Is Apple Still the Best Mobile OS?

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We think it is very important for iOS or Android apps developers or builders to keep a close eye on what both the public and those who write about computers think about the business. It is our responsibility to know who is buying what, how much they like what they are buying, and the strengths and weaknesses of all the major platforms.

Recently, in PC Advisor, we came across a piece discussing the comparative merits of four operating systems: Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 8. Currently, we specialise in iOS and Android, but we have learned to “never say never” when it comes to the computer or mobile devices business.

Consequently, we are very interested in seeing whether Blackberry can rebound from having literally 100% of the smartphone market when they started, to having 2% in 2012. We are also interested to see if Windows Phone can be a force in the industry, like they are with computers, or if it is too late for them to make a dent in the market.

Here is a summary of each:

Apple iOS

iOS is currently at version 6.0. It runs on iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone. Safari works well as a web browser, but you can’t run sites that require Flash. You can easily view your email on iOS on most major services, such as Google, Yahoo, Outlook, and iCloud. If you designate a contact as a VIP, you are able to view their messages across multiple email accounts.
iOS has the most apps of any of the four services, and the Apple apps that are included are great for note-taking, calendars, and reminders. You can store purchases from iTunes in iCloud, but you will have to have an Apple ID to keep everything together.

One great feature: Apple’s regulations for apps ensure that malware is virtually non-existent.


Android is an open-source program. This can be good and bad. It is great for creativity, but it makes Android more open to malware. Android is owned Google, and most Android Apps are sold through Google Play. While their security isn’t nearly as stringent as that of Apple’s App Store, most apps from Google Play are safe to install.

One app with which Google beats Apple badly is Google Maps. Apple Maps is still known as a debacle, while Google Maps is the standard. Google Apps are linked to your account with Google, and every app you have ever downloaded or bought can be used on every Android device you own. Android’s magazine selection isn’t as strong as Apple’s, but their book selection is equal.

Google is often criticised for gathering too much information from its users, but the result is that you can find almost any information you need while traveling.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone has some nice features. Microsoft wants to link tablets, computers, and phones to the same operating system. Most Windows Phones have large screens, making it easier to use the tiles for their apps.

You will need a Microsoft ID, just as you now do with Windows 8 computers. This allows you to play music through Xbox Music Pass for a monthly fee. Windows has a cloud service called SkyDrive, and they give you 7GB of storage for free.

Their biggest weakness: 120,000 apps compared to nearly 800,000 for both Apple and Android.

At this point, we are in the “wait and see” mode with Windows Phone. We don’t know if Windows 8 will be the next Android or the next Windows Vista.

BlackBerry Z10

When iPhone and Android came out with touchscreens, BlackBerry fell fast and hard. They literally went from 100% of the market to 2% of the market in a few years. BlackBerry’s new OS is great, and is extremely efficient, but currently they only have 70,000 apps.

The main problem with BlackBerry is it’s 2% market share. It will be a massive undertaking for BlackBerry and RIM (Research In Motion) to come close to being a major player again. We “never say never,” but we can’t recommend BlackBerry at this point.

The Verdict

Apple iOS and Google Android are the top operating systems a huge margin over everyone else. Both companies have fought tooth and nail for market share over the past few years, and both are thriving.

Apple might be a little better, but they are charging more money. From a consumer standpoint, the “bang for buck” factor is about equal. From a builder and developer standpoint, we can’t favour one over the other at this point.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either Android or iOS. Call 1300 650 253 for more information.

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