We are all familiar with the hard fought battle of Apple’s iOS vs. Google’s Android. There are other players in this game, but these two control 95% of the mobile market. There is obviously a vehement enthusiasm behind whichever operating system (OS) we choose. In fact, from the amount of arguing, the choice almost seems to be a religious one. It seems like such a small decision; it’s just a phone. But, is that all it is? Are all of the people arguing back and forth over which is better actually closer to understanding the degree of impact this decision may have? Or are they just a bunch of iFans and Fandroids?
Introducing yourself to an operating system takes a little bit of getting used to no matter which one you choose, and switching can be quite a harrowing experience (I am an Apple → Android convert myself). Both of these operating systems have a large ecosystem built around them that requires a lot of investment, both in time and money, to be fully immersed in. The two arguments, boiled down of course, is Apple fans claim that Apple offers top-of-the-line hardware and software and that Apple will take care of them simply because they consistently have the best product. Android fans claim that having an open platform with choices and a seemingly unlimited amount of customization is the way to go.
I actually don’t think either choice is a bad one, but I chose Android because I was concerned about the question of: What do I do if I don’t like the latest iPhone? I either buy the latest one and wait with a phone I don’t like or I wait with an older model. These are the only two options. With Android, the options for an upgrade are less limited with many options being top phones (Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Nexus 5, Sony Xperia). This is the main distinction that between the two that caused me to switch.
Okay, now that your decision is made (and since you are reading an article like this, I assume it has been), I want you to think about the implications your decision could potentially have on your life. The connected world is growing every day, and whom do you think is leading the charge? That’s right, Apple and Google. With Apple making its way into cars and Google making its way into everything, the OS we choose could become a big deal.
Since we are on the way to the Internet of Things, these things will have to run on and be controlled by an OS. If you truly believe that Apple is the pinnacle of technological innovation and will stay that way, then iOS is absolutely the way to go. It is more my way of thinking to go with every other option than to pin myself down to only one (a concept best explained in the context of The Monty Hall Problem). Regardless, we all have our preferences. But what if Apple’s Carplay is in the make and model car you like, but you have an Android phone? Will that sway your decision towards a different car? If you are just about to buy a house that is connected with Nest and is more integrated with Android devices, will that sway you away from that house? These are very big decisions that could possibly be affected tremendously by something as seemingly inconsequential as a smartphone OS.
In reality, most things will probably have at least some capability of utilizing both devices, but it is possible that one of the companies could make products where the other cannot integrate, thus creating a situation where your OS of choice limits you to a subset of products. This could very easily be the case with television or any media consumption. Apple has already had talks with Comcast about a deal. Could this mean that you can stream iTunes media through Comcast, but not Google Play? This type of monopolistic thinking wouldn’t be too surprising coming from Comcast, but it could be a sign of things to come from large tech companies. With that in mind, choose carefully the OS you get behind because the decision could be a long-lasting one as these companies snake their way into even more aspects of your life.