Kopec Explains Software
Computing concepts simplified
4 months ago

Classic Episode: iOS vs. Android (2020)

The duopoly that dominates mobile.

Transcript
David Kopec

Does it matter if you use iOS or Android? They're the dominant mobile operating systems on Earth. Today we're going to learn about their differences. Um, welcome to COPEC Explain Software, the podcast where we make software intelligible.

Rebecca Kopec

All right, Dave. So for this week, our question, or my question, I should say, is what are the differences and similarities between Android and iOS?

David Kopec

Well, I know Rebecca, this is really a topic I know quite a bit about. I've been developing for iOS since 2009. I worked a little bit professionally as an iOS developer, and I teach both iOS and Android at the college level. So I just want to put my qualifications out there so people know I know what I'm talking about today. But there really is a lot in common between iOS and Android two. So where do you want to start?

Rebecca Kopec

I think the best place to start would be the history of these two operating systems. Maybe a little bit about how they developed. Yeah. Where they came from.

David Kopec

Well, let's start with Android, because it's the simpler story. Android started in 2003 as an independent startup company, and Google wanted to get into this space. They saw mobile was the next big thing. And so a few years later, they purchased Android Incorporated, that startup company, and they became an arm of Google. And they continued developing the operating system kind of in the direction of, let's say, the BlackBerry, but in a more open sort of mindframe, where they were going to create a standard and distribute the operating system to different device manufacturers. But what happened is, in 2007, the iPhone came out and it just changed the whole industry. There were a lot of things, and we'll go into the history of iOS, but the big thing about the iPhone was multitouch. That was a technology that Apple, again, had acquired a startup company to get multi touch inside the company. But that was a technology that really changed the way that we interact with mobile devices for people who are old enough. And you remember cell phones before the iPhone, you would have a little chiclet keyboard and you might have a touch screen, but it would usually be with a stylus, a pen, and it wouldn't be super precise and it wouldn't be super interactive, and it wouldn't be the kind of totally enmeshed finger experience that we love today.

Rebecca Kopec

Back when flip phones were the cool thing, right?

David Kopec

There were flip phones, there were smartphones, and there had been PDAs in the 1990s. There had been the Palm Pilot, there had been Pocket PC from Microsoft. And then there was, of course, the BlackBerry, which was the dominant smartphone at the time of the iPhone. But the multi touch paradigm and that's being able to use multiple fingers on the screen at the same time and do all kinds of interesting gestures like pinch to zoom or doing a swipe, that really changed the whole industry. And that was really exciting. But there was a lot more that was exciting about the iPhone that maybe we can cover in a different episode. But anyway, so Android actually came out a year after the iPhone. So iOS and the iPhone, which was originally its operating system was called iPhone OS came out in 2007, android came out in 2008. And they saw what happened with the iPhone, and they're like, you know what, we got to do this too. So they quickly incorporated multitouch as well. And then when Android launched a year after the iPhone, and then a few months after that, they had a multitouch version of Android. So that's how Android got started. And there's a lot more we can talk about technically about Android, but let's talk about iOS a little bit in terms of its history, because its history actually is a lot more complicated and it goes way back. So let's talk about Apple. So Apple started in the 1970s as a personal computer company, and in the mid 1980s, they launched the Macintosh. In 1984, Steve Jobs, who was one of the co founders of Apple, along with Steve Wozniak, he actually was kind of forced out of the company shortly after the Macintosh launched. And he went and started another company called Next. It was going to develop another computer platform. And they did. And they were kind of at the high end of the computing market, and they launched with a really revolutionary operating system called Next Step in 1989. Now, in the 1990s, apple wasn't doing so great in the mid 1990s. In fact, they were almost on the brink of bankruptcy, and they needed a new operating system because their lunch was getting eaten by Microsoft Windows. After Windows 95 came out, the Mac was really in trouble, and their operating system hadn't gotten some kind of modern technical improvements that we can talk about in another episode that it really needed. And so they were looking, what are we going to do next with our operating system? And what they actually did, long story short, is they bought that company, Next in 1997, and that brought back Steve Jobs to Apple. And then all of Apple's future technology was built on top of that technology from that company, Next. So they launched a new version of the Mac OS called macOS Ten in 2001, and that was built on Next Step on those technologies from Next Step. And then when the iPhone came out in 2007, originally with what was called iPhone OS, it was built out of macOS Ten. So the iPhone's operating system can be directly traced back to 1989 with the launch of Next Step. So it has a long history. It was really, by that point, quite a proven set of technologies that were used to build the iPhone.

Rebecca Kopec

I remember when the iPhone was first coming out and their advertising was like the Internet on your phone, but like the real Internet or something, that you could really have this completely different kind of experience. And hearing about the history, about how it really comes from this established operating system, it makes sense that they were able to do that.

David Kopec

Well, one interesting thing about that marketing campaign is a lot of people forget that the original iPhone launched without an App Store. And so when they were talking about the Internet on your phone in 2007, they didn't actually mean apps. That in 2008. A year later, they launched the App Store, because a lot of actually Mac developers were like, hey, you have this great new platform that everyone's really excited about. You let us make Mac apps. Why don't you let us make apps for this new iPhone OS? And so they came out with the App Store a year later. But that first year, why were people so excited about the Internet on the iPhone? Well, on mobile devices before the iPhone, they used what Steve Jobs called baby web browsers. And I don't know if that's, of course, supposed to be pejorative. I don't know if that's politically correct anymore or not. But he said that other smart devices didn't really have the real Web experience. And a lot of people forget that. One of the things that was revolutionary about the iPhone was that you actually got the whole web on it. So when you went to browse a website, you didn't get a simplified version of the Web page as you would on, let's say, a BlackBerry or on a Palm device, but you actually got the full website as you would see it on your desktop computer. And then you had these new multi touch gestures, like pinched to zoom to actually be able to navigate it in a way that would be accessible on a smaller mobile screen. So when they were talking about, wow, this was a revolutionary Internet communicator, one of the big reasons on the original iPhone in 2007 was that it actually had a web browser almost as powerful as a desktop web browser.

Rebecca Kopec

So I feel like this is a good transition point to talk a little bit about the different business models of Android and of iOS, thinking about even just how they marketed it, or how iOS marketed in the beginning, and the App Stores, and just how they work, how do they make their money?

David Kopec

Yeah. So the interesting thing, of course, is that Apple is a really closed ecosystem. So you buy an iPhone, it runs iOS. Android, on the other side is an open ecosystem. So Google actually built Android as an open source project. And we'll talk in a future episode about the details of what open source is. But beyond just being open source, they also have licensed it to basically any phone manufacturer that wanted to be a part of the Android project. And so you can buy, of course, an Android device from many different manufacturers. There's quite a competitive market. You can buy an Android device from LG or from Huawei or from Samsung, of course, which is the number one Android device manufacturer. Now, no matter who you purchase it from, there's a standard base that makes those different phones compatible with some of the same apps. And that's really exciting for the phone manufacturers because it gives them a piece of the action and lets them really be a part of this ecosystem instead of just being out on their own with their own proprietary operating system. But at the same time, it means that Google loses a little bit of control because each of the device manufacturers goes and takes Android, and they usually modify it a little bit. They change it a little bit. They add some features that are specific to their devices and sometimes they're slow to update their specific versions as Google comes out with new versions of Android as well. And that can be problematic for security, and that can be problematic for getting new features out to end users. So there's some great things you get from having an open ecosystem. You get more competition, which tends to lower prices and increase quality over time, but you also lose control. And you have some issues there around updates and security mechanisms and kind of this deal where you have people competing against themselves in some ways because they're bringing you out to a device that might not actually be 100% compatible with another device because some small changes happen, whereas Apple really keeps everything locked down. Now, how do they make money? That's what you really asked, and this was kind of a preface to get up to that. So Apple makes money on selling hardware, of course. So you buy an iPhone. iPhones are quite expensive compared to other mobile phones, actually, if you look at the average selling prices. And Apple makes something like 30% to 40% margins on the iPhone. So those are gross margins, not net margins, of course, but they make a lot of money every time they sell an iPhone. So they're giving the operating system basically away for free, but they're giving it away for free to people who already bought their expensive hardware. On the other hand, on Android, google's also giving away the operating system for free, right? They're letting any of these OEMs, original equipment manufacturers like Samsung, LG, et cetera, build Android devices without really charging them much. They sometimes charge them for Google services use and stuff like that. They're basically giving it away for free compared to what's? The lockdown nature of iOS? But they're making money on advertising. So the default search engine, of course, on most Android devices is Google, right? The Google Play services. And that's actually something that you might pay for, like Google Music or using the Google Play store. They're making money on those services as well, right? And their business model is not about just here's what we want to sell you, you buy it. It's a little more indirect than that. It's is there an opportunity here to show you an advertisement? Is there an opportunity here to sell you an app? Somehow, indirectly, that is quite different. And that is a point of criticism, actually, that Apple uses in its marketing against Android and against Google is that Apple says, okay, we don't have to collect your data because we don't want to sell you advertisements. Right. We already made money on you by selling you the iPhone. So we don't need to keep making money on you by collecting your data and selling you advertisements. So that's kind of like a jab they keep making at Google over the years.

Rebecca Kopec

So let me make sure I got this all clear for our listeners, right. Apple is really controlling their operating system and what they're selling you is this hardware and this whole experience. Whereas Android has made a different kind of decision, where they're letting other companies, other hardware companies, use this operating system and then they're kind of getting first dibs on the advertising and collecting that data, which then feeds how they make their money.

David Kopec

That's exactly right. And you put that a lot better than I did. In many ways. The only caveat we have to add is that Google has experimented as well with making its own hardware, or at least designing it and having third parties make it. So there's the Google Pixel phone, and that's a phone that of course runs Android, but is actually the phone itself is designed and sold by Google as well. Now, Apple controls 100% of the iOS market. The Google Pixel is not actually a huge amount of the Android market. The number one Android manufacturer is Samsung. It's not Google. So they do dabble in making their own devices as well, but it's not the vast majority of Android devices.

Rebecca Kopec

So maybe in the US. And then in the world, how much market share does each operating system have?

David Kopec

Yeah, there's actually a huge difference globally versus in the United States and some other Western countries. In the United States, it's actually close to 50 50. It's not that far apart. A lot of stats you see, it'll be about 60% Android, 40% iOS. Some stats you see, again, it depends on the polling company, depends on their methodology. It'll be closer to 50 50. Globally, though, Android has more than 80% market share.

Rebecca Kopec

Wow.

David Kopec

So it's a huge difference. It's a huge difference. And a lot of people forget that that Android is really the dominant global operating system because the majority of computing devices today are mobile phones and the majority of mobile phones run Android. And so Android is actually the dominant, we would say, consumer operating system today. But in the US. It's much closer to 50 50. And that's true in several other Western countries as well.

Rebecca Kopec

We have these two different operating systems that are getting used. There are lots of people who are creating apps for them now, and they both have App Stores. Can you talk a little bit about the way those App Stores work and what the differences and similarities are?

David Kopec

Apple launched the App Store in 2008, and it totally changed the software industry because before that, to get distribution of software to end consumers, often you would have to package it in a box, sell it in a retail store, sell it through Amazon, whatever, and actually get CD ROMs or DVDs out to people. There had started to be a software download market starting in the 1990s because of the growth of the World Wide Web. But the App Store really took it to the next level where that became the dominant distribution platform, was direct to consumer through an online store. So what was exciting about the App Store was the reach that it gave individual developers. But Apple takes a cut, of course, and it's still to this day, apple takes a 30% cut for every app sold on the App Store. So I have some apps on the App Store. For example, I sell an app for $1 on the App Store. Apple takes thirty cents of that dollar. Now, what are they giving me for those $0.30? Well, they are putting it on their platform where other people can find it. Now, that's not really marketing, but that's just making it available. They're providing the network bandwidth for me. They do have a review process, so they're verifying to my users they're almost like a third party verification service, that my software is not a virus, that my software is relatively bug free. Of course, not going to be completely bug free, no software is. But they're doing some kind of review process. They're providing me distribution. They're providing me network bandwidth to distribute it. And they will do a little bit sometimes to help you with marketing and stuff, but they're not your marketing tool. So they're doing something for that 30%. But there's a lot of debate right now about whether that 30% is too high, especially now that it's been a very long time, and that they charge the same 30% whether you're selling $100 of apps a year or a million dollars of apps a year. And by the way, if you're a big company, you care about it even more, right? Because if you're selling a billion dollars of apps on the App Store, which some companies are, apple's taking $300 million of that right, a lot of money. It's a big chunk. And their revenue from the App Store is nowhere near the majority of their revenue. It's a relatively small chunk of Apple's overall revenue. But if it by itself was a company, it would be a Fortune 500 company, just the App Store. We have to remember though, that Apple just crossed the $1.5 trillion valuation, the first company in history to do that. So Apple is such a huge company, and just their revenue alone is over $100 billion a year. It's such a huge company that it's hard to even say this is a small part or this is a big part. Because what is small when you're that big a company, right? Anyway, Google, of course, has a similar model. So they also have the Google Play Store, where you can purchase apps and they take a percentage of the revenue. I believe it's still 30% as well, although it might have gone down a little bit. But it's close to that. And the difference, though, there's a big difference, which is that on the Android side, there's an alternative. So on the iOS side, the only way to really distribute apps to end consumers is the App Store. On the Android side, there's also what's called side loading. And this means that users can go and actually download apps from a website and install them themselves on their phone without going through the App Store. So they're avoiding the Google Play Store, not having to give a cut of their revenue to Google. And they can even do that by downloading apps on their PC and using a USB cable and uploading them to their Android device as well. So there's another way. There's side loading to get apps on the Android side. And then also, because Android is an open ecosystem, companies like those original equipment manufacturers that we talked about can even rip out the entire Google Play Store and put their own store in. And that's what Amazon does. So a lot of people in the US. Buy Amazon fire tablets. Amazon Fire tablets actually run an operating system called FireOS, which underneath the covers is a version of Android. And what they've done is they've ripped out the Google Play Store and they've put the Amazon App Store in place of the Google Play Store. So, as you can see that the Android side is just a lot more open, a lot less locked down, both in terms of how the whole operating system is distributed, but also in terms of the story for developers and how they can distribute apps.

Rebecca Kopec

Does that openness or closeness? That's probably not a word impact the way a developer would work with each of those operating systems.

David Kopec

So we talked about this a bit in episode two of our podcast, what is an Operating System? And people who aren't familiar with an operating system might want to go check that out. But when you're a developer, you really end up specializing in one particular set of what we call APIs, and that might be the APIs for some particular operating system. So I have a lot of experience professionally as an iOS developer, and so I am pretty good at making iOS apps. But I'm not as big an expert on making Android apps, although I teach a college class on that. I'm good enough to teach the class, but it's not like my life's passion and work. And to be as good an Android developer as I am, an iOS developer would take years of work and experience to get to that level. So when you decide to specialize on one operating system or the other as developer, you are kind of locking yourself in and tying yourself to that platform and that company a bit going forward. You have to retool and learn new skills to start making apps for the other operating system. Now, of course, there are people who learn both, but it tends to be that a lot of people specialize in one or the other. There is what we call cross platform frameworks. These are things like React or Xamarin, just to name a couple of them, or Flutter, and they allow people to make one app that then gets compiled for each platform. So you write the app once, let's say, in Flutter, and then you compile it for Android, you compile it for iOS. That does exist. Now, we could go into a whole episode about the pros and cons of doing that versus what's called making a native app, which is using the Direct APIs of each platform, iOS or Android. And there definitely are pros and cons to doing that, but the point is that most apps are actually made using the native app route, so making it specific for iOS or specific for Android, and a lot of larger companies will employ both. They'll employ Android developers and they'll employ iOS developers, and they'll make individual versions for each operating system. And as you can imagine, there's quite a bit of maintenance there having to keep up to date two different versions, which is why those cross platform frameworks are appealing. But there are some definite cons to them as well.

Rebecca Kopec

When you're programming for iOS or for Android, do you use the same programming language?

David Kopec

So on iOS, the dominant programming language right now is Swift, and it was released by Apple in 2014. And it is an Apple specific language in that, like Apple is the company that develops the language, there is an open process for other people to contribute as well. It has been ported to other platforms, but it is primarily an Apple programming language. iOS was originally developed largely with a programming language called Objective C, and that has kind of fallen by the wayside over the last five to six years. And we can talk more about that in another episode again, because it's a big topic, but Swift is the dominant language right now for building iOS apps. On the Android side, there's also two languages, also an older language and a newer language. There's Java, which is a very well established industry language, which is one of the reasons that when Android Incorporated was started as a startup company in 2003, they chose to use it. Java was kind of the hot language in 2003, and it was already very well established. And so it kind of makes sense to use a programming language that's going to allow people to quickly get up to speed on your platform. And so they made that decision. There's a long history there about kind of a battle they've had with the owners of Java, which was originally Sun Microsystems and now is Oracle Corporation. There's been a really interesting lawsuit that we could talk about in another episode, but they also have started to move to another programming language called Kotlin. Now, I would say on the iOS side, the vast majority of developers at this point have moved from Objective C to Swift. On the Android side, I'd say it's closer to 50 50. A lot of people have moved forward to Kotlin, but there's still a lot of work being done in Java as well. And Kotlin is a modern programming language developed actually by a Czech Russian company called JetBrains. And so it's not actually developed like in house by Google, although Google certainly contributes to its development now, but it is what we call a first class language on the Android platform, meaning that Google provides its documentation and its APIs equally accessible now from Kotlin as they do from Java. But you might have noticed that, again, there's a difference for developers. Not only are the APIs different between Android and iOS, and that means application programming interface, and again, something we covered in episode two, what is an operating system, but also the programming languages are different. So you become a really good iOS developer and you're now like an expert in Swift, and then you go and start looking at some Android code and it's going to be in Java or Kotlin. And it's not like a huge leap, but it's a leap. And you do need to do some tooling and some learning to really become an expert in those as well. Now, Kotlin and Swift ironically, are more similar to one another, or maybe not so ironically, it kind of makes sense than Objective C and Java were. So Objective C and Java were more different from one another in terms of syntax at least, than Kotlin and Swift are. And that makes kind of a lot of sense because both Kotlin and Swift are modern languages that have been developed during the last decade, and so they're using best practices and probably influencing each other with the teams that work on them.

Rebecca Kopec

But even the way that the languages that are used kind of speak to the business model and the open, closed nature of iOS and Android, where Apple developed this language that has become the, as you said, first class language of the App Store and of apps for iOS, whereas Android is actually utilizing these languages that were developed by other companies. Yeah, other people.

David Kopec

You know what, that's absolutely right. That's a great insight there that I think you made a great connection that it epitomizes the differences between these two approaches where Apple is using our stuff. You ever hear of NIH not invented here syndrome?

Rebecca Kopec

No.

David Kopec

Anyway, so I would say that Apple definitely has not invented here syndrome. They definitely like to always develop everything in house and some people would say that's their competitive advantage. And Steve Jobs said that their goal was always to control the whole stack, so control every different layer of the products that they build. Whereas on the Android side they're a lot more open and there's benefits to that as well, including getting participation from the whole industry as they have with all the different hardware manufacturers that make Android devices. But it's absolutely true about the languages that Java and Kotlin are both industry languages, not just Google languages that Google has adopted for Android.

Rebecca Kopec

One of the things I think we see now more and more in phones is what consumers want are similar things like we want to be able to do so much with our phones. It can seem like Apple does one thing or iOS does one thing, then you're going to see it on the next Android phone and vice versa.

David Kopec

Yeah, I mean, there's always going to be the original Sin, right? Which is that Apple came out with the iPhone in 2007 with Multitouch. Google was developing Android without Multitouch and they copied the operating system's user interface and Multitouch when they came out with Android in late 2008, early 2009. They're always going to be criticized for that. In fact, Apple sued some of the big Android manufacturers like Samsung over that. And it kind of plays back to the Mac versus Windows. The Mac came out first, Windows came out later, windows seemed to copy a lot of aspects of the Mac and the Mac was a lot more proprietary and Windows was more open and that Microsoft licensed it to different hardware manufacturers. It's kind of like the same story is playing out all over again, except for this time Apple's doing a lot better with the iPhone than they were doing with the Mac in the it's very interesting how the history kind of repeats itself. But as you mentioned, absolutely there's a lot of similarity between the two and it absolutely goes both ways. So for example, yeah, Apple came out with Multitouch originally and then Android copied it. Apple came out was the first with a digital assistant. A lot of people forget that. But actually Siri came out on iOS in I think it was 2011, siri came out and a year later it came out for Android came out with Google Now or whatever they call their assistant. I forgot what they call their assistant. Sure. Anyway, but it goes both ways. Like just this year Apple is coming out with in iOS 14, releasing at the end of this year with Widgets on the home screen, which are like little you can think about. It like app pieces that you can see for. Quick glances of personal information that's relevant to you from the app. Well, Android's had that for years, right? It definitely goes both ways, that a feature will come out on Android and then amazingly, you'll see it a year later on iOS, or a feature will come out on iOS, and amazingly, a year later, you'll see it on Android. These are two highly, highly, highly competitive companies that are the stakes could not be higher in terms of the amount of resources and investment and ecosystems. I mean, as developers, as mobile developers, we're dependent on these two companies and we're pushing them forward all the time as developers demanding new features for us to be able to develop the next generation of apps. But consumers are also being super. You know, we're lucky to have a really competitive ecosystem because that's not always true. Although there is only two players, really, google and Apple. Right. If you don't include all the hardware manufacturers on the Android side, they at least are at loggerheads all the time. They're like two bulls with their horns against each other all the time. And that's pushing both platforms forward. That really intense competition. And we are seeing, yes, a lot of duplication, but we're also seeing that one will innovate and then all consumers will benefit because the next year, everyone's getting that innovation when it gets copied to the other side.

Rebecca Kopec

I feel like So can almost be this running joker. Like, are you an Apple, an iOS iPhone person, or are you an Android person for do? We talked a little bit about this in our operating system. You become used to certain things and loyal to certain companies and connected to them in certain ways and connected to that experience. And like we talked about in the operating system, for developers, it's even more so, which I just think is something that as a consumer, we don't often think about who are these people who are building these apps? And what does that mean? What is that experience like for them? So I just think that that's something that I find most interesting about this kind of battle between Android and iOS, that it's cultural in terms of the consumer, but it also is in terms of the developer community.

David Kopec

Yeah, there are some real technical differences between the two operating systems in terms of the way that they're implemented at even like a low level. And I think that there are some real benefits to one or the other, and we can talk about a couple of those in a minute. But I think as a consumer, it's really more about what you're used to. I mean, there are some real practical differences, such as the ability to be able to switch manufacturers. So if you're on the Android ecosystem and you're unhappy with the direction that Samsung is going, some year, you can switch to LG or Google Pixel or something like that. You have choice you have a lot more choice as a consumer in the devices you purchase. And they tend to be a lot lower price because they are so competitive and driving each other's prices down all the time. On the Apple side, you don't really have much choice. You're locked into Apple. We talked in episode two about how you start to get invested in a platform because you buy apps for it, and then those apps you can't get on the other platform. If I've spent hundreds of dollars on apps for iOS, I don't necessarily want to switch to Android, then have to repurchase those hundreds of dollars of apps. And also, maybe there's some specific app that works only on one platform or the other that really gets you locked in. So there is a lot of lock in and there is some real business differences at the technical level. There are some real differences as well. So at the lowest layer of the operating system is what we call the kernel. And that's another thing we talked about in episode two. But Android actually uses the Linux kernel. So that's the same kernel that was developed by Linus Torvalds and a huge network of open source developers around the world over the last three decades, starting in 1991. That's also used in most servers around the world and in a lot of other operating systems. Apple uses the same kernel that's in macOS. So you're actually getting like a synergy there, where the work that they've done over all these years on macOS, the original iPhone and iOS has benefited from. And so they keep both of their platforms kind of in sync in some ways. And part of that is actually open source as well. We know Linux is an open source kernel. Parts of the lowest layers of macOS and iOS are open source as well, but they're kind of not developed in a super collaborative process. It's kind of like Apple just dumps out the source code once a year and says, oh, here it is. If you're a security researcher and you want to do some security research on it, there are individual parts of and while we're talking about open source, of each operating system that are open source. So we talked earlier about how most of the bottom layers of Android are open source. There are select layers of iOS that are open source. So, for example, WebKit, the rendering engine used by the Safari Web browser, is open source, or Swift, that programming language we talked about earlier, is open source. So there's individual components of iOS that are open source, but the vast majority of the operating system is closed source and proprietary, whereas the majority of Android is open source except for the top layers. The Google services some of the apps distributed with it by Google. From a developer standpoint, there's also differences in the performance of the hardware and of the different operating system layers. iOS tends to be higher performance. Not only because Apple's microprocessors that they actually design in house are more performant than the Qualcomm Nvidia and Samsung microprocessors that you tend to see in Android devices, but also because the software stack tends to be more optimized, which kind of makes sense because they're developing both the hardware and the software. So by designing both the hardware and the software, apple's able to squeeze out every last optimization between both sides, whereas when you have a different company developing the hardware from the software, you lose a little bit of that ability to optimize. So there are some real technical differences between the two operating systems, but like you said, as a consumer, it's more like a tribal war and it's kind of like, this is my tribe, I'm an Android user, or this is my tribe, I'm an iOS user. And for your day to day experience, these technical differences are really not going to make a huge difference. It really is a lot more what are you used to? What are you already locked into? What from a monetary perspective makes more sense for you? Do you want that slightly higher performance and maybe that better hardware software integration that you get by spending a little bit more on an iPhone? Or do you want to get something that's a little less expensive, but also is a lot more open and has more possibilities for you to modify it or to transition to a different device manufacturer in the future that you get from Android. So I don't think your individual user really needs to think about the technical differences when they're deciding whether they need to buy an Android or an iOS phone. I think it does a lot more about their practical experience and where they're at in terms of their monetary situation, et cetera.

Rebecca Kopec

Well, I think that the history of both these operating systems is really cool and really interesting and it's really important, I think as we all are using all these different technologies and technologies are continuing to develop, that we understand the lineage. Where is this all coming from and how is it incorporated into a business model, how can we be informed consumers and how can we get the most out of what we're using? So I've just appreciated learning about that today.

David Kopec

And one last thing I'll add is that I think as an iOS user, you're locked into Apple, so there's not really that much to think about. You buy an iPhone for the reasons we talked about today. Next time you buy an iPhone, you're going to be buying an Apple device again. I think when you're buying an Android phone, you need to be a little bit more circumspect and you need to really look at how well is this company supporting their older devices. Apple has a really good track record of doing that. There's iPhones that came out five years ago. The iPhone six s actually came out more than five years ago is still going to be supported on the next version of iOS and get a free automatic upgrade. A lot of Android device manufacturers will stop releasing new versions of Android for their devices after just a couple of years. And so thinking about, okay, this company that I'm going to buy this Android device from, have they been good about continuing to post security updates and actually whole operating system upgrades for their older phones or tablets for that matter? That's something to think about when you buy an Android device. And then you might also want to look at the different performance of the microprocessor in the Android device. They really can vary quite a bit. On the iOS side, it tends to be with each generation of iPhones. Apple will put basically the same microprocessor in all the different iPhones, and there'll be other things that differentiate between them, such as the screens and the cameras and things like that. On the Android side, it can really vary quite a bit. So buying a $200 Android phone versus a $600 Android phone, you could get a totally different performance experience because of the different microprocessors that are being used by the different manufacturers or even within the same manufacturer sometimes. So there's a lot more to think about. There's a lot more choice, and we all like choice. It's a nice thing, but there's also more to be circumspect about when you're buying an Android device.

Rebecca Kopec

That's helpful. It's good advice for the folks out there who are looking to get a new cell phone.

David Kopec

Yeah, absolutely. Everyone, thanks for listening. It was really great having you with us again this week. Don't forget to hit subscribe on your podcast player of choice. And also don't forget to like us on Overcast or leave us a review on itunes. It really helps with the podcast.

Rebecca Kopec

Have a great day, everybody.

David Kopec

We'll see you next time.

In this episode, originally published in 2020, we discuss the similarities and differences between iOS and Android. We delve into their history, business models, developer ecosystems, and user experiences. Does it really matter if you use iOS or Android? Listen to this episode and find out.

Show Notes

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