I greatly prefer using Apple phones and tablets running iOS over Android powered devices. Most people who know me could tell you this. But I get asked quite a lot why I prefer Apple so staunchly. Android, especially on phones is huge right now. It’s market share in the world dwarfs all of the competition, though not to the same extent in the U.S. There are Android phones of every size & price, the apps are usually free, and Google’s services (Chrome, Gmail, maps, Google Now, etc.) are great on Android. Why would anyone prefer Apples closed ecosystem & small screened phones? Here are the reasons why, at least for me, I prefer Apple.
- Software Updates – Practically everybody in the U.S. signs a two year contract with their mobile carrier when they buy their cell phone. If I’m paying a large bill for two years before I can upgrade to a new phone, I need to know my phone will not be obsolete by then. Apple is the only company who controls the software updates for their phone. All of the other hardware manufacturers (Samsung, Motorola, HTC, etc.) are at the mercy of the wireless carriers for the release of software updates for their phones, which are always delayed somewhat or never come out at all in a lot of cases. The only exception are Google’s Nexus phones bought off contract through Google. If you have an iPhone that is 1-3 years old you get the latest iOS update the day it is released. Meanwhile, take a look at Google’s official numbers for Android here. These numbers are ridiculous. 38.4% of Android devices are still on Gingerbread, which came out in 2010! Meanwhile almost 90% of iOS devices are running iOS6 which was released in September 2012. The sad thing is, people who are running Gingerbread on their phones can’t even use the best parts of Android. Chrome & Google Now among other things are not even available on Gingerbread. Unless you want to buy a Nexus phone there are no guarantees your phone will ever be updated. When you buy an iPhone you have the peace of mind that you will be supported for a least 2-3 years.
- Android Skinning – What do TouchWiz, Sense, and (shudder) MotoBLUR all have in common? They are all Android skins. An Android skin is software that sits on top of the stock Android operating system that changes Androids looks and performance. They are all pretty terrible with MotoBLUR leading (lagging behind?) the pack. (See here, here, & here.) TLDR – They cause fragmentation, hamper performance, and are just plain ugly. Nearly every Android phone uses one of these skins (Hello Galaxy S3!). Only the Nexus phones, tablets & special versions of the HTC One & Galaxy S4 without subsidies can get you the pure stock Android experience. Needless to say I hate skinning. But hey, Android is open so companies are free to mess up Android as much as they want to. If I ever did have to buy an Android phone it would be a Nexus device. That way I wouldn’t have to deal with an ugly skin and I would have guaranteed updates.
- Build Quality – While not quite as big of a deal nowadays, hello HTC One, I prefer the build quality of the iPhone over nearly all Android handsets. Whether it’s the front and back glass iPhone 4 & 4S or the glass and aluminum iPhone 5, when you hold an iPhone in your hand it feels like a premium product. I understand that the iPhone 4 and 4S are prone to cracking if dropped but when I hold a Samsung Galaxy in all it’s plastic backed glory, I just do not have the same connection. It just feels cheap to me. I do however concede that this is a personal preference on my part.
- Malware – One of the “benefits” of Android being open is you are way more likely to be exposed to malware on your device. YAY! See here and here
- Apps- One of the main reasons I prefer iOS over Android is the app library. A lot of major apps come out on iOS first (Vine, Instagram, twittermusic, etc.) or are iOS only (Letterpress, Reeder, Tweetbot etc). I like being able to try out the latest and greatest apps when they come out. One of the reasons why apps come to iOS first is because iPhone users are more engaged and spend longer with their apps than Android users. Another reason is that despite the fact that Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store are equal on many fronts, Apple still has a huge lead in revenue. Developers are going to put out their apps where they can make the most money and that is Apple right now.
- Tablets Aren’t Even Close – While there can be arguments made for Android cell phones over Apple cell phones, it get dicier for tablets. Simply put, Android tablets suffer from all the same things as Android phones, as well as there not being very many tablet optimized apps. I hope you like phone apps blown up to fit your tablet’s screen! I own a Nexus 7, one of the flagship Android tablets. It has a good display, decent battery life, latest version of stock Android, etc. but it just sits in my desk drawer. My iPad is so much more fun to use it isn’t even close. So many apps, such great battery life, superior build quality, the list goes on and on. An iPad is the tablet to own in my opinion.
This concludes my reasons for preferring Apple’s iOS over Google’s Android. At the same time there are I’m sure a lot of advantages to Android over Apple. These guys are #1 and #2 and I think you can get by pretty easily with either.