iPhone and Android are the only remaining major smartphone platforms in the market after Blackberry withdrew despite having a unique operating system. According to Moslehpour and Le Huyen (4), customers choose Android or iPhone due to various reasons, prestige and cost among them. Both platforms have similarities and differences, especially in their operating systems (Bergvall et al. 25). The differences between the two make each mobile platform unique, with each model attracting customers in different parts of the world. In this essay, Android and iPhone will be compared and contrasted, mainly based on their operating system.
Both iOS and Android are Linux-based operating systems developed by companies known for dealing with portable computers. The iPhone operating system is made so that only Apple phones can use the OS. It is therefore made by Apple, for Apple. On the other hand, Android is an open operating system. Although Google is the primary developer, other manufacturers can use the OS and develop smartphones under their brand names (Sharma and Jasrotia 5). To be able to access Android OS, one must be a member of the Open Handset Alliance. Members of the alliance include Samsung and HTC.
The closed system of the iPhone limits developers from using the company’s operating system to their advantage. The developers, therefore, target the OS for a particular group of devices. Since Apple is the sole manufacturer of the OS, it can achieve its goals by targeting particular hardware or software. Thus, developers are not pressured to meet the requirement of any business that uses their operating system. The disadvantage with this closed platform is the limitation in production. There are limited devices that can be produced due to limited input. Gent (12) claims that Apple implements built-in memory instead of taking advantage of memory slots. If one needs to expand their memory by adding a memory card to the phone, Apple does not allow it.
In contrast with iOS, Google’s Android is an open operating system. Their partners, too, are creating an open system with an open source. With the system, anyone interested in developing it can look at its source code. The main advantage of an open system is the attraction it creates for other investors (Navnath 27). It allows a considerable number of companies to collaborate on developing smartphones based on an Android operating system. The companies making smartphones can use the OS without paying a license fee. Google also offers a provision to modify the system to address the unique needs of each company. However, the drawback associated with an open system forms a basis of competition between Apple and Google. According to Lot and Dal Bianco (15), developers spend too much time modifying the system to suit their specific needs. Although a generic version could be available, the OHA members find it involving to change the generic version and suit their needs. Resources and time spent on development can be too excessive for a company. The time spent doing the modification could also be equivalent to the time taken in developing the system from scratch.
iPhone has more applications than Android smartphones. The iPhone is also more frequently updated than Android, which takes even years before the operating systems are updated. When using a particular application, it is reported that the iPhone is faster compared to the Android version, which takes longer to load that application. On the other hand, Android has more carriers compared to iPhone (Gent 12). Carriers ensure the accessibility of the phone, giving the consumer a variety to choose from. Regarding navigation and GPS, they are both helpful when used to navigate new areas. Apple has maintained a small screen display over the years. Android, on the other hand, has continuously increased screen sizes. Although some people complain that some screens and phones are too sizable, Android has found a niche, with some customers preferring gigantic screens.
Comparing iPhone and Android based on consumer use, both have their benefits and disadvantages. Pundkar (38) observes that it is easy to transfer files from Android to your computer. All Android phones have a USB port, making it easy to move data without using apps. On the other hand, file transfer for iPhone is complex and can only be achieved through the iTunes desktop application. Comparing the two on a security basis, Apple smartphone users are less prone to malware as they cannot download applications outside the App Store. On the other hand, Android software manufacturers lag in pushing for updates.
The security of an Android or iPhone depends on software updates. iOS takes advantage due to its closed ecosystem. Apple releases new updates and makes them available to all iOS devices (Frozia 3). The update process is slower with Android since the smartphone manufacturer must obtain the security upgrades and implement them before the end user can access them. The Androids do not run on updated versions at all times, making them prone to malware when users download applications. Moreover, malware writers are less likely to target iOS users, as Apple reviews their apps frequently. When an iPhone is jailbroken, the operating system becomes vulnerable to bugs. Such incidents may occur when playing videos sent by other Android users.
Both iOS and Android use a touch interface, requiring that the user swipes, taps or pinches on the screen (Raymond 13). The OS boots to a home screen similar to a computer desktop. The iOS screen contains application icons in rows and columns, but Android allows for widgets. The widget option permits the screen to display emails and weather. The iOS features a dock where the user pins their most frequently used applications (Kareborn et al. 29). Both Android and iPhone have a status bar that offers information such as the time, battery life, and notifications.
Google updates the main Android version more often than Apple. Some users do not receive notifications of the updates, and some customers end up buying outdated versions. The Android version does not provide the ability to update the existing Android phones to the latest version (Shin et al. 5). iOS users have the advantage of accessing the newest upgraded version. The updates are available for all iOS phones. The limitation of the phone hardware capability sometimes may limit an upgrading process.
Android smartphones and iPhones have made life easier by facilitating communication globally. The two companies, Google and Apple, are the primary manufacturers of the operating systems used by our phones. Their differences and similarities make them the most competitive in the market, with Android commanding a larger share. Every Android phone works differently as manufacturers can access the basic Android version and modify it to their specifications. Apple phones are similar to each other, as Apple is the sole manufacturer of the iPhone. The latest software is always availed to iPhone users enhancing the security of the smartphone. Android faces challenges providing updates, increasing its security vulnerability.
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