Apple Doesn't Jump Ahead With iOS 8, it Catches Up.

6/05/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments


The battle between iPhone fans and Android fans seems to be almost never ending.  You can't read a the comments section of any story relating to smartphones without seeing the flaming.  The flaming of the author for "leaning" one way or the other (or both), the flaming of other commentors for their choice of mobile platform, and the flaming of the respective companies for the inferior hardware or software produced.

Of course, this year's WWDC is no different.  You can even scroll through my Twitter feed to see some scoffing, but lets be fair, Tim Cook called Android a "hellstew" and said android "dominates the mobile malware market," so there was at least a little snark deserved.

Apple announced a lot of new features for iOS 8 (I'm not going to cover the details, if you need to get caught up, you can read the novel I wrote up over at walyou.com) and just about every one of them was laughed off by an Android fan, because—truthfully—the features weren't new.  Android apps have been sharing data for years.  Android has almost always had custom keyboards.  Actionable notifications and widgets are also old news to a longstanding Android user.

It's true.  Apple didn't announce many new features.  Almost every single feature announced has been in use for at least a couple years already... But not on an iPhone.  That's what the naysayers are missing.  Android fans have been making fun of iPhones for years due to the lack of simple features like widgets, but iOS 8 brings widgets to the iPhone, so what now?

iOS 8 will add just about every feature that has kept the Google crowd using Android and with the iPhone 6 almost certainly bringing new and bigger screen sizes to the iPhone... What now?

The gap has been closed with a giant leap from Apple and I'm not sure what is going to keep Android fans away from Apple devices outside of stubborn prejudice.  I dual wield an iPhone 5s and an HTC One (M8) and the only thing that causes me to go to the iPhone first is the quick access to the flashlight.  Even that is only because I'm too lazy to add a flashlight app to my M8.

The gap hasn't only been closed by Apple, though.  Android users were subject to much scorn of their own for Android not being smooth, reliable, secure, or for not "just working."  Since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, though, most of those criticisms have also been nullified by Google.

Most of the things that have me coming back to my M8 over and over despite having an iPhone in my other pocket are features that will now be available in iOS 8.  I'm not saying I'm going to abandon Android.  I'm still heavily invested in Google services and I definitely prefer the Google ecosystem, but that's going to be the only major differentiator come the iPhone 6 launch.

Google and Apple have always had distinct ecosystems, but the feature disparity between their respective devices is what created the gap.  Most Google services even work on an iPhone (if not as the default service), but iCloud and iTunes can't be used on an Android.

I'm hoping that Google will bring some major announcements at Google I/O in a few weeks that will re-open the gap between Android and iPhone, but as it stands now, your phone of choice is no longer a product of your demand for features, but it is a product of the ecosystem you are plugged into.

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