iOS vs Android – who’s really winning?
The race between the two mobile operating system platforms, Apple and Android means more options for users. In the end, it’s smartphone users who are benefiting from the so-called “mobile wars”— and that’s a good thing.
Open Source versus Closed Source
Back in 2010, the late Steve Jobs made it clear that he never liked Android being called “open source” and iOS as “closed source”. He prefers “fragmented vs. integrated”. Whatever the case may be, post-Steve Jobs, iOS is staying “closed” (meaning external developers can’t get access to the software running Apple iphones) whilst the Android has remained “open” meaning smartphone manufacturers can continue to use the Android platform to innovate the functionality they can offer their customer.
Why does this matter? The big chunk of Android’s market share is based on units sold or activated. Because Google allows customisation of the user interface, more manufacturers are developing their devices on Android platform, in return making Android devices affordable to lots of people. More sales = bigger slice of the market share and cheaper phones.
Apple may have lost this battle, but not the war. Since its launch in 2007, iOS have retained most of its users due to their tighter integrated system that no one can tamper with. Customisation is not for everyone, certainly, not for Apple fanatics. Apple users love the consistency of how their interface works across their phone, ipad and computer even if it means paying a hefty price for their device.
The Numbers Game
Interpreting the latest figures in the market actually yields more questions than answers on who’s really dominating the mobile market. Take for example the recently released report of Kantar Worldpanel.
As of September of this year, Android remains as the dominant smartphone platform in Australia taking 62.1% of the market share. However, this number is slightly lower than last year’s 65.9%, around same quarter.
On the other hand, Apple showed growth in the Australian smartphone market from 25.8% last year to 28.7% this year. It’s a slow climb but nevertheless steady.
Elsewhere in the world, results vary. Android accounted for over 70% of sales across the five biggest mobile markets in Europe, namely Italy, UK, Germany, France and Spain, while Apple still showed strength in the U.S.
Since its first appearance in 2007, iOS has been revolutionising the industry with their innovations. With the release of iOS 7 in September of this year, they’ve successfully stirred the market once again.
This is the biggest visual redesign of iOS to date. iOS 7 homescreens now have flatter graphics, colorful gradients, and a lot of sliding transparent panes. Control Center allows quick toggling of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, and more. Multi-tasking also received a new look. The much-awaited iTunes Radio also made its debut.
Google is catching up with Apple with the expected imminent release of Android 4.4 KitKat. This latest version will be launched alongside Nexus 5, the newest handset in Nexus lineage and the second to be produced by LG. Sony has also revealed its plans to introduce Android 4.4 KitKat to existing Xperia devices. Described as “beautiful and immersive”, Android KitKat is sure to heat up the competition.
So which system is best?
Ultimately it’s a trade off between how much you love playing around with new technology, how much you are prepared to pay for it and how much you just want things to work. Android users can look forward to an increasing number of apps and functionality at cheaper prices. If consistency is what you are after and you value all the other functionality across the Apple platforms (think itunes, icloud, airdrop) then be prepared to pay for it. Either way you are a winning with smarter devices that will continue to be innovated at an every increasing rate.