This blog is going to discuss one of the most hotly-contested topics in the history of mobile technology: Apple vs Android. While some people aren’t bothered what phones they have and a larger percentage probably has a brand they quietly take a liking to, there are many out there who are extremely passionate about their choice of mobile phone.
Every day, memes about Android users are shared across the internet, making light of their apparently inferior devices. In response, Android users accuse iPhone owners of being foolish enough to spend thousands upgrading to newer models which they believe are near enough the same as the previous ones.
While it may be futile to attempt to put a stop to such petty squabbles, it’s definitely worth taking a look at these two competitors to see why there are such split opinions. Let’s rise above the never-ending stream of jokes and memes and explore in detail the quality of the products to find out who (if either) is the real winner in the battle between Apple and Android.
When it comes to rivalries, there aren’t many that can compare to this one. There’s been plenty of fierce feuds throughout history, but even the hostility between Ali and Frazier pales in comparison to the battle between these two technological giants.
When the iPhone first surfaced over a decade ago, it blew all other competition out of the water. Even the most dedicated Android users couldn’t deny that iPhones revolutionised mobile phones as we knew them, and dominated the scene for years. But recently, things have started to change.
With renowned technology companies such as Samsung, Huawei and OnePlus all producing their own smartphone models on the Android operating system, Apple suddenly found itself surrounded by keen competitors. The relentless release of newer, faster and smarter phones has spurred the entire industry on to greater heights in a never-ending fight to produce the best mobile device.
Apple Inc is an American multinational technology company that was founded by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who began working on early computer models in Jobs’ garage 1986. Their goal was for everyone to be able to have computers in their offices or homes and be able to use them as and when they pleased. This would require computers to be small, compact, and user-friendly.
The efforts of Steve Jobs, in particular, saw Apple form a partnership with Microsoft in the early 2000s, which resulted in a Mac version of the popular Microsoft Operating System (OS). Mac OS instantly became a hit, with its user-friendly software and typically powerful computer specifications providing a welcome home for all kinds of editors, producers and publishers.
Over a span of thirty years, Apple has risen to be one of the leading contributors to the advance of technology over a wide range of devices. Not only did they revolutionise the modern smartphone with the introduction of the iPhone, but they also saw huge success with iPods and Apple music, which is historically their most profitable sector.
Android is an OS based on the Linux kernel (an operating system usually found on servers and desktop computers). Due to the huge number of changes Android undertook to be optimised for mobile devices, it’s not considered a version of Linux, but they are still related.
The Android operating system was first developed by Android Inc, a software company working in Silicon Valley. It was acquired by Google in 2005, who went on to develop the operating system even further until it was suitable to be applied to all of its touchscreen devices.
While Apple produces hardware as well as the OS, Android just produces its own OS which is then installed in phone models from different companies. Most of the leading Android device manufacturers, such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC all have their own custom design layer which is applied on top of the stock Android design. So while they all operate on the same system, there will be distinct differences in icons, layout and style in these different phone manufacturers.
In terms of hardware, Apple and Android devices are vastly different. Because Apple produces all of their own devices, they are all similar in build quality and design. Apple devices are nothing short of luxury, with perfectly crafted cases and the satisfying weight that only comes with high-quality materials. This consistency appeals to a lot of customers – when you buy an Apple phone, you know exactly what you are going to get.
In contrast, Android phones can be produced by any phone manufacturer which uses their operating system on their devices. While some of the more popular Android OS manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei typically produce high-quality and sleek handsets, there are also some not-so-great industrialists on the scene.
This lack of consistency alone is enough to put some people off Android phones. It’s possible to buy an ugly or poorly designed Android phone, but all Apple devices stick to their uniform and expertly-designed blueprints. Despite this, some of the most recent Android devices are so stunning that even the most die-hard Apple fans would have to acknowledge their quality.
With the rapid advance of technology, we have seen a common trend in all smartphones, with manufacturers trying to fit as much screen as possible onto the device. The iPhone X saw Apple remove their signature ‘home’ button to make room for more screen surface area. The button was replaced with face-recognition technology and updates to software for the ‘back’ function.
With the ability to take selfies being a must, but large screen size also being a priority, how can they fit both on at the same time? Interestingly, Apple and leading Android manufacturers have taken different paths to solve the front-facing camera problem. Samsung’s latest flagship models resolved this with a ‘holepunch’ camera, while Apple controversially went for the ‘notch’ design with their iPhone X and iPhone 11 models.
This differentiation in style is consistent across all aspects of Apple vs Android, with both options seeming to be objectively acceptable, but being utterly unacceptable to rival fans. Android users mocked the Apple ‘notch’ design, stating that in the quest for an all-screen design, Apple had taken several steps backwards. While the Samsung ‘holepunch’ takes up less screen than the notch, Apple fans claimed it to be a distraction and an obstruction when using the device.
Apple’s Operating System is consistent across all mobile devices. It’s easy to use and navigate, which appeals to users looking for the smoothest experience possible. Much of Apple’s appeal lies with its operating system, and despite (spoiler) having an Android phone myself, I must admit that Apple OS provides a comforting and welcome experience.
Android’s operating system is entirely different from Apple’s, mainly because it’s far less rigid and closed-off. While Apple’s operating system is undeniably user-friendly, it doesn’t allow for much customisation other than the location of your apps and your choice of wallpaper. Android couldn’t be more different.
On Android, you can change pretty much whatever you want to. From the number of Applications on your homepage to the theme on your phone, the ability to customise is quite literally in your hands. With the addition of Widgets (a software application that allows users to access a specific service), you can personalise your device to your heart’s content.
For anyone who wants to have complete control over their device and have it truly personalised, then Android is definitely for you. Meanwhile, Apple provides a more fixed alternative, which makes up for its lack of customisation with its ease of use and consistently attractive layout.
In contrast, Apple’s closed-off operating system is much stricter about what goes onto its App Store. But this benefits Apple users because it means the Apps they do have access to will have been thoroughly examined and tested and will perform well on their platform. In general, Apple users enjoy a higher level of quality using apps than Android users do, due to all apps on iPhones being customised specifically for iPhones only.
However, customisation must be factored into the user experience. You want your phone to feel like your phone, especially if you’ve paid a lot of money for it. With Android devices, you definitely get that notion, whereas Apple products have been known to give a certain ‘stock’ feel.
The conclusion to this blog is extremely hard to draw. Both Apple and Android produce outstanding mobile devices, proved by their joint domination of the mobile phone industry.
The contrasts between the two are numerous, so much so that it would take forever to list them all, but the most notable ones are hardware, software and user experience. Many people just prefer the guaranteed quality and simplicity of Apple phones, which is a completely sufficient reason to stick with them.
For those who want more from their devices, whether it be in regards to customisation or screen size, Android phones offer a tantalising alternative. But with this choice comes a certain risk – you step onto a platform which is adopted by many different phone manufacturers. You lose the assurance of consistency and the iconic, tried and tested Apple operating system.
The only answer is that it’s entirely up to you, the user. It depends on how you want to use your device, what your budget is and what you feel you need from a mobile device. Hopefully, the above started steering you towards a choice based on the qualities you are looking for.
Personally, I would recommend at least trying out both operating systems before making your final verdict. You can always make the switch back if you aren’t happy, and at least you’ll know what you are (or aren’t) missing out on.