Apple vs. Android – A (somewhat) unbiased view

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When you bring up Apple against Android, (or Windows, to a lesser extent), you don’t get much calm, in between discussion. You either have people that will fight vigorously for either option – hopefully using real information, specifications and reasons, but usually you have people that fight for either side with no reasons, no research done, they simply bad mouth the opposing system and put theirs up on a diamond studded gold pedestal. Your iSheep, and your Droidies, yelling, screaming, and caps-locking to try and get their flawed point across.

As of right now, I have an Android device, an LG G2. This is my first smartphone, but actually the first mobile OS I really had experience with was, in fact, iOS, with an iPod touch. I used the iPod and it’s accompanying OS for a couple years before I started using anything Android, so I’m kind of in the middle.

Now when it comes to computers, I will generally defend Windows to the end of the earth – and that’s why this post isn’t about Apple and Android in general, we aren’t talking about their companies and other products, this is basically a mobile war. iOS VS. Android OS. So that’s where the focus lies… and that’s where we begin.

One of the problems I have to start with, is the fact that iSheep will credit Apple for everything. You ask them who invented fire, they’ll say Apple. Who constructed the Roman Empire, Steve Jobs. That bothers me, because it isn’t fair to other innovators who have made their fair share of game changing features. But to start, we are going to go to the beginning, to a time where Apple truly did create something beyond innovative…

2007.

I’m not going to offer you extensive research and knowledge, this is purely my knowledge and opinions, so if you want anything else, do the searching yourself.

Before 2007, smartphones were a way different category than they are today. You could call this the B.A era of smartphones, Before Apple.
They were nothing like the smartphones of today, and to my knowledge there wasn’t any smartphones like today’s back then. They were considered ‘smart’ because they had a bit more to them than a traditional phone. You had a couple of basic apps, maybe some snake, or Sudoku… perhaps a music player, or WAP internet. These also had a rubber QWERTY keyboard built on them, and a couple inches of screen.

From what I can remember, this market was dominated by Blackberry. This was kind of their heyday. Of course you had Motorola and Nokia, but I think Blackberry was the Apple of the B.A smartphones. And sure, these phones were neat. The QWERTY keyboards were nice, being able to play a couple minutes of Snake or Tetris was cool… and boy, do I remember trying to pull up some videos on that WAP internet. Good times.

Then Apple did something revolutionary, and introduced the first iPhone. The phone was pure screen, with digital keyboards, and could surf REAL web, and watch REAL videos, and listen to REAL music, and download and play REAL games. This was, of course, huge. And ever since that fateful day when Apple release the first generation of iPhone into the wild, it changed our perception on smartphones forever. Now we knew what was possible, and we weren’t going to settle for less. Soon, many companies were getting the idea and switching over to this new era of smartphone technology. It did take a while to make one of the iPhone’s caliber, but now, because of Apple, a touchscreen computer-like device is just what we expect.

The first phone to use Android was the HTC Dream. This was no where NEAR iPhone level, still being a slider phone with no where near the capabilities of the iPhone. The system barely resembles the Android we know and ( for some of us) love today. It was a mixed bag, over all.
But, it introduced the Android OS to us for the first time.

Now, I might not be speaking for everyone, but at least for me when I think of the penultimate Android phone, I typically think of the Samsung Galaxy. That typically seems to be the main rival to the iPhone.
The first Samsung Galaxy was released in 2009, two years after the iPhone… and a little over a month before the iPhone 3GS.
So here was Apple, with nearly three incarnations of their flagship out, and Samsung had only just released one.The best contender was still fairly obvious.

Skip ahead a couple years and many phones, and then comes along the first Galaxy to contend against the iPhone; the Samsung Galaxy S II in 2011. At it’s release, it was fighting against the iPhone 4, and later the 4s.
Now, purely on wording and pulled from the Wikipedia ‘Reception’ section on both phones, the iPhone 4 and 4s got;

“generally favorable” reviews, while the Galaxy S II had “universally positive” reviews. I don’t know about you, but the universe sounds better then generally. This was when things began to get interested for the first time, as they were now in the same league.

History lesson done, now we are on to the comparing and contrasting.

Display

Both phones are, of course, touchscreen smartphones with app capabilities, cameras, and a variety of other things.

Android devices in general seem to be much larger, ranging anywhere from 4.5 inches to nearly 6 inches if you’re getting into phablet territory.

iPhones on the other hand… are much smaller. The first four generations and their respective ‘S’ spin-offs were all 3.5 inch displays, with the fifth generation kicking it up to 4.0, then the six and six plus bumping up to a 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch respectively.

Now, this is really a matter of preference. I’m a big phone kinda guy, my G2 has a 5.2 inch display which seems to be perfect for me and my hands, but the iPhone might work fine for people with really petite hands. But the problem is, “larger” smartphones aren’t a new thing. The Samsung Galaxy S had a 4.0 inch display in 2010, while like I said, the iPhones were stuck stunted by a whole half inch. Now, that might not seem like a lot, but in the tech world, half inches can mean a lot. And next year, Samsung bumped it up to 4.3 inches… progress, nonetheless. And yet it took Apple until this year to catch on with the phone sizes. Larger phones aren’t a new concept.

And especially with what smartphones have been capable with for years… larger phones are a necessity. Who wants to watch three and a half inches of Netflix?

Hardware

Hardware is somewhat of a hard thing to talk about these days, because while people like me care about specifications, a lot of iSheep don’t. They want their iPhones, and that’s it. They don’t care if it’s a potato with a piece of glass on it, they’ll boast that their phone can make hash browns. Can an android phone do that? Nope, not yet, and they’ll take that and fight hard.

But it is generally the case that Android phones have better hardware. Android phones are for people who do care, while iPhones seem to be more of a status symbol. And there’s no problem with that, if having an iPhone makes up the lacking hardware for you, then the more power to you.
will say that iPhones, as far as I can gather, do have the better camera most of the time. I think. I may be wrong.

So this is kind of a middle ground here. People who care about specs generally aren’t that big on iPhones. Android is typically a couple years ahead, but it comes down to preference. Obviously, iPhones are capable enough without the best hardware, and the reason why may be…

Interface

It’s hard to compare iOS and Android. Both are GREAT for different reasons that appeal to different people.

iOS is quick and to the point. You get a iPhone, you know what to do. The options aren’t overwhelming, there isn’t tons that can be done. That is because of the lack of customization offered, and in some cases is a good thing.
iOS is very clean. Very organized. Especially iOS 7, it has a very flat and simple look. It is modern, slick, with enough options to make you feel in control (in most cases), but not enough to drive you crazy. You get an iPhone and you use it.

Android… that’s a different case. Seeing as a lot of different companies use Android as their OS, it can differ from place to place. What kind of skin they slap over it can change opinions easily. Many people enjoy stock Android, and I tend to agree.
Because of the multitude of companies that use the OS, depending on where you get your phone it will be loaded with bloatware. Bloatware that isn’t always possible to get off. Somethings will be tweaked, interfaces will run slightly different, I know that my phone and my tablet, both Android, run very different interfaces.

But generally, when you get Android, you get a HIGHLY customizable phone that you can do a lot with. To the point where it may be slightly maddening. My phone, which I love, has the choice to change… well, everything. Wallpaper, lock screen, font, icons, sounds for each individual thing that can possibly occur on your phone, the placement of apps, the placement of widgets, the placement of notifications, the placement of settings… you get the idea. And the problem with this is that I never feel satisfied. About once a day I change something up.
The Android skin that I have, it came from LG and I like it for the most part. It does the job and looks okay. But it by no means looks ‘clean’ or ‘sleek’ or ‘modern’. Icons are chunky, they had that weird 3D thing, and more often than not it looks cluttered and out of hand. Even Windows Phones are more clean looking and modern.

Using your phone can also be difficult. Unlike Android, it isn’t always as simple to get things done. Once again we go back to the multiple manufacturers and their different skins. Settings may be in different places for a Samsung Galaxy, an HTC One, and my LG G2. You may find apps in different ways. Options may not be the same from phone to phone, shortcuts and little tricks may differ. And unless you find yourself really attached to one company and stick with them, if you’re a company jumper like me, this can be tough to deal with. The next incarnation may be out before you’ve learned how to get the most out of your phone.

iOS is simplistic in nature and easy to get along with.
Android is sometimes a struggle, and a very intricate thing.

I do prefer the layout of iOS. I just wish it had the customization of Android. And especially for older users, iPhones can be a dream if they don’t want to put the energy into learning all the Android tips and tricks, and most of them probably don’t.

Price and Battery

Here’s a problem. I can mostly only base Android on my experiences with my G2. So my statements may very, just keep that in mind.

In the battery line of things, there is a lot to think about. My iPod 1st Gen lasted a couple days with moderate use. It could last maybe a week with no usage, but still be turned on. Nowadays, when I hear people talk about battery on iPhones, it generally doesn’t sound too good. If you have to charge partway through the day with moderate use, that doesn’t do it for me.

My Android phone easily lasts the entire day with moderate use. If I didn’t charge it every night, then I could probably get a day and a half out of it. Heavy use on the phone will get me to the end of the day. Not barely, not in the red, but it would only last one day.

I don’t know other people’s charging methods or phone habits, but when I was in high school, I could generally find at least one plug in the classroom with the familiar white wall adapter. Always they would ask the teacher to charge their phone. Always, it would be an iPhone.

For most teens, heavy use for a phone would generally be texting. Maybe a glance on Facebook or Instagram, perhaps a short game of Candy Crush, or a look on Wikipedia.
My heavy use is music, video, writing, social media and a couple rounds of Tetris.

So if you are a light user, or simply a person using a phone for a phone, you may be fine. But there is a reason why a lot of techies use Android.

And as for pricing… we can all see where this is going. No matter what your preference is, no matter if you don’t care about specs and battery, who wants to pay top dollar for a phone that can be compared to another phone from two years ago? Apple is ridiculous in their pricing, and that is just common knowledge. And for what you get in an iPhone, the six hundred dollar minimum price is outrageous.

And yes, Android phones CAN reach that much, but generally they have better specs, battery, screen, features… etc. And if you go a year back with Android, you’ll get a much cheaper phone and still be ahead of iPhones. My G2 was released over a year ago, and can be compared to an iPhone 6 with ease.

Conclusions

So, in conclusion, or a TLDR…. these are the pros and cons of both.

iPhones/iOS

Pros; Simple, generally reliable. Decent hardware. Clean, beautiful interface. Forefront of a lot of apps. Easy to use. Offers a nice experience.

Cons; Bad battery. While the hardware is acceptable and relatively modern, it still falls behind most Android phones. Terribly overpriced. At this point, there is NOT an iPhone made out of a potato, so you can’t make hash browns with it.

Android Phones

Pros; Generally has great hardware, and is usually at the forefront of a lot of great technology and innovations. Highly customizable. Tons of options. Owned by Google, so it will be optimized for a lot Google software and products. Widgets. This phone is YOURS and you do what you want, no doubt about it. Great battery.

Cons; Highly customizable. Tons of options. May be overwhelming for non techies. Lots of phones use Android, and not only does that decrease the value, it puts pressure on the consumer of which one would work better for them. Interface can get cluttered and is not as clean and simple as iOS.

As for the better phone… I’m not going to give a definite answer. That isn’t for me to decide. You can probably tell where I lie on the spectrum, but what you prefer depends on many factors. Both phones are good for different things, so it’s up to you to decide what’s the best overall.

Android is obviously a powerhouse, while iOS and iPhones rely on more of a simple, consistently familiar and easy to use interface. Android relies on high tech to appeal to people who care about specs, iPhones rely on a beautiful operating system that is easy from the get-go.

It’s no one’s place to decide what phone you need but you, and seeing how far and integrated we are in smartphone society… you probably already have a preference. I just hope this gives a little insight into the best and worst bits of the two favorites.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 3:05 PM

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