I am committing one of the Pragcap cardinal sins here by writing about Apple Corporation. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me, but I’ve had a number of requests on my opinion here so….
In late 2011 I wrote a controversial piece about how I was dumping my iPhone for an Atrix 2 and particularly the Android operating system. I said Google was about to go “thermonuclear on Apple”. Not surprisingly, this was not a popular opinion at the time. I thought the tide was changing and that consumers were yet to realize that the Android operating system was not only a better value, but that it was bound to close the gap on Apple and render its competitive advantage marginal. Since then, we’ve seen a huge rise in Android phones and now there are cracks in the once unbreakable Apple foundation. In my opinion, the tide hasn’t stopped changing.
I should start by saying that Apple is an amazing company. Their string of technological advancements in the last 10 years has to be one of the greatest runs in the history of tech companies. From the iPod to the Iphone to the iPad. And that’s not even touching on their computer business which remains a behemoth. I’d had an iPhone since the original one came out. I loved it. It was jailbroken, customized to my liking, the perfect phone at that time. Definitely the most incredible technological advancement in smart phones in the last decade. But technology changes fast and boy has Google closed the gap quickly.
I’ll admit that the Atrix 2 wasn’t nearly as awesome as the iPhone. How could it be? But the software had made leaps and bounds since I first used an Android phone and decided it was a piece of junk. I later upgraded to the Galaxy S3 when it came out and that sealed the deal. Not only had the software improved even further, but the hardware was now coming along. Now, no one will beat Apple on hardware. Their designs are too sleek, too sexy. But that’s not why I own technology. I own it primarily for its functionality and that’s where Google has now matched Apple and depending on who you are, they’ve surpassed them.
Of course, it depends here. I’d say that the primary reason I have now switched permanently to a Google phone and a Google note pad (Nexus 7) is because the software integration is seamless. I am a very heavy Google user. Gmail, music, calendar, the works. And the way Google integrates you into their software is seamless. I literally carry my Nexus with me everywhere now. It’s that awesome and convenient. But ultimately, it’s all in the user experience.
To me, I think that’s what it comes down to. Is your technological life mostly Apple based? Or is it mostly Google based? If you’re like me and you use mostly Google apps/accounts then it’s a no-brainer. You should be moving to a Google based software platform with Android. If you’re an Apple user it probably makes more sense to stay with Apple. But the reality is that Google has now closed the gap in terms of software and hardware to the point where it’s no longer a matter of which one is better or worse, but which one is more convenient for the user based on how seamlessly they can integrate your on-line life into their software. For so many of us who are embedded to the internet through Gmail accounts and other Google services, it makes me skeptical that the Android system won’t continue to improve and integrate its software dominance across these handheld devices.