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What are the Differences Between iOS and Android?

In the wireless marketplace, the market narrowed to iOS and Android operating systems in recent years. Independent companies tried to build their own mobile operating systems, but most failed including Microsoft Windows. In May 2019, Android captured 75.25% of the total wireless market followed by Apple's iOS with 22.75% market share.

Apple and iOS

Apple is one of the biggest technology company in the world with its devices purchased by consumers globally on a massive scale. Their mobile phone devices, in particular, called the iPhone, is quite popular throughout the United States amongst people of all ages. The operating system on these iPhone devices is known as iOS, Apple's own closed-source mobile operating system which they use exclusively for their mobile devices such as their iPhones, iPads, and iWatches.

Google and Android

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Google, a part of a massive company called Alphabet. Competing directly against iOS, Google offers the Android operating system. With the company's philosophy being vastly different to that of Apple's, Google's Android OS is an open source software and are offered to the public. Many smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Sony, and Motorola use Android as their operating system of the choice.

Pros and Cons of iOS and Android

The competition between these two companies and their devices and software has become quite fierce over the years but there are still many who are undecided between the two operating platforms. We'll discuss four (4) key areas between the two operating systems and the pros and cons of using each.

The first criteria to compare is security. Apple's iOS platform was built exclusively only for Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iWatch devices. Having full control over the physical specifications of the devices and their software allows them to have full confidence in their products' integrity. They control all of the APIs that any app developer may choose to use to perform actions or use features on the device, which can guarantee peace of mind for their consumers. They even go a step further in this regard to ensure every app placed in their App Store meets bare minimum guidelines through a review process so that they can help guarantee this. On the other side of the spectrum, we have Google's Android which hasn't historically been the most secure. This is because of their philosophy and belief in having the platform be open source for developers, manufacturers, and users to be creative but as a negative, they open the door for more potential risks on their Android systems. Admittedly, however, they have been taken measures to clean this up within recent years, even putting into place a type of guidelines app developers must follow to be able to put their devices onto the Google Play Store.

Customization is a very important thing to consider on both pieces of software and Google's Android comes out ahead in this one. Because of their belief in open source software, this allows developers and manufacturers alike to experiment with the system in numerous ways. Big tech companies compete extensively with trying to beat each other with their own unique styles and flavors of smartphones; sporting interesting form-factor designs and layered software atop of Google's own Android. Developers compete by being able to take full unbridled access and control of the kernel in numerous ways to create countless apps and even alternative app stores to Google's Play Store and one can even root their device to get even further functionality. On the other side, Apple's strict nature on security and control over all of their products results in there being no choices between different iPhones of a particular generation. This means when a new iPhone is released, the customization is limited and the users are restricted to a design provided by Apple. If the design is not to your taste, there's nothing you can do about that. A similar thing happens for developers as the grueling review process to get an application onto Apple's App Store can see developers going back and forth with the company for weeks before passing the review to put their app live on the store. There are no alternative stores for developers to use either (unless they jailbreak the phone) and even throughout the process, they cannot access every aspect of the iPhone's user features as Apple purposely locks some things off from the developer community for security reasons.

Here is an area where the lines between both phones have become quite blurred as it is now unclear who holds the edge between the two: performance. Historically, Google's Android devices handled memory management quite messy. Only older versions of the software, it was quite common for processes to randomly crash or not open because of how poorly the device's memory was managed by the operating system. Manufacturers layered software also contributed to this as it was also poorly optimized and quite heavy on the operating system; often hampering the device's performance. Within recent years, however, around Android v4.2, they've made a huge effort in cleaning this up and even manufacturing companies have made changes to their layered UI software as well; aiming to make it more user-friendly and lightweight so as to not hamper performance. Even Google themselves (with the partnership with manufacturers) has since started releasing their own in-house developed Android phones called Nexus, with pure Android on it for the best-optimized UI and software using the operating system. Apple on the other hand never faced this problem as the operating system's memory management was actually quite brutal in its earlier years; closing applications immediately after they were no longer at the forefront of the display or after some period of time have passed. This did, however, come with a certain cost of blocking normal consumers from being able to do certain things, such as having two applications opened at once through a Task Drawer, or splitting the phone's screen into two to have multiple applications displayed at the same time. This has recently changed however as Apple has made changes to add such features, however, it is also now a known fact - that even Apple themselves have confirmed - that they purposely throttle the performance of older devices over time. This was a shocking revelation at the point in time and many users of the device have been known to experience this which sometimes results in the phone freezing temporarily or becoming extremely slow when opening certain applications.

Finally, affordability should also be considered. Generally, the Android devices from various manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony and HTC to name a few) cost less than Apple's iPhones. Apple continuously raised the bar with the release of newer iPhones (X and XS in the price range greater than $1,000 USD), and Android manufacturers follow the pricing model introduced by Apple. As Android phones are manufactured by hundreds of manufacturers, there are so many phones to choose from and the price may vary from a few dollars to hundreds and even thousands (i.e Foldable Android phone introduced in May 2019 from Samsung is priced at $1,999 USD).

Apple iPhones offered at higher prices caused some consumers to look for Android alternatives. This led Apple to offer a cheaper option to each new iPhone they release giving consumers a little more options. Still, Apple's iPhone is far costly than the Android counterpart, but there are diehard Apple fans continuing to press Apple for their mobile devices of choice.

The Android phones face a similar trend where every manufacturer has a flagship phone which is usually priced pretty high; however, because of the sheer volume of Android phones, you often find a manufacturer or two offering a cheaper version of their flagship. Some manufacturers, such as OnePlus, may even market their entire phone as being the "flagship killer" by offering most of the key features of more high-end expensive phones with a few short-comings and a significantly lower price. This has made it difficult for iPhone to tap into this "mid-tier" area and even other manufacturers such as Samsung but it has definitely been the main reason why they started trying to offer cheaper options alongside their flagship phones.

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