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March 16, 2013
Android VS iPhone
Which should you get? It's a question asked and answered many times and in many ways with many valid and invalid points. So let me answer it as I would for a friend or a relative (and yes, they have asked).
First. Does your provider support the iPhone? If you're with Wind, Mobilicity or Public Mobile, then it's a no-brainer, since none of them support the iPhone on their networks. Or more accurately, the iPhone does not work on their networks. If you're with one of these guys then the iPhone is not an option and you can move on to Blackberry VS Android VS Windows Phone (a topic I may or may not look at another time).
UPDATE ... As of Friday April 12, 2013 T-Mobile in the U.S. began selling AWS compatible iPhones. Apparently the iPhone 5 model A1428 GSM version supports the AWS band used by Wind Mobile and Mobilicity (although existing handsets do not have the firmware to allow it). So it is now possible to purchase an iPhone 5 for use on those networks. ... UPDATE
If you really have to ask, then you need an iPhone. . .
So assuming that your network is supported by the iPhone we can take the next step. In truth, if you really are asking which of the two you should get (that is if you really just asked me because you didn't know enough about either of them to answer it yourself), the answer would not depend on anything else. A person like that should get an iPhone. If you really don't know enough about either to make a decision, then you should absolutely get the iPhone. It's not that this type of person couldn't have a fantastic experience with Android, its just that a person in this category is almost certainly likely to appreciate the strength and stability offered by the iPhone.
"iPhone" is really a family of devices, and with some overall (relatively) insignificant differences. Some reasons for a person who doesn't have a clue to choose the iPhone include
- reliability - you know who made your device, and it has a proven record.
- support - not the genius bar or anything like that. But virtually any question you will ever ask about your iPhone has already been asked and answered on the internet. But aside from the internet, you will always be able to find someone who owns an iPhone to help you with this issue or that issue.
- Familiarity - Since virtually every iPod touch and iPhone has almost exactly the same interface (and has for a long time now), even people who are not the least bit technically inclined may be able to help you out. Similarly, once you are familiar with your iPhone, you will (by default) also be intimately familiar with the iPod Touch and iPad products.
- Low learning curve - For the entry level user, an iPhone is very easy to learn to use and intuitive for anyone with any kind of technical knowledge (that is that anyone familiar with computing can operate an iPhone almost instinctively).
- And let's be honest. The iPhone is and always has been a solid, well built device with excellent support.
Having said all of that, why would anyone want an Android device?
- There's the obvious - You're on Wind Mobile, Mobilicity, or Public Mobile and the iPhone doesn't work on your network.
- There's the more realistic - The phone looks pretty or cool or whatever your word for personally attractive is.
- You don't like the "Apple" ecosystem.
- Someone else with Android helps you to decide.
- You're somewhat of a geek and like the freedom Android offers.
- You're somewhat cheap and like the price on some handsets.
. . . And a million other reasons
If there's so many reasons to get Android, then why doesn't everyone get Android?
Oddly enough the answer is because there are so many reasons. You see, almost every reason for one person to get Android is the exact reason why another person should not get Android. Lets take for example where I tell you there is a ton of experienced people on the internet and any question you could ever ask has already been answered (like I did above for the iPhone). The problem with this is, with Android the question has been asked about a hundred times about a different version of Android or a different handset or with a different launcher or a different skin or (and so on) so that the answers may or may not apply to your Android version on your device with your setup. Android is so customizable that it loses the ability for a "one answer fits all" solution. That is both a fantastic thing for a person who wants to completely individualize his experience and an utter nightmare for a person who wants total conformity.
Android is constantly changing. Unlike iOS (the iPhone's operating system) changes in Android are often game changers. And I don't just mean from version to version, but also in the same version released by different developers. Features you find built in to your Samsung device are nowhere in sight on an HTC device and your LG experience is nothing like your Huawei experience. For geeks, this is like a dream come true. For Brand purchasers it makes almost no difference (since they will never know what extras they have or what they're missing compared to other brands).
But I just want a mobile phone (well maybe with some apps and stuff too).
Strangely enough, that's probably true for most people. And if you just want a phone with some apps to help you along, the truth is, either will do just fine (assuming you can find the apps you want for that device). In reality, you're much more likely to find a free app that does what you want on Android, and you're more likely to find commercial apps for iPhone (although many more commercial apps are being targeted at Android as it's popularity increases). If you won't be looking to modify your device, the iPhone is perfect (since you would be very limited in this respect) but Android is also acceptable (just because you can modify it, doesn't mean you have to).
But what about all the Geeks out there who are screaming that Android is better than iPhone or Vice Versa?
The reality there is that a "real" Geek wants both and most of the screamers on the "my choice is better than your choice" wars aren't really Geeks, they're pseudo-geeks. A real Geek knows that both environments have their strengths and weaknesses and that neither environment suits anyone "perfectly". There will always be something that one option has, that the other one doesn't and there will always be a Geek out there looking for a way to get that one thing to work on the other. We call them hackers and modders and developers and any number of other names and neither I, nor them has any idea of what's right for you.
As an Android lover I find it hard to recommend the iPhone. As a realist I find it hard not to.
I love the whole concept of Android. I love the freedom, I love the constant updates to my device. I love installing apps just to realize a week later that I really have no use for it. I love that I can get a physically different device and still have my Android my way. There's just a ton of things I love about Android. One of those things is that even an iPhone lover can use it if they stop insisting for a moment that it should be the way Apple did it. BUT that doesn't take anything away from the iPhone. Many Android lovers (and conversely iPhone lovers) think that just because they are in love with what their device has or does that the other must therefore be somehow deficient. The iPhone is a fantastic ecosystem. In some ways superior to virtually all of the other options out there and in many ways, not. Some people will get a better experience being in that ecosystem. We are, after all, creatures of habit and as such we tend to feel most comfortable when we have that with which we are familiar. Apple delivers on that consistently and how could I (in good conscience) not recommend something that helps to deliver that.
Okay if you got this far and you still haven't decided. Get an Android device!
Huh?!??! Seriously. I just got through telling you how comfy, cozy, relaxed and at home you will be if you get the iPhone and you still haven't decided. If that says nothing else about you, it's that at least a part of you is looking for a little bit more than an established, comfortable fit. That's Android, just a hair outside of the comfort zone. Now, of course, you have to decide if you want the Google experience (Android as it's creator intends) as can be seen on Nexus devices, or if you prefer one of the modified version distributed by the various hardware manufacturers (maybe the Galaxy S4 so you can show all your iPhone friends that you have money to burn too). Good Luck with that :)