We love both mobile operating systems and their corresponding devices, but just as Android has its many advantages, so does iOS. Here are our favourite parts of iOS that outdo their Android counterparts.A note on flame wars: We love Android (which should be pretty evident by now). Despite everything mentioned in this post, nobody is (or should be) arguing iOS is better than Android (or the other way around). They both have their strengths and weaknesses, and a lot comes down to personal preference. Most of us love our smartphones and mobile devices, because they’re pretty great, but it’s good to look at both sides, as what you use may not be the best thing to recommend to somebody else. Discussing the merits of each platform is useful for that reason, but bashing either Android or iOS is not. So, please keep the flame wars to a minimum in the comments.
10. The iTunes Media Store
While iOS still doesn’t allow you to sync wirelessly, you can, at least, use your Wi-Fi (and in some cases mobile data) connection to purchase and download music, video, and books over the air. While Android’s not without Amazon’s media offerings, Apple gives you access to an enormous library of entertainment that you can purchase in a few taps. Everything you buy is sent to its corresponding app and transferred over to your computer the next time you sync. The process is seamless. When it comes to buying media for your device, there’s really no better implementation.
*Personal note: I greatly prefer Amazon to iTunes for several reasons, but I think that Apple’s implementation of the iTunes store is far better because of how simple and well-integrated it is.[imgclear]
There are plenty of alternatives to Apple’s AirPlay, but none that work quite so elegantly and intuitively. Out of the box, AirPlay doesn’t really seem all that useful if you don’t own other Apple devices but there are actually several ways to make your non-Apple devices AirPlay compatible. Two-tap video streaming that actually works really well is pretty great, and you won’t find such a nice solution on Android.[imgclear]
8. Find My iPhone
It’s not like you can’t roll your own device-tracking setup on Android, but now that Find My iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) is free it’s no longer the best paid option—it’s just the best. It’s simple to use, it’s easy to track your phone, and it has even helped people catch criminals when the loss was a result of theft (like this or this, for example). It’s been proven effective and costs you nothing. There’s not much more you need.[imgclear]
7. A Better Support System
What happens if your Android phone breaks? There are a few answers to that question, but often times it means dealing with your specific carrier. They didn’t make your phone and they have many different kinds of devices to support. Neither of those things are in your favour. What about your iPhone or other iDevice? You take it to an Apple Store or call Apple tech support. Often times you can make a Genius Bar appointment and get your issue resolved right away (assuming that problem isn’t the total obliteration of the hardware). Apple’s support team—while not perfect—is one of the best there is.[imgclear]
6. Better Battery Life And Management
Over the past few years, Apple’s started to consider battery life to be one of the most important features of its products. This is especially evident in the iPad, which contains around as much battery as humans contain water, but it’s also Apple’s battery management tactics that make this possible. Some may be disappointed that the lack of true multitasking is lost in the name of power economy, but true multitasking isn’t all that great when you device dies because it ran out of juice. While it didn’t start off that way, the latest batch of devices running iOS will get you through the day (and sometimes longer). That’s not always something you can count on with Android.[imgclear]
5. iTunes And Tethered Syncing
iTunes is a behemoth of a media manager but it handles a lot of data as it goes from your computer to your iDevice and back again. It has an enormous amount of responsibility for those who do sync with their computers. You can certainly argue that DoubleTwist brings the features of iTunes to Android, but the fact of the matter is that an application needed to be created to bring iTunes to Android. Android is missing iTunes in the same way iOS is missing Android’s capabilities to install apps via a browser and have them automatically sync wirelessly to your phone.
*Personal note: I really don’t like iTunes, but I think it’s hard to argue that there’s anything that does what it does as well. It is a very ambitious piece of software that doesn’t work as well as I’d like it to, but I do appreciate the difficulty of creating something like it. While there are definitely other great music players, there really isn’t anything else that can do everything iTunes can do (even if it often fails to do some of those things well).[imgclear]
4. No Crapware
Sure, you can pick up the Nexus S and get a phone with no added applications and have an Android phone without any crapware added by the manufacturer, but most people aren’t getting their Android phones from Google. When you buy your Android phone from a particular carrier or manufacturer, you can often to expect a few apps you won’t want and can’t get rid of. With iOS you just get iOS. While Apple might be a little overprotective at times, its walled garden is not without upsides. It’s nice buying an iDevice with the knowledge you won’t get stuck with a Sprint NASCAR app you don’t want.[imgclear]
3. A Bigger And Better Variety Of Apps
While the iTunes App Store is never going to sell classic game console emulators and other questionable apps—and that’s a shame—there is, on average, more money to make when developing for iOS. The downside is that most apps cost a bit of money, but it’s rarely more than a couple of dollars. The upside is that developers who make money are more likely to be able to afford to spend time developing. The gold mine that is the iTunes App Store has also attracted plenty of big name game developers who’ve brought some pretty amazing titles to iOS. Sometimes a little money can go a long way, and it does with apps. iOS has some of the most elegant, polished, fun, and even useful apps. They may be a bit more restricted than Android apps, but it’s not like you can’t jailbreak if you’re looking for more.[imgclear>
2. A Well-Designed, Intuitive User Interface
Whether you like Apple’s hardware and software or not, it’s hard to argue that they aren’t beautifully designed. Apple puts a lot of thought in the design of the interface, from its looks to its ease of use. iOS’ user experience is one of the most intuitive. Android can take some time to figure out, and there’s a lack of consistency in the way third-party apps operate, but if you give someone an iOS device they’ll generally be able to figure out much of the functionality on their own. People are posting videos of their very young children using iPads. Android ends up with sites like this (which isn’t representative of the platform and a bit much, but still makes a point). iOS is nice to look at and easy to learn, welcoming pretty much everyone to the party.[imgclear]
iOS is nothing if not consistent. When you pick up an iOS device, you know exactly what you’re getting. This shouldn’t come as a surprise from a company like Apple, who likes to control every aspect of their products. When it comes to receiving major feature updates, you get them on a fairly regular schedule. While there’s some update fragmentation with iOS, it has only ever been between phones and tablets. With Android, it’s between the many, many different phones as well as fragmentation between phones and tablets. Knowing what you’re getting and that you’ll be receiving updates for at least the next two generations of devices increases the value of an iDevice long past the date of purchase.