Le Battle Royale

Generations before us have always had distinctive cultural battles; from Coke vs Pepsi of the 1980’s, Goosebumps vs Animorphs of the 1990’s and now the most bloodthirsty, brutal battle to date- Apple vs Android. Yes, a battle between two telecommunication platforms that makes rivalries amongst motorcycle gangs look amateaur in comparison. But this isn’t something to just LOL about, it is ingrained in our DNA, it is coded into our genetic mapping- You’re Apple, or you’re Android.

Firstly, let us distinguish that when we are discussing Apple, it is the Iphone’s, just like for Android, it is mobile’s that run on an Android platform. Apple has a closed-business, centralized system that is evident throughout their products, whereas Android has a philosophy that the free-flow of information is key to their core product of connectivity. In 2007, the first Iphone was released, followed by Androids HTC Dream of 2008. At the end of 2013, there were 1.7 billion Smartphone users; more than the number of registered cars and daily circulation of newspapers- Globally. So let’s cut to the chase and breakdown the differences between these two giants.

 

(Apologies for cliche GOT reference)

Apple- Devices are closed (e.g. cannot be modified or tweaked by consumers) and thus have complete control over not only their platform and content, but too the user. Only Apple developers can work in iOS.

         Huge profit margin relying on each sale & Apple is the only hardware manufacturer.

Android- Devices are open and free, which thus grants them no “control” over their platform and content, and importantly, the user too. It allows users, coders and the like to modify and tweak their Android devices as they wish; which is supported by an open garden of apps which include non-Android official apps.

              – Small profit margin relying on long-tail effects and has many hardware manufacturer’s (Samsung, LG, HTC etc)

In his work The Future of the Internet and how to stop it, Jonathan Zittrain argues the main difference between a PC (Android) and an “information appliance” (Apple) is-

The PC can run code from anywhere, written by anyone, while the information appliance remains tethered to it’s makers desires. 

The difference of all of this though?

(Apple) offers a more consistent and focused user experience at the expense of flexibility and innovation.

So, where do we all stand, after all these breakdowns and quotes, what does the market tell us people want?

According to Chuck Jones of Forbes, by March 2015 Android controlled 52.3% of Australia’s Smartphone marketshare, while Apple had 38.4%. It is similar in the US, where 58.1% had Androids and only 36.5% had iOS.

Sorry Apple-fanboy’s, it look’s like your closed, tightly controlled models are losing out to Androids open, Libertarian-loving, long-tail effect-relying systems. And as stated by code guru Tim Bray, “The Apple Iphone is a disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. I hate it.” 

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd Steele.

References. 

Jones, C 2015, ‘Apple’s iPhone continues to lose market share month to month,’ Forbes, 7 May, accessed 14th September 2015, <http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2015/05/07/apples-iphone-continues-to-lose-market-share-month-to-month/&gt;

Zittrain, J 2010, ‘A fight over freedom at Apple’s core’ Financial Times, February 3rd, accessed 15th September 2015. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/fcabc720-10fb-11df-9a9e-00144feab49a.html

Mitew, T 2014, Apple iOS vs Google Android, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 4th November, viewed 14th September 2015.

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2 comments

  1. You’re definitely right in saying that the Apple vs Android battle is the battle of our generation. You raise some good points for both sides of the story and I think at the end of the day it really depends on the person. I personally like Apple’s software over Android software but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t like customisation or whatever, I just genuinely like using the software (really bad reasoning I know). Anyway, really good post Todd and good use of the Game of Thrones meme!

  2. You definitely got it right about the differences between the two platforms. But I am not sure that we can declare a winner out of the two, as both seem to reflect personal values and preferences. Regardless of who is dominating the current market, the important thing is that there is a market for BOTH. Good post 🙂

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