Look around. You’ll find a number of smartphone manufacturers that have phones with better specifications than the iPhone. One example is the new Samsung Galaxy S8 with that gorgeous edge-to-edge OLED display. Samsung’s displays are vibrant, colorful, and compare very well up against an iPhone.
For an iPhone user who is into Google’s apps or even Microsoft’s apps, and uses the standards– FaceBook, Twitter, et al for social media– making a switch to an Android device can be mostly painless. And there are plenty of Android smartphones out there that are on feature parity with iPhone, some that have better hardware and more features, and almost all of them are priced less.
So, why can’t we switch to Android?
Apple differentiates Mac, iPhone, and iPad via macOS and iOS. Neither are the same as Windows or Android OS, despite similarities in operation (point and click, touchscreen), and somewhat feature parity. What makes us stick to Apple’s products, specifically the iPhone?
The package. More than iOS or macOS, that sets Apple’s products apart from the competition. Everything is wrapped up in a cohesive package, a curated system that gives us email, browsing, contacts and calendar, and all the basics that we need and use regularly, but tied together so well that a switch can be painful.
Let’s take Messages as an example. Messages for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Watch is vastly superior and pleasant experience over SMS text messaging on Android devices. First, Messages syncs across the board– Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch. Second, Messages has an advantage because it isn’t limited to a cell phone. It can be standalone for Mac and iPad users who don’t have a data plan. It works on Wi-Fi.
Messages are encrypted from device to device. Sharing is an absolute breeze; text, files, photos, stickers, drawings, you name it. Messages sends and receives it. It even has built-in games. It can be depressing to see that green bubble indicating a standard text message vs. Messages.
Another huge difference is usability. My work requires me to have a non-iPhone smartphone. The user experience with Android just isn’t the same as with an iPhone. Yes, Android devices have far more settings to choose, but along with that list comes complexity; where the hell are all those settings? Somewhere. Notice how iOS places settings in an almost user popularity hierarchy. Also notice how easy it is to pick up someone else’s iPad and use it right away. That’s not the same experience on tablets or smartphones with Android inside.
We have to remember that Apple is a hardware company. That’s where the money is. Software is but one of the basic differentiators, and not all software is created equal. So, what if Apple decided to put Messages on Android (the Google Play Store)? After all, Apple has Apple Music running on Android? Messages on Android would make it easier to switch from iPhone. Why would Apple do that?
Hell isn’t going to freeze over this time. iTunes on Windows was a no brainer because it expanded the iPod platform and boosted the market for music sales. Messages on Android would do none of that.