In this, the third part of the article, we will look at some of the standard applications that come with iOS and some of the better/high end Android based devices. Before we actually get to these “standard” apps, a mention of the overall UI has to be clarified.
While the iOS devices have no buttons that you would require for any application control, most Android based devices would have around 3 application control related buttons (these could be touch buttons on some of the better devices). In short, you would need to figure out and get used to operations on every Android device, even if they are from the same vendor. The other major difference is that all Android devices have a fixed number of pages where installed application icons appear. On iOS, there are a substantial number of pages and the applications can be organised into folders as well. For instance, I have only one page on my iPhone since I have organised all applications into folders based on their category.
After this brief, let’s move on to the “standard” applications. The first that comes to mind is “settings” or “configuration”. On the iOS devices, it’s an application called “settings” which looks and works exactly the same across all iOS devices based on their features. For example an iPad WiFi or iPod touch would not have GSM related settings, but, the rest would be exactly the same across. On Android devices, you would need to figure out which settings are where and then try and figure out the technical terminology used. This is true even of devices from the same vendor. Once again, the winner is iOS as far as setting up and configuring a device is concerned.
Delving further into the settings, iOS allows you all the normal settings you would expect, but, with one major limitation. You cannot customise any iOS device beyond setting ringtones and wallpapers. Apple does not allow this even with third party apps from the AppStore. Android based devices have no such limitations. You can customise your device to a very large extent including using standard music files for alerts and ringtones. If you want a custom alert or a ringtone on iOS, it is a process that one has to learn. You can even replace the standard “SMS” application on Android devices, use almost any third party web browser etc etc.
iOS is a closed environment and Apple does not allow even third party browsers unless they use the crippled iOS webkit which gives the stock Safari browser an unfair edge over other third party browsers. Again, in my opinion, Apple does most of this to “protect” their lame programmers as there is no other logical reason to do so. Effectively, Apple frowns upon any application that does the job far better than applications by their own lame programmers and designers.
In the long run, this attitude could put Apple right back where it was before the iPhone and Steve Jobs…being a nobody and a wanna be. Of course, easier said than done. If Google and the other Android supporting majors continue on their current path, Apple will continue to rule this space. Microsoft seems to have lost it’s way completely ever since Bill Gates “retired”, so, I have little to no hopes there. Which leaves BlackBerry…well…let’s just leave that one out for now as well.
Okay, now that we have run through the first application, a very brief mention on the other stock applications. There is no equivalent of FaceTime and iMessage on Android devices. Although quite a few of the better Android devices (read expensive) come with the WhatsApp messenger installed, it is still a third party application and not a Android stock app.
You could even install Viber from the Google “AppStore” and replace the standard SMS application for a far better experience than using the included WhatsApp Messenger. My personal choice is to install Viber on Android. It is far better designed and more featured than WhatsApp for the most part. Do keep in mind that just because WhatsApp, and some others, come pre-installed on some Android devices, does not mean that they are standard Android apps and are available on all Android devices.
The last couple of stock applications that I would like to mention here are the maps and voice control.
The maps related part I have already mentioned in an earlier post. Apple killed maps and therefore all location related services and applications the moment it decided to “create” it’s own maps. It was, and still remains a “sick” Apple design idea of have a clean UI with nothing marked out on the Apple maps so the UX would never come into play. It is, indeed, a miracle, and a mystery, that the top brass at Apple were not removed by the Apple board right after the incident of the Apple maps “release”. This “release” also introduced a crashing bug in Apple Mail on OS X as already mentioned in a previous post.
Google, on the other hand, has continued to improve on their maps. So, in case of the maps, Android is a clear winner by a margin that is simply too large to even attempt to mention or quantify.
The same applies to the voice recognition app of Apple called Siri. The Google search voice recognition is way ahead by some light years and since Android has no pretences of “protecting” lame programmers, the voice recognition and integration on Android is far superior to Apple’s limited and feeble attempt with Siri.
Also, Google and the Android device vendors do not indulge in the kind of marketing malpractices that Apple does in it’s iOS updates. Apple is known to limit, cripple and remove functionality in newer iOS version for older devices. The general claim being the user experience. My question would be that if it was the user experience, why was the functionality there in the first place? Add to this the fact that even if a device is equally or better powered than the other, how come the “other” device has a new feature which the more powerful or equally powered device does not!
As a last comment for this part of the overall article, consider the following:
- I buy an iOS device with iOS at version x.y
- Apple updates iOS to x.y.z and removes/changes functionality which I do not like/want (Siri/Google maps for example. I have no use for Siri, but, I still want Google maps as the default).
- Something goes wrong with my device and I am forced to re-flash to the new iOS x.y.z since Apple will not allow me to restore my original iOS version of x.y
I hope someone sues Apple for this…sometime…someday…someplace where it would hurt them just like it does the users of iOS devices. My point here is simple. I paid for a device with a certain iOS version on it. I want the right to stick to that version of iOS and not be forced by Apple to upgrade for whatever reason!
Incidentally, none of these major issues/flaws in iOS came up while Steve Jobs was around. This part seems common to all the majors. Once they have made money and the people who created the difference move on, for whatever reason, the others are only keen on larger pay packets, rather than even attempt to try and continue on the path that brought them there in the first place.
Okay, after all this ranting, we will now move on to the security aspect of the iOS vs Android devices in the next part. Although “security” can mean different things to different people, let me assure you, it’s important to all! Yes, it’s important even to the casual home user in a variety of scenarios.