Apple vs Android: the Which? Tech Daily debate [video]
We do a lot of testing at Which? From PVRs to phones we test more than 2,500 products a year. And that’s how we decide which products to recommend. A product has to really excel in our labs to become a Best Buy – just look at what we put every tablet through in our how we test tablets page to see the breadth of our testing.
But with so many experts in the office and the lab there’s still plenty of debate about which products and brands we prefer. One topic that frequently gets slung around is Apple vs Android – which operating system is better.
Here, two of our expert researchers dust off their hats and head for a high noon showdown to argue which operating system should win a place on your phone or tablet.
iOS vs Android – our 60 second guide
‘Apple’s iPhone and iPad software is just better, isn’t it?’ – Rob
Johnny Ive’s iOS 7 redesign looks stunning, the App Store and iTunes have downloads I actually want to pay for and, most importantly, when I buy an Apple gadget, I know it’s going to work straight out of the box.
There may be good bits about Android. I could just about stomach owning a Nexus phone but what kind of loon would invest in a Google-powered tablet?
‘I can’t stand any device that forces me to use iTunes’ – Ryan
I’d agree that Apple’s iOS looks better than Android’s, especially when you consider some manufacturers’ tacky skinned versions, but the plain/vanilla version of Android is just as simple to use.
With the recent 4.3 Jelly Bean update and 5.0 Key Lime Pie version in the pipeline, anything that iOS can do, Android can do just as well, if not better.
Plus, I can’t stand any device that forces me to use iTunes – who actually enjoys using this software?
‘Android “is the most fragmented it has ever been”’ – Rob
More likely, you’re trying to distract from that thorny issue of Android fragmentation; where you can get a markedly different user experience from phone to phone. I’m sure you saw the Opensignal research this week that declared Android “is the most fragmented it has ever been”.
Eventually, this issue could escalate to the point that you buy a phone without knowing whether Android’s most popular apps will work with it. Even if you do plump for a Nexus device, you’ll still find apps for Apple gadgets are updated much more quickly and offer a greater range of music and movies than with Google Play.
So far you’re sounding a little bit jealous of those of us sitting in our Apple-made ivory tower. I’m yet to see what the big problem with iOS is?
‘Apple is boring’ – Ryan
People like choice when they’re buying a tablet, that’s something Apple doesn’t really offer with the iPhone and its two iPads. Android may be fragmented but it allows for developers to experiment with the operating system, pushing it forward in new and exciting directions.
With its latest update, Android has addressed unauthorised spending sprees via in-app purchases with profile restrictions. It’s another example of Apple being forced to play catch up, when, as the tech world’s biggest company, it should be a leading innovator. Apple is boring.
iTunes is just further proof of this. Over 500 million people spend around £26 per year through the program but the few times I have tried to use it, for example, to organise music on a family member’s iPod or sort my own mp3 collection, I found the software sluggish and a chore to use.
How hard can it be to create a decent bit of music software?
‘Others may get there first; Apple gets it right’ – Rob
I will admit that Apple isn’t an innovator anymore but the iPhone and iPad are still fantastic products. Steve Jobs was great at watching a market, holding back until the time was right and then releasing one product that would leave every competitor trailing in its wake.
You can see the same is about to happen with the mythical iWatch. Everyone from Samsung to Sony seems to be rushing an Android-based product to market, while Tim Cook stands by serenely waiting to see what bits he can nab for his iOS-centric device.
Ultimately, that’s what marks iOS so great. Others may get there first; Apple gets it right.
‘Apple hasn’t released anything with substantial wow factor’ – Ryan
I think Apple is best at developing hardware, rather than software. It hasn’t released anything with substantial wow factor to make me want to switch camps. It’s good at pushing the market, and forcing other competitors to compete on a level playing field – but that’s it.
There were 162 million Android phones sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 and in comparison, Apple sold only 37 million in the same time period.
It’s clear that consumers are voting with their wallets rather than their hearts.
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