iOS vs. Android: The Software Showdown

On September 18, the new iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad and iPod was released. With more than 200 new features, the new software “[is] the most significant change that [Apple] has made to the user interface since the introduction of the very first iOS,” Apple Senior Vice President Jony Ive said.
The new iteration of iOS is mostly a visual overhaul, changing application icon design for the first time since iOS’s introduction to the market in 2007 and streamlining overall aesthetics all throughout the software. The keyboard is different, the apps themselves are different; there isn’t a corner of the new software that Apple hasn’t touched. Apple puts forward that this new design is meant to give the new user experience a more “layered” feel, making use of Apple products more cohesive and collected.

Additionally, the new software engine helps take advantage of the (arguably overbearing) horsepower of the iPhone 5 and 5S, both equipped with multi-core processors and desktop-level graphics processors. This makes the experience using these phones exponentially more fluid than using them with iOS 6 or any other antecedents of the current software, reducing lag and framing dramatically.

iOS’s collection of new features, though, doesn’t outdo its primary competition: Android, by Google.

Android is a different operating system designed by Google that works on a huge range of phones. iOS may be user friendly, but only works on Apple phones. This is mainly because Android is an open-source software, which means anyone in the world can access and put the software onto their devices, so long as they credit Google. This means that any mobile phone company can stick Android on their phones. iOS is not open source, and therefore only works on Apple products.

What Apple calls “innovation,” though, may just be imitation. The new iOS shares incredible aesthetic similarities to Android, like an almost identical lock screen.

Also, the iOS multitasking screen has an eerie likeness to the Android system. In both systems, the applications are shown through a card-style freeze screen, while their icons are displayed below the screen.

Along with having many similar features to the Android operating system, the iOS operating system also lacks in many aspects where the Android system is strong, making iOS 7 inferior to the Android system.

In iOS 7, the screen can only display a maximum of one application at a time, whereas the Android software allows the phone to split the screen between two different applications.

This added functionality allows for better multitasking when working on a phone.

Android software also allows for easier file sharing. The iOS 7 software limits the files one can send to only photos and videos directly from the email application. Although one can use Airdrop to send files to nearby iPhones, it can only work with other iPhones and is not compatible with phones that do not run iOS 7. On the other hand, for Android phones, one can send anything from photos to Word documents using many different third party applications.

Additionally, iOS 7 software limits the applications that one can download on one’s phone. The application store is the only way that one can legally install new software on your phone, while the Android system allows third party software to install on your phone. Although jailbreaking, the process of removing the limitations on the iOS through the use of software exploits, allows you to download third party software, it is illegal in some countries and voids your warranty.

Even with all of the new features in iOS 7, it is clear that the Android system is still superior to that of Apple’s because of the fewer restrictions that the Android system imposes on the phone user. In many ways, iOS 7 takes designs from the Android system and implements them within the iPhone.