Before you read this, I would like to tell you that the information provided below is from my perspective so you may find it a bit biased. Though, I made a thorough analysis of the difference between the two platforms as well as their pros and cons. I hope readers will read it in an objective perspective and tell me your personal opinion on the comment section below. Thanks!
This is the recording of me discussing the topic of pros and cons of a media ecology including locked appliances, on contrary to an ecology of open platforms.
It has been under debate whether iOS or Android device is the better option for users. From the beginning, Google and Apple – the manufacturers of these two platforms – have already been rivals. They both keep upgrading their devices, inventing new smartphones to the public and coming up with new, innovative ideas about their products. If there is anything that we all agree on, Android system seems to be ‘open’ while iOS is considered a ‘closed’ system. To answer the main question, let me go into detail the difference between the two platforms.
A closed media platform a.k.a. a locked appliance is a prototypical walled garden, which is completely restricted and controlled by its manufacturer. Technically, the manufacturer has full control of every sector of the platform, including the users themselves. A metaphoric prime example of a closed platform is the Apple iPhone. ‘When you buy an iPhone, you’re not simply buying a piece of hardware, but actually a package deal that includes software, hardware, and a wireless contract‘ – a final say of Apple on what applications users can install.
In comparison to a locked appliance, a generative open platform is a platform that has no central control. The manufacturer has no complete power over the platform, allowing users to contribute to all aspects of the software up to and including applications.
Open source is great. It allows innovation and development from very intelligent people all around the world. However, this freedom of control opens up the device to exploitation and manipulation of the platform. The lack of centralized control makes them highly vulnerable to viruses. On the other hand, viruses are not common in Apple products due to their governing power over the system.
While Android allows users freely download apps, videos, images and music – things that are restricted on iOS devices, it does not mean we can ‘pirate’ paid apps for free. Most Android users have been doing this ‘illegal’ thing and it actually discourages developers from giving out meaningful updates and deviates themselves from the OS itself. This is a reason why apps on the iOS are more reliable because Apple has made it hard for users to pirate paid apps. Besides, except for the IT guys, we ordinary people just want reliability, meaning iOS devices: simple, easy, everything works good, reliable, and the work is done for us by the developers.
From my personal opinion, I prefer iOS devices. To me, besides its convenience, easy-to-use feature and friendly-looking interface, it also shows that the company is passionate about what they have created and prefer not to have anyone use or modify it, which improves the value of the products created by dedicated developers.
In reality, according to the data provided by Global Web Index in 2015, there are 3 Android users for every iOS user. With the rise in popularity of Android devices worldwide, the swing towards prosumer-friendly products is evident. So does it mean it is high time for iOS closed operating system to be eased to reach consumer’s need in competition with Android’s open system? Or should they stay the same as they have always been?
The bottom line is, it depends a lot on user’s interest and demand. If one enjoys using the available apps with sufficient function, then they are pleased to use an iOS device. If one prefers customization and the freedom of control, then Android phones would suit them.
How about you? What operating system runs on your mobile?
Maddison Dunn, ‘iPhone vs Android’, weblog, 27 March 2015, <https://maddisondunn.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/iphone-vs-android/>, viewed 12 May 2017
Android Authority, ‘Android vs. iOS – Differences That Matter’, Youtube, 14 April 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwhK_5jgJBo>, viewed 12 May 2017
Felim McGrath, ‘There are 3 Android users for every iOS user’, Global Web Index, 23 February 2016, <http://blog.globalwebindex.net/chart-of-the-day/there-are-3-android-users-for-every-ios-user/>, viewed 12 May 2017