The Difference Between iOS and Android

The Difference Between iOS and Android

Android iOS LogosAndre Behrens at Medium:

The war between iOS and Android is a contest between two viewpoints — and between two economic systems. Android operates as something like a market, while Apple runs as a planned economy.

Consider keyboards. iOS ships with a keyboard. You can have any keyboard you want, as long as it’s that one. The advantage is that you can pick up any iPhone and know exactly how the keyboard works. You also can rest assured that no one has a better or worse keyboard than you.

The disadvantage is that the keyboard gets better at a pace Apple decides upon, and contains only the ideas Apple generates. Given my experience owning iOS and Android devices over the years, I have to question the value of Apple’s monopoly power over their system’s keyboard. Swiping has been a wonderful addition to mobile text entry, but Apple didn’t think it up, and if you own an iPhone, you can’t use it.

Google takes a different approach. Android comes with a default keyboard. It has steadily improved over the years, but in the old days, it was mediocre. This wasn’t a problem for the motivated user, because Android allows most of its components to be replaced. Download a new keyboard, turn it on, select it, and you’re on your way. It isn’t just easy, it’s possible.

Behrens is not advocating that either iOS or Android is better than the other, but does make a good point about how the ecosystems differ between the two platforms. iPhone users are forced to accept the changes that Apple makes — until a jailbreak comes out — while Android users have more flexibility and less consistency.

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