Ever since the inception of Android, it has been locked in a mortal battle with iOS, with Apple founder Steve Jobs publicity stating that he was willing to go thermonuclear and spend his dying breath to destroy Android. Well the news is, he is long dead but the war continues. With both of these platforms combinedly running almost every smartphone in the world and backed by two of the most largest corporations on earth, this race isn’t just an affair between two mobile platforms but in a sense has fueled the entire tech industry for years and been a primary motivation for rapid and cutting-edge technological innovations.
And with the latest preview of iOS11 that flaunted many new features and improvements, this race can only be expected to intensify in coming days. That is why it is essential to take a comparative look at both of these platforms because along with affecting almost every smartphone user, it will give both the Android and iOS app developers a deeper insight, using which they can effectively layout their future development plans.
Now, since a complete analysis of all the features of both the platforms is simply not in the scope of one article, we have here curated most relevant features that each platform has incorporated in their latest iteration:
Battery life improvements
Android traditionally puts no limit to the number of apps and tasks they perform in the background, which is known to drain the battery considerably. While it put the number of apps to a limit since Android Nougat, the latest O version brings with it more restrictions on the background tasks that will definitely give a major boost to the battery life.
Where does iOS stand– Apple has traditionally been very strict with what apps can and can’t do in background and that is the reason, it is known for its much superior battery life and is years ahead in what Android is trying to achieve.
More appropriately, this feature should be called application-in-application, which allows users to simultaneously operate two applications at once. The users have the option to minimize one application to a tiny window which floats over any other application they launch. Be it playing YouTube videos while scheduling calendar or browsing net while reading an eBook, this feature is the new frontier of multitasking and will give a major boost to overall productivity.
Where does iOS stand– while this feature is available for iPad, there is no news of it coming on iPhones anytime soon.
No matter how many applications you have in your phone, the shape of every icon is identical and it isn’t for the lack of creativity on designers’ part but because of the restrictions these platforms put on developers. But with Android O, Google is allowing Android developers to create and deploy custom icons in any shape they see fit.
Where does iOS stand– iOS developers still do not have such liberty and given the Apple’s stance on simplicity, don’t expect it either.
This is another area which Google has been consistently improving over the past few updates and Android O takes it to a whole new level. Offering users with broadest possible range of customization options, those irritating moments from irrelevant notifications may finally come to an end.
Where does iOS stand– Ask any tech expert and they will tell you that customization and iOS don’t really go hand-in-hand and it would be foolish to even think that Apple will allow such large-scale customization options in the near future.
For all those users frustrated with filling the same forms over and over and scrambling with multiple usernames and passwords for different services, Android O comes with a big relief. The new Autofill API will manage all such information to take the load off. Yes, there have been such services offered by third-party apps for years, now that it is a native feature, the process becomes much smoother and secure.
Where does iOS stand– Though developers and users have been asking for a similar feature for quite some time, Apple has sidelined them on security concerns and seems there is little chance that it will change its mind.
Drag & drop
This new feature in iOS enables the users to simply drag and drop texts and images from one application to another without actually copying. All they need to do now is select any text in browser or image in gallery and drop it to another note-taking app or email to send as attachment.
Where does Android stand– Google introduced a similar feature in its last Nougat update and as it seems Apple has just dragged and dropped the feature from there.
File managing app
Finally, all the requests and prayers of users have been answered by Apple, which until now didn’t offer a file manager. The new app will include platforms like iCloud, Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, and of course local files.
Where does Android stand– Though Android too doesn’t have a native file manager, most of the vendors include one on their phone. Additionally, the PlayStore too is flooded by such third-party apps but by incorporating it as a native feature, Apple seems to have gained an upper hand.
The well-renowned AI assistant Siri too is getting a makeover with iOS11, enabling it to do additional tasks like translation between two languages, plus the option to choose male voice may also be a welcome change.
Where does Android stand– Though the whole domain of digital assistant was practically created by Apple when it first launched Siri, Android has since then taken major leaps and Google assistant coupled with Google Translate has proved to be a much powerful tool for all practical purposes.
More than any other feature, the release of ARKit has been the most exciting aspect of iOS11, specifically for iOS app developers. The new framework enables them to create all sorts AR enabled apps that can be readily deployed to the millions of devices.
Where does Android stand– This again is an aspect where Apple seems to fall behind as the Google’s Tango is believed to be leaps ahead in AR technology from any other industry player.
The best for last?
There is a popular perception in industry that with iOS11 preview, Apple hasn’t disclosed all its cards and with its 10th anniversary coming up, it is more plausible that it will disclose the most killer features at the launch of new iPhone. So, the most we can do at this moment is to keep our fingers crossed.
If you take a casual look at the new features from both Android and iOS, it becomes evident that the Android at the moment is racing ahead with iOS closely behind. But that by no means can be considered as the final verdict because as mentioned, Apple still has a chance to leap ahead with its new release and if it does, it will be Google’s turn to play catch-on.
So, as you can notice, the battle between these platforms with virtually limitless resources is getting fiercer with every passing day and while the domain keeps shifting from phones to apps to cloud and now AR/VR, each score their own share of victories and setbacks only to take the fight to the next level.