In-Depth : What differentiates iPhone and an Android smartphone?

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The smartphone war zone has seen n number of participants like Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Mozilla, Ubuntu and  Sailfish OS (to name a few) but there are only two prominent players from past 5 years, which are consistent with adding new features, outgrowing their fan base and ever-growing play store or App store are Google (Android) and Apple (iOS).

After the 3 weeks of the launch of the iOS 11, already 33 percent of the active iPhones are running on the latest iOS 11, on the other hand after two months of launch, the Android Oreo has seen a mear 0.2 percent presence in its own ecosystem why is it so?

The main reason for the slow adaptation of the Android is due to fragmentation. There are more than 1000 OEM’s which utilises the Android Operating system in their own way (Android is an Open source). So, updating all those smartphones with a different set of processors, screen, camera, battery and storage has to be taken care by the original OEM who made the actual smartphone. Ex: The Samsung, one of the biggest Android smartphone manufacturer ships its device with a highly customised UI on top of Android OS. As they have more than 1000 smartphones in their portfolio with a different set of hardware, it does take a lot of manpower and time to update all those devices (which is why no updates for the smartphones priced at $300 or INR 18,000) or lesser.

Even if a developer wants to develop an application, he has to consider, the average specifications of the Android eco-system to make it work on the most of the smartphones. This step makes him create a low profile app, even though there are devices with more potential in them, overall it will be an average game or app which can be used through the ecosystem. Even this is same with the Google-branded smartphones AKA the Nexus or Pixel.

When Google wants to make a smartphone, it has to consider a chipset from Qualcomm, camera from Sony and display from Samsung. Google cannot make its individual decisions when it comes to the core component designing. So, even Google controls the software it doesn’t have the freedom to make a phone as their engineers meant to be.

On the other hand, Apple iPhone has everything that they require. The Apple engineers design the CPU, GPU, camera, display and the operating system. But, they don’t have the facility to mass produce them, instead, they cater these orders to the leading manufacturers. Ex: TSMC is one of the biggest silicon chip manufacturers, which manufacture the Apple A11 Bionic chipset, Samsung caters the OLED panel for the iPhone X, LG supply the battery, and the camera is manufactured by Sony.

So, even though the components are manufactured by different OEM’s they are done as per the Apple’s guidelines, which makes sure that the device offers an overall user experience that is way better than the Android counterpart.

When it comes to the software updates, it’s the same saga, in fact, Apple supports their devices for 4 years (iPhones) and the Google will only offer support for 24 months making it obsolete. So, Apple devices are way more future proof compared to Android counterparts.

Apple has around 8 iPhones (4 with similar hardware) and with the size of manpower and money it has, it can update those devices in parallel with latest iPhones that they launch every year.

What about Samsung?

Samsung has brains to design their own components like display, camera, design and processor. In fact, in the market like India and Korea, the Samsung flagship devices will offer its own chipset AKA Exynos, which is an excellent counterpart of Qualcomm processors. But when it comes to operating system, they are dependent on the Android. Even though they have resources to develop a new smartphone, it will be of no use. Ex: they came up with an OS named Bada OS, which failed to attract the market, then they came up with Tizen, which is being used on few of its entry-level smartphones. But they cannot use it on their flagship smartphone, and here is why.

Most of the smartphones feature an ecosystem with its own app store. In fact, Apple’s App store as more than 2.2 billion apps and growing and the Android’s ecosystem has more than a 2.8 billion apps and growing continuously. So, coming up with a new operating system and creating an app store environment will not go hand-in-hand, as all this process will take at least 5 to 6 years and by that time, these two leading market players could have doubled with respect to a number of apps.

Conclusion: iPhone is a thing, which is directly from the dream and made exactly as it intended to be. However, Android has to compromise on will be designed depending on the availability of resources.

The same case continues with security, If there is any vulnerability, Apple can fix it and push an update within few hours. But, Android counterpart, fails to do so even if the device is a brand new one from a third party OEM. So, Apple iPhone is more secure, powerful and costs much more than the Android with these added benefits.

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