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Which is better, iOS (Apple) or Android (Google)?

This is something that many have asked, but I usually avoid getting in the middle of something that can be oddly emotional for people. In this article, I share some of my thoughts and reasons for making the choices I've made for the software and hardware of phones and tablets that may help you in making your choice.

Trust me, I know! There comes a time in any trainer’s life when you get asked that question. The question that we all panic about – for some, it’s a question that they don’t know the answer to – for me, it’s “which is better, iPhone or Samsung?”.

To represent this question/article fairly, I’m assuming that we all agree that the term “iPhone” (in this context) is synonymous with iOS and by saying “Samsung”, the question would more often than not be referring to the Android operating system.

For the majority of my training, people ask questions, I answer them – I may try and get a laugh, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a room of around 60 people respond with “Oooooooh” and there was at least one call of “Daaaaaaamn, oh no she didn’t!”. It was perhaps the tensest question I’d been asked – and I paused for a brief moment wondering if there was any way out of answering – or at the very least, without upsetting around 50% of the room.

But there it is, the question was out there – and because I’m a glutton for punishment, I thought I’d bring it here – to the Hypestar blog.

What’s the perception?

I’ve observed that some Android users ‘recognise’ that the iPhone is ‘better’ (for the most part, because it’s more expensive), but choose a more “reasonable” cost of the handset because it does what they want it to do.

iPhone users tend to prefer their device because it’s what they’ve always known.

You can sometimes see people migrate from iOS to Android, but it doesn’t often happen the other way around.

So which IS the best?

Ok, so it probably won’t be any great surprise that I’m going to try and wriggle out of answering this…sort of. For the most part, because there really isn’t a ‘best’ unless one option is just shit; and that isn’t the case here. Both platforms are awesome, they’re just a little different, so it’s going to come down to what you need/want from your handset.

I’ve yet to meet an iPhone user who can explain to me why iPhones are superior to any Android handset

So let me tell you my opinion. I am of the stance that Android is the better mobile operating system for phone handsets and iOS is the better operating system for tablets.

I’m currently an Android (Google Pixel 2) user – it is, in my opinion, the best handset out (read: this was arguably more accurate of a statement when I got the handset). But I also have an iPad – it is, in my opinion, the best tablet out.

And that’s not a cop-out, I’ve tried lots. I have had Android handsets and iPhone(s) – I like the openness of Android. I like that it works for me – with iPhones I found that I needed to tweak what I wanted to do based on what it was willing to let me do. Availability of apps is heavily policed and Apple is quick to get rid of anything that conflicts with their own services – while giving, in some situations, preference to cellular operators (which, in my opinion, is bad faith).

Contrary to that, of the Android tablets I tried, I didn’t ever find one that I was excited about, and all of them seemed to have compromised on something. I don’t feel this way about iPad (I currently use an iPad 2017 for the record). Now, for the most part, that opinion is based on hardware, rather than the software of the operating system – which is what this whole thing is supposed to be about. But, for such a complex topic, I’m taking some liberties here.

Not all Android handsets are created equal

Something that is worth considering is that there is a massive range of Android devices (as in devices that run the Android operating system) and without doubt, some are better than others. But it is, in part, this wide array of handsets that have made the operating system so popular with users. It’s accessible, well developed and supported and the experience across devices is broadly the same.

This means, if you do treat Android handsets equally (on the basis of any Android device), there are way more Android devices than there are iOS devices.

Not all iOS handsets are created equal

Conversely, an iPhone is an iPhone. The ‘latest release’ notwithstanding, there’s only one (main) iPhone you can buy. This isn’t a bad thing – far from it, it’s what makes it appealing, desirable…the must-have tech.

[Tweet “Apple announced it had surpassed 1 billion active iOS devices in January 2016”]

iPhones are well made – high-end handsets that during their life are likely to serve you well. And it’s “during their life” bit that has had its fair share of controversy – with accusations of affecting performance as your handset gets older.

So what am I really saying?

On one hand, it really isn’t for me to say. I don’t think anyone person can effectively make the case for either operating system – but I have attempted to offer a perspective here being as impartial as I (or anyone?) can be (noting my own bias to the choice I have made).

The reality is, if you buy a cheap nasty Android device and expect it to measure up against the latest iPhone model then you’re just naive. And if you buy an iPhone that is built on a proprietary hardware system, you should prepare yourself for everything to cost more.

Do your research, ask people. But be wary of anyone who is unable to offer an explanation as to why their suggestion is best.

I recently saw a similar question posted on social media – something to the effect of “Which phone is best?”. Someone then replied with ”Huawei P20 Pro is the best phone available” – now if we actually ignore the fact that P30 Pro is available when asked why they would recommend that handset is best they could only offer “It just is, it’s really good”.

And this is what I’m talking about. We all love our choices (for the most part) and we like to wax lyrical about them – but to buy a phone-based of the most fervent comment on a Facebook post is, I would suggest, something you may regret for 18-24 months.

Am I wrong? Let me know which you think is best (but please explain why!)

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