5 Ways iOS is Better than Android:

Note: This is a point-counterpoint article style.  If you want to see 5 ways Android beats iOS, click the link at the bottom of the article.

If you want to start a flame war on the Internet, there are a few topics to try bringing up.  One of these is iOS versus Android.  Even just a news article about a minor update or rumor about one OS or another is likely to summon anger and hate.  That being said, there are a few ways iOS is better than Android.  Here are 5 of them.  These reasons do not revolve around downloadable apps except where it applies to the debate.  Also, the arguments are not listed in order of importance or effectiveness.  Jailbreaking and/or rooting is also not being taken into consideration unless explicitly stated otherwise.

     SECURITY:  McAfee certainly finds iOS more secure than Android.  For better or worse, Apple tightly controls the experience of iOS, including the flow of apps into the App Store.  Apple’s examination process means increased security against malicious apps making it onto your iDevice.  We have seen proof of concepts where the App Store has some security bugs or apps have gotten through Apple’s screening process, but overall nothing like the malicious attempts against Android.

This goes deeper than just apps though.  Apple has the Find My iPhone app available for all of its iDevices in case yours gets lost or stolen.  I can’t tell you how many times in my job I have used or have seen this used to track a student’s stolen iPhone.  Of course you can get free or paid third-party options in the App Store and some of them offer more features.  But Apple’s own offering provides a very simple experience that you can access from any computer or iDevice that allows you to track your phone, send messages, or erase your entire phone.  Android has no solution of its own for this.

Both stores have apps that sometimes grab things that they probably shouldn’t be meddling with (why do some games need access to my contact list?), but with the recent iOS 6 update, Apple has allowed finer controls.  Now apps that want to access your Address Book, Location, Facebook or Twitter account, among other things, have to actually ask permission to do so.  Admittedly this whole thing started after a few scandals, but better late then never.

     MULTITASKING:  iOS multitasking was implemented before Android got their own solution and has done it better since day one.  Just a double tap on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch’s home button brings up the multitasking bar.  You can slide through all of your open apps, or slide to the left and get access to your music controls.  Pause, play, fast-forward, and rewind, or jump straight into the app playing the audio be it Pandora, your Music app, or whatever.  You also can control your iDevice’s AirPlay streaming controls and whether to lock the screen’s rotation.  iOS users also got the ability to kill apps from that multitasking bar, even if they didn’t actually need to.

Android users get most of the same multitasking features like background audio or voice calls, but application switching didn’t get any native solution until Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”.  Android users had been using app-killing solutions from the Android Marketplace, but it took Google until Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” to actually implement that feature natively.  Admittedly the way Android 4.0 does it looks pretty slick, but it seems like something that could have been included so much earlier.  And speaking of apps…

     APPS, APPS, AND APPS!:  If there was one thing any smartphone or tablet has to have these days, its apps. While Steve Jobs may not have initially liked the idea of iOS apps, it’s pretty safe to say that he was wrong.  Today, Apple’s iOS has the largest marketplace for apps of any mobile OS (and maybe even some desktop operating systems).  iOS has over 600,000 apps with almost half of them for the iPad.  If you’re looking for an app, chances are you’ll find it there.  Apple does place some restrictions on how apps may function, some of this for security while others seem downright controlling, but as a whole, the Apple experience works fluidly, and many developers have figured out how to use the rules of iOS to their needs, especially with the lack of a file manager like Mac’s Finder.  On the user end, many people are leaving the standard computer for the iPad, including the elderly, students, young children, and more.

Some of the limits also factor in to quality control.  Apps on iOS seem better built, more stable, and less resource intensive than their Android counterparts.  This certainly seems like a factor in why iOS users are more willing to retain apps than Android users.  To be fair, some apps are great across platforms, while others are coded badly no matter the platform (I’m looking at you Facebook), so Android and iOS are not completely responsible for apps or their entire quality experience.  It’s also fair to note that the amount of free apps on Android is greater than iOS.

This also affect developers too.  Many developers publish an app hoping to make some money for the time they put into it.  This varies from developer to developer and the reason the developer makes an app may not be solely for profit.  It’s not uncommon for popular apps to come out on the iPhone or iPad first before making the leap to Android.  Why?  Android developers don’t make the same amount of cash as iPhone users do.  Macworld reports about how developers make less on Android than iOS.

     RESPONSIVENESS:  This is where we get a little technical.  Hardcore Android users love to talk about the hardware specs of their devices.  These can include 2 gigs of RAM, quad-core CPU and graphics, NVidia chipsets, etc.  For any tech geek, those are fairly impressive mobile stats.  Here’s something Android users never seem to talk about though: why does iOS run just as smooth, if not smoother, then the majority of Android devices while having generally lower stats (save for the graphics processor and the resolution of the screen on the latest models)?  Android and iOS users can play the same games, like ShadowGun, but iOS tends to play it so much more cleanly than Android.

Let’s look also at touch response.  The response time of an iPhone or iPad is consistently faster, more fluid, and better tracks your finger’s motion than Android.  This is what it breaks down to: iOS was created from the very beginning to be a touchscreen system, meaning that responsiveness to your touch needed to be a top priority.  So iOS sets a user’s touch command as a “real time priority”.  When you touch your iPad or iPhone’s screen, the device puts your touch and the corresponding commands at the highest priority.  It focuses all its attention on you like a puppy on a new toy.

When Android was first developed, it was competing against BlackBerry, so Android originally used a physical keyboard and mouse like BlackBerry.  Then the iPhone came out, and Android had to adapt.  But they implemented touch as a “normal priority”, treating it the same way as all the device’s other processes rather than the most important.  Google could fix this, if they wanted to have almost every app in the Google Play store rewritten to support the change.  Chances of this happening in the near future are pretty slim, so Google and manufacturers will likely keep sticking with more powerful hardware.  You can read more about this at Redmond Pie’s article.

FRAGMENTATION:  OK, I saved this section for last because it’s a very sensitive point in the debate and is probably the most detailed.  This argument also tends to be the go-to argument when people comment on the negatives of Android and I wanted to show there were other legitimate reasons before coming to this one.

With that out of the way, Android has a huge fragmentation problem, partially as a result of its openness and partially because of Google.  Android is available on many different devices running different hardware specs, screen sizes, and versions of Android.  It’s only recently that Google has tried to reign in on Android’s fragmentation problems.

Let’s start with the user interfaces.  You get a different user interface per manufacturer: Motorola has Blur, there’s HTC’s Sense, the stock Android experience, etc.  If you switch manufacturers, say to the Samsung Galaxy series from a Motorola phone, you have a little bit of a learning curve.  Some of these interfaces are downright ugly, though that’s a comment directed at the manufacturers rather than Android.  Different user interfaces aren’t a problem if a user chooses it because that’s their choice, but it’s a different story when you can’t customize that (which has always been a strong point for Android).

While we’re on the subject of manufacturer differences, let’s talk about stock apps.  Every OS comes with stock apps, such as the browser, calendar, etc.  But Android, like Windows on the desktop, generally has extra apps that the manufacturers put on the devices to make extra money and they have the right to do so.  However you don’t hear Windows users cry out in the same way that Android users do over third-party stock apps.  Why is that?  On Windows, you can always uninstall these apps, but not on Android.  If you want to uninstall the third party stock apps like security services, office software, etc., you have to root your device.  Plus, mobile phones don’t have the hard drive space that a full computer does.  You can eventually uninstall these apps, but you have to wait until there is a way to root your device (basically putting you in complete control over your device), and these aren’t always stable activities and can end up breaking your phone if you use the wrong one.  It’s one thing for Google to have their stock apps, but it’s different from those apps that a manufacturer puts on there.

Apps are also a problem on Android.  I’m not talking about the quality or range of apps on Android, I’m talking about not being able to install apps.  Let me explain: there are apps on every operating system, desktop or mobile, that won’t install on certain versions or devices or lack of requirements.  Some apps don’t update and require older operating systems, while some are new and don’t support older versions.  Likewise apps aren’t capable of running on some systems because of the lack of hardware requirements (this is especially true for media intensive apps like games).  No use using a camera app if your device has no camera.  So why am I picking on Android?  It’s the way Android handles this issue.  If I run into an app that I can’t run on my iPhone or iPad (which is rare indeed), the App Store will tell me that this app isn’t compatible with my device.  On Android, I don’t get this pop-up for incompatible apps.  In fact, I don’t get anything.  If an app isn’t compatible with my device, looking it up on my device won’t tell me that.  It just acts like the app doesn’t exist.  I have to go to the Android Marketplace website to see this for certain.  I want to be clear here:  I’m not talking about screen size limitations.  There are apps that are only available on my iPad that aren’t available on my iPhone and vice versa, and this isn’t something I hold against Android.  This is specifically when I’m look for an app on two different Android devices the app will show up on one device but not others.

But by far the worst thing about Android fragmentation is updating the OS.  In the iOS world, so long as your device is at least 2 years old or younger, you’re guaranteed to get the latest version of iOS.  You may be lacking some features due to hardware or Apple limitations, but you still get the majority of the patches, features, and fixes for your device. The latest version iOS (6.x.x) already is on a majority of iOS devices.  If you’re waiting for an Android update, join the club.  The current version of Android (Jelly Bean, 4.1-4.2) is still only about 10% of the market.  The hardware manufacturers are doing a pretty lousy job at upgrading their devices, even their latest devices.  They aren’t making the grade.  The only devices that consistently get the latest and greatest Android updates are the Nexus devices running the stock version of Android.  Those are released yearly and are run almost entirely by Google, who also controls the design of the Nexus devices, though they outsource the actual manufacturing to one of their hardware partners.  Funny, does this sound a little like Apple?

CONCLUSION:  I’m not an Apple fanboy, despite what you might think.  There are things I sincerely like about Android, and some things I wish would change in iOS.  All that aside, I know that my iDevices will always have the latest software for at least a few years, have a wider and better selection of apps, and will work when I need them too.  Apple and iOS aren’t perfect, but this is a case where the vertical integration style of Apple just works, and that’s what I really need.   If you care to hear 5 ways Android is better than iOS, another post will come out soon detailing 5 ways Android is better than iOS.  I encourage you to read both sides of the debate.

In the comments below, we want to hear what you think.  Was there something I missed, something I got wrong, or just have your own take to add to the debate?  Tell us in the comments.  You can check out more on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  And check out our Google Plus.  Thanks!

Could OS X Be Your Next iPad?

There have been several times where I have looked at my Macbook’s screen and thought, “OS X would look pretty cool on a tablet,”.  Tim Cook, however, recently shot down that idea.

Tim Cook was asked about a Macbook/iPad hybrid.  He said, “Anything can be forced to converge, but the problem is that products are about tradeoffs, and you begin to make tradeoffs to the point where what you have left doesn’t please anyone,”.  Steve Jobs mentioned that when designing the new Macbook Air, Apple had explored touch screens on their Macs.  Compared to a mouse/trackpad and keyboard combo, however, the touchscreen on a laptop or desktop just doesn’t flow.  Touch screens don’t want to be vertical.  After using a propped iPad to watch YouTube videos, I can understand why; without some sort of backing, the device gets pushed back by your fingers when propped vertically, risking be knocked over.  And when you have to do it constantly, it begins to feel tenuous.  Pausing a video by tapping a vertical screen or switching to your email doesn’t feel the same as it does with a keyboard and mouse.  I can’t imagine serious photo and video editors trying to manipulate precise cuts and effects with their fingers, no matter how much they would look like Minority Report.

But all of this been the talk of a touchscreen laptop, much like the current wrap-around laptops, or what Microsoft has been planning with Windows 8.  But what about a pure tablet?  What about a Mac-Pad?

Reasons for the Mac-Pad:


When Apple released the updated Macbook Airs, they said they had been experimenting with  touch screen Macs.  They said, however, that it was a hassle to constantly have to reach up toward the screen to move stuff around.  But the example picture they used showed a standard Macbook

A touchscreen Mac or a tablet Mac?

Pro, not a tablet.  I agree that a laptop with a touchscreen could cause problems, though a touch screen iMac might be cool.  But we could apply the same thing to iOS at the moment.  Many cool iOS appsand features would seem a lot more trouble with a mouse than on a touchscreen.  While the trackpad can mimic many of these, it just doesn’t feel as immersive as a touchscreen. If a touchscreen Mac could succeed, the best would be in an iMac (or subsequently an Apple Display) or an iPad-like touchscreen only Macbook (hence the name Mac-Pad).

Even with the speed and functionality of the iPad, there are still things that iOS struggles with.  The office suites on iOS still leave much to be desired, as well as photo and video editing.  Likewise, there are still a few websites that are using Flash or have yet to be optimized for a mobile device and don’t function properly.  My father was applying for a job online with his iPad, but he couldn’t bring up the job application because the pop up window was oversized and could be zoomed out to fit on the screen.  Internal company websites are also not optimized generally for mobile devices, and likely will take time to move in that direction.  Having a laptop is nice for this, but some can be bulky to carry around and opening them just to wait on the OS to load can be a hassle, especially in very mobile professions, such as construction, medicine, etc.  Having a tablet with a full-blown desktop OS would alleviate many of these problems.  We’ve already seen it in Windows and Linux in the past and present.  Likewise, both Ubuntu and Microsoft have already talked about tablet optimizing their operating systems (see Windows 8).  Having the full power of OS X at your disposal in the convenience of an iPad.

Reasons Against the Mac-Pad:

The Mac-Pad already has some drawbacks.  First is the screen.  A 10-inch screen looks great on iOS, but OS X would begin to feel cramped.  One only has to look at the 11-inch Macbook Air to see that.  Likewise, if a Mac-Pad wanted to keep the same specs as the 11 inch base model of the Macbook Air, it would likely be as thick, if not thicker than the iPad.  For a 13 inch screen, and better specs, it might have to go bigger, especially given the heat it would have to disperse.  If a user had to render a large video or picture file, or try some high end gaming, the Mac-Pad could overheat faster than an Air or Pro.

All this jacks up the price noticeably and could hurt the chances of it coming to market.  But let’s pretend Apple did succeed in making a Mac-Pad and solved the heat dispersion issue, the thickness, and how to keep the price down.  Let’s pretend it replaced the 11-inch Air with the Mac-Pad, and kept it at the base price of $999.  I imagine that while some Apple fans would buy it, and a couple of mobile professionals might buy it, but I have trouble believing that the public might buy it.  What would prevent them from spending a few bucks more and buying a better, full blown Macbook Air, or even a Pro?  Or they could save a few bucks and buy an iPad, which for the average user can serve many of their needs just as well as a Mac.  Even buying the most expensive iPad from Apple is still cheaper than the cheapest Macbook.

Likewise, some of the design flaws would be inherited from the iPad and have to somehow be accommodated.  The iPad has (that could be moved over to the Mac with little trouble) the power button, a volume rocker, and the mute/screen rotation switch, as well as the charging port.  Even

Patent sketch of a Mac-Pad (courtesy of tabletpcreview.com)

though Apple can be known for being radical and taking items out of their computer before the mainstream does, even they wouldn’t be crazy enough to sell a Mac without a USB port (at least, not yet).   They would have to integrate it into the Mac-Pad, which would add to the thickness and weight, as well as potentially hurt the clean-cut design of a Mac-Pad.  They could go with external dongles, but while dongles are not essential for an iPad to really function, doing the same with a Mac doesn’t sound ideal in the least.

One last reason is the touchscreen integration itself.  For this, I only have to turn to iOS and Android to prove this point.  When iOS was created, it was built to be a touchscreen from the ground up.  Almost every facet was designed to use the touchscreen, which is why iOS has been very good at giving fluid motions and quick responses to the touch of your fingers.  Compare this to Android: Android was built on a keyboard and mouse interface originally to compete with its original competitor, Blackberry.  When iOS came out, the game changed, and Android had to gain touchscreen abilities.  Unfortunately, to integrate touch the same way iOS does, a good portion of Android would have to be rewritten.  And as time has gone by, and Android has become more ubiquitous and more apps have been brought to the platform, that has become harder to do.  So Android had to add touch capabilities on top of the OS as it already existed.  While this gave it the ability to use a trackpad in things like the Asus Transformer, it meant that touch responsiveness has been an issue.  Bringing this back to OS X, trying to get the same fluidity of touch from iOS to OS X would only be the same play on a different stage.

Conclusion:

Do I expect a Mac-Pad?  No, certainly not any time soon.  More realistic is some hybrid between iOS and OS X.  Is the idea still cool?  Yes.  But then again, maybe I missed something.  Maybe there’s a better reason for a Mac-Pad that I missed.  Do you have a better reason that it could or could not exist.  Let me know below.  Leave a comment and tell us what you think.  Email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  And be sure to check out my Google Plus.  Thanks!

The Summary of the iPad 3

The iPad 3 has just been announced, and some major changes have been announced.

  • iPhoto for iPad: Apple brought GarageBand and iMovie to the iPad, and now iPhoto joins them.  The entire iLife suite has come to the iPad, and the app looks beautiful.
    iPhoto for iPad

    It allows for more advanced color correct, editing, multitouch edits, and more.  You can buy it for $4.99

  • Camera: The camera has been updated dramatically.  The rear camera is now 5 Megapixels, has improved white balance, automatic face detection, and can shoot 1080p video.  This is not as good as the iPhone 4s, but the same level as the iPhone 4.
  • Retina Display: The iPad 3 has a major update to the display, boating over 3 million pixels on the screen, which Apple says is the highest on any mobile device.  From initial looks, it looks like a fantastic update, and great for playing high quality games or those new 1080p videos you might be shooting.
  • A5X: The new chip is the A5X, which is a dual core CPU, but a quad-core GPU, meaning that your graphics functionality is going to be vastly improved, which goes great with your iLife suite and new cameras, but for high quality gaming, such as N.O.V.A., Infinity Blade, and more.  This could also bring more high intensity games to the iPad, such as what you see on consoles.
  • 4G LTE: AT&T and Verizon will be getting their own 4G LTE enable iPads, starting at $629.  No word on Sprint, though I’ll update the article when I find out.  Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple has formerly made comments about the compromises adding 4G would add to the devices, but it seems those statements are in the past.  This likely means that the next iPhone will also have 4G.  The battery life has only taken down by an hour is 4G is enabled, otherwise it remains at about 10 hours.
  • Dictation:  A lot of people were hoping for Siri on the new iPad, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  The iPad 3 comes will the ability to use speech to text, just tap the microphone button on a keyboard to start.  However, you can’t use the voice dictation like Siri on the iPad to schedule meetings, reminders, etc.  This is something I think will come out in the future, but I’m anxious to get it.

You can preorder the iPad at http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/family/ipad, and read more at https://www.apple.com/ipad/.  The price scheme hasn’t change, 16-Gig WiFi-only starts at $499, and $829 for a 64 Gig 4G iPad.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page at https://plus.google.com/107817518299218190319.  Thanks!

App of the Week: Dropbox (plus a bonus)

 When you install a new app for the first time, your first thoughts are usually judging whether or not it’s worth keeping and using, especially for the inevitable day you get a new device.  It is not everyday, though, that an app makes it to your personal "top 10 apps" list, especially in the first 5 minutes.  But this week’s app, Dropbox, did just that.

 Dropbox is a file synchronization tool, that can also acts as a backup tool, and a file sharing utility, all in one program.  After making a free account on Dropbox’s website, you download the apps, and install it.  The app logs your computer into your Dropbox account, and makes a folder on your computer.  From there, any files you put in there are copied and uploaded onto Dropbox’s very secure servers.  You still have the file on your hard drive for anytime use, but also one online that you can access anywhere, anytime by logging into your Dropbox account through a Web browser.  Even better, it works for Mac, Windows, and the major versions of Linux.  They also have an iOS, Android, and Blackberry app (other systems on the way), that work a little differently, but we’ll discuss that in a bit.

 You can also make folders within your Dropbox folder to organize your stuff.  There is also a pre-made "Photos" and "Public" folder that allow you to share files with other people.  The Public folder is especially useful; once the file has been uploaded to the Internet, you can copy a link from Dropbox, and share it with anyone by email, social networking, anywhere you can put a link.  Once they click on the link, the file will start downloading to their computer. 

 Since it is cross platform, you can install Dropbox on multiple computers in your own house or across the world that will sync to your web account, so you have the same files everywhere.  You can tell Dropbox, though, to only sync certain folders to certain computers, which is nice if you don’t want to mix home and work files, but still want to keep them backup and access anywhere.  If Dropbox sees that your multiple devices are on the same network, it will sync over the local network first before the web syncing (which is many times faster).  I wouldn’t suggest syncing applications though, only files like documents, pictures, etc., as they won’t necessarily install across devices (not to mention the legal issues). 

The mobile apps work a little differently compared to the desktop apps: mobile apps only show you a link to the files in your Dropbox, but don’t download them to your device unless you manually tell Dropbox too.  A bit of a hassle, but makes sense given the small hard drive space of a mobile device compared to a full computer. 

What’s the catch you might ask?  Dropbox is free, but it only gives you 2 gigabytes of online storage, or the storage size of a small flash-drive.  For things like school papers, documents, etc., this is still a lot of space, but people with large photo or music collections  this certainly won’t solve their problems.  You can pay Dropbox for 50, or 100 gigs of online space.  However, Dropbox gives you several ways to get more space for free including:

        Following thier tutorial after the first installation,

        Connecting it to your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts

        Having a .edu email address (college students and professors).

        Sharing Dropbox with your friends

        And many more

 That’s where my apology comes in:  Last week, I went to Charleston to go help rebuild some houses for those in need (I highly suggest everyone does that many times in their lives, though don’t everyone fly to Charleston).  Because of my leaving though, and the purposeful leaving behind of my Macbook, I did not get a chance to upload an "App of the Week" post like I usually do.  For that I am sorry.  To make up for it, I have a special Dropbox link for you all.  If you don not yet have a Dropbox, and you want one, hit the link below.  Once your register, Dropbox will give you 250 megabytes of free space (about 1/8 the size of Dropbox by itself).  It’s not much, but it’s free space.  Can’t argue with that can you?  I didn’t think so.

Here’s the link: http://db.tt/AMoy7pj

And for those of you who don’t like the free space: www.dropbox.com

If you have an app that you would like me to look at, feel free to shoot me an email at easyosx@live.com, or leave a comment.  And don’t forget to check me out on Youtube by hitting the Youtube button at the top.  Thanks for reading.

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