How Do They Compare: iPhone vs Android – Part 1

In the past year the Android operating system has gained considerable traction in the smart phone market. It’s main competition, as well as the dominating factor in the smart phone market is the iPhone’s IOS now in it’s 4th and soon to be 5th iteration. Both of these systems are very unique and have their own strengths as well as flaws. Almost every day I’m asked to explain the difference between these devices and help users that I support at my job as well as friends and family decide on which type of device they should choose. I don’t know what everyone should choose but here I will describe the differences between the two devices so you can make an informed decision on your own.

iOS and the iPhone

The iPhone is considered by many to be the true ‘smart phone’ and it pioneered the way for the waves of smart phones in all their glory that we have available to us today. The iPhone is a product of Apple, the company behind the Mac line of computers and laptops.

Apple is a company that has seen some rough times in the past but has really found a path they can tread with confidence. Their products aren’t right for everyone and they know that, but they make sure to appeal to their cult following and make products that represent the reputation they have created in the last five+ years.

Control and Stability

One thing that sets Apple apart is that they control every single piece of hardware that goes into their products. They set a standard and don’t vary from that until the next revision is thoroughly tested. What that means for you is that their products will be stable once they hit the market. This has been their way of doing things for a very long time and there are few exceptions to the rule that says when you buy Apple, you will get a stable piece of hardware.

The downside to that is that you will pay a premium for that product. The cost of research and development and that of the hardware that Apple chooses will secure in a set cost that you will be required to pay to be part of the Mac people. You can forget about doing your own repairs or even replacing the battery though.

Even refurbished and used Apple products retain their cost well – it’s like buying a Honda or Toyota. The resale value holds over time as well as general demand even for older models of Apple products.

Software Control

Aside from controlling the hardware, Apple also has a firm grip on their software sources. To develop for Apple iOS (iPhone) or Mac OS, you have to purchase a developer license from Apple, use various security certificates in your software that verify it’s legitimacy and you even have to use Apple hardware while developing, testing and uploading your applications. This is very strict policy and Apple scrutinizes your every development move to insure every piece of software that enters into their App Stores and onto your devices as a customer is stable, secure and operational. As a developer, choosing Apple as your platform is a pricey choice as well as a time consuming one but as a consumer, you can be sure Apps you download from the iPhone App Store are ready for use and won’t damage your data or device.

Price of Entry

Due to the points above, the price of Apple hardware is high, the price of use is high because of the general exclusivity of network providers (ATT and Verizon), the price of development is high and that price comes right down to your wallet. At the time of this writing, 62% of all apps in the Apple App Store are paid apps where Android is just the opposite with over 60% of apps being free of charge.

Lastly, the Apple development and release cycle is fast-paced. They release a new version of your device every year. Many people that use Apple products feel they need the latest and greatest of Apple products – that’s part of the genius that is Apple marketing and operations, they make sure you want their latest revision by building up suspense by keeping all the details secret till the last minute, innovating at least one big new thing into their line and presenting their new changes and products with passion that no other company has been able to match.

Who Should Buy the iPhone?

If you put stability before anything else including price and freedom (jailbreak anyone?), the iPhone is for you. Other options have features the iPhone doesn’t have, and never will have because they add an element of instability that Apple will never allow in their system. The iPhone is user-friendly and just works as long as you are doing something with it that Apple endorses and are willing to put up the dough.

But what about those things that Apple doesn’t fully support or endorse? What about those that don’t want to pay the premium price? What about doing things no one has ever done before with a smart phone? That’s where Android comes in…

Who loves their iPhone? To date, what’s your total cost of ownership (data plan, phone, apps, in-app purchases)?

Image by Yukata Tsutano

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2 People have left comments on this post

» SquirrelersNo Gravatar said: { Jun 21, 2011 - 05:06:34 }

Nice review. I’ve been using an Android phone (Droid X), and it’s worked quite well for me. A few people have looked at me sideways for my choice to buy the Droid X, but at the time it was the newest phone on the Android platorm and a really good one (last year). These people, by the way, were total Apple brand loyalists:)

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

I know the type 🙂 it’s been really hard for me to understand the fanaticism but I’ve stopped trying now haha

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