. Samsung, Oneplus, Motorola, Xiaomi etc. manufacture android phones with top notch hardware.
I feel Apple still score a point over android phone manufacturers in terms of hardware. iPhones, right from the launch of first iPhone in 2007, are seemed to be built for eternity.
The relevance of hardware can be explained in two ways – One, the phone with excellent hardware that lasts long. Two, the phone with excellent hardware that lasts long but becomes irrelevant with lack of software updates. This is another logical area which influenced my decision.
As I mentioned above, software updates for longer period keep the hardware relevant. There is no point of having excellent hardware with outdated software which may make you vulnerable to security issues.
The most critical point here is the time for which manufacturers support the phones with updates. Android phone manufacturers like Samsung and Oneplus provides updates for 2-4 years. Apple support iPhones with iOS updates for seven years. Impeccable hardware bundles with real-time software updates for seven years are the sweetest spots in the deal.
Once Google releases major updates, phone manufacturers take their own sweet time to build UI and release to the users. Hence rollout of Android updates is not at all the well-coordinated event except for Google Pixel or Android One phones. On the other hand, iOS updates reach all the users at the same time.
The implementation rate of latest updates is much higher in iOS than in Android. For example, 85% of iPhones are running iOS 14 as per latest reports.
Although android has 73% of the market share as of 2021 but it’s too fragmented between various manufacturers to have any meaning. On the other hand, Apple iOS with 26% market share rules the roost.
Due to the absolute control on hardware and software integration, Apple provides a much superior ecosystem. As I mentioned above, I didn’t only move to new operating system and hardware, in fact I moved to entirely new ecosystem.
As Apple manufactures wide gamut of products, iMac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod which are seamlessly integrated with each other.
Power user like me loves fluidic continuity over the devices which no Android manufacturers can replicate. Although Samsung comes close to that on the surface but still far from in-depth integration that iOS provides.
Calls on your iPhone and web pages on Safari can seamlessly move between iOS and MacOS; text copied on one platform is usable on another platform; one of my favorites is camera continuity where pictures and scans taken by iPhone’s camera can be viewed directly on Mac. There are numerous points of integration which keeps your work fluidic and maintain continuity over all Apple devices.
Privacy is most important
With plain logic itself, going by business model of Apple and Google – it’s imperative for Google to track users’ data as the advertising forms a big chunk of Google’s revenue. Alphabet, Google’s parent company generated USD 183bn revenue in 2020. Of that, USD 147bn – over 80% – came from Google’s advertising business, according to company’s 2020 annual report.
Apple is not entirely into advertising business, but it gets modest revenue from app store search ads. Small contribution also comes from ads in apple news and apple stocks. In a recent research note, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi estimates that, Apple will generate around USD 3bn in advertising revenue in the September 2021 fiscal, up from around USD 300mn in fiscal 2017.
Comparison of Google’s USD 147bn vs Apple’s USD 3bn makes Google the company who has no choice but to target user’s data for advertising.
Moreover, one of the biggest iOS releases introduced app tracking notifications, giving user the power to opt out of tracking by apps across the phone. This is a major victory for privacy advocates. Android doesn’t have this feature and I doubt it ever will.
Although Apple also collect tons of user data in the name of improving user experience, but it is still extremely resilient when it comes to third party apps. Relatively, iOS scores hugely over Android in terms of privacy.
Security is the key
Privacy and security entrenched with each other. Security breach leads to privacy breach. Although manufacturers like Samsung are taking security to next level in Android phones but there have been serious limitations as android updates are slow and fragmented across devices. Many android phones still running on years old versions, exposing them to serious security threat.
The sense of security is ingrained in Apple. Timely updates, robust integration of hardware and software, updates for much longer period makes iOS much better option when security is the concern. As I mentioned security and privacy have been my major concerns which pushes me to iOS ecosystem.
Appstore is awesome
Android scores on number of apps in play store while iOS scores over quality of apps. I think this as the question of personal preference.
The approximate number of apps you will find on both the platforms are:
- Android Apps: 2.7 million
- iOS Apps: 1.82 million
Android has a greater number of apps but I feel that the developers must design apps as good and as secure as they make for iOS.
However, numbers are not the best way to judge as I use a handful apps only, same is the case with every one of us.
Right from beginning Apple implemented stringent checks on the apps allowed on its iOS App Store. The apps on iOS will have more professional and cleaner feel and looks. iOS platform is more lucrative for developers. As I mentioned earlier, the iOS is so tightly integrated at core that only quality apps which follow stringent security and privacy norms of Apple are allowed on the platform.
Plays Store still has higher number of free apps than App Store. But I feel that the best stuff still lands on iOS first – and they don’t always appear on Android.
Interestingly, App Store users more tend to pay for the apps than those on Play Store. That might be the reason that Play Store have more free apps which work on advertising model, thus bombarding users with ads in free apps.
Below revenues of both the platforms clarifies the facts.
Accessories are numerous
Walk into any outlet or retail shop; you’ll find loads of Apple cases and accessories. If I don’t want to splurge on accessories made by Apple as they are hugely overpriced for me; I still have wide array of cases, screen protectors, car mounts, cables, tripods etc. from third party manufacturers. As someone who likes to switch phone cases frequently to keep it feeling fresh, I never got disappointed by choices available with accessories.
Although Samsung and Oneplus have built a great following in Android, still they can’t boast of the gamut of choices which are for iPhones.
As the market of Android phones fragmented between so many manufacturers and handsets models, the accessories manufacturers see less value and shorter shelf life of accessories for single models of Android Phones.
Bloatware are absent
I find the bloatware the most irritating part of Android phones. Bloatware is generally defined as “unwanted software included on a new computer or mobile device by the manufacturer “.
I still feel that Samsung and Oneplus have realized this issue and addressed it with minimum bloatwares. Otherwise, buy any Android phone and you will find the phone mired with apps which you neither want nor can you uninstall from Play Store.
iOS scores miles over Android, as the new iPhone, you buy from anywhere, will never have any unessential apps which spills over into the category of bloatware.
Much better retail support and experience
The retail support experience and service station ambience of Apple is awesome. Even I visited the store a couple of times amid Covid and I felt the place safe with all precautions being taken.
At least, I can vouch for Indian stores of Android Phone manufacturers. Even top manufacturers of Android phone, barring Samsung, need to uplift their customer’s experience of service stores. Mere flashy retail stores and celebrity endorsements will not help building loyal customer base.
Cost and Better Resale value
Cost of the phones is one area where Android throws varied options to users unlike iOS. But relative comparison may not show the actual scenario.
In fact, in absolute terms, when I look at all the above points especially hardware, software updates, security and privacy; Apple is the better option. It’s like buying seven years peace of mind if I still decide not to splurge my money on upgrading models. Compare it with atleast three Android phones that I will be compelled to buy in the same period, Apple seems to be the best bet for me.
Icing on the cake is the resale value that an iPhone still holds after long period usage. It’s any day better than any Android Phone.
I made my choice.. What are your views.