Tech

iOS 7 vs Android: Which is Better?

iOS 7 has been released to much fanfare from critics and developers alike. However, the average user (that won’t buy a $100 developers license from Apple) will be receiving the iOS 7 update “sometime in the fall,” which was when Apple exec’s said, at WWDC 2013, the final release of the update would be released. But, which is better, iOS 7 or Google’s Android? Let’s find out.

User Interface

ios7Thumb
Apple’s iOS
Throughout the years, iOS hasn’t really undergone a major change. Since Steve Jobs first unveiled iOS back in 2007, the interface and aesthetics has stayed relatively the same. That all changed with iOS 7. The inception of the transformation iOS has undergone started with the death of Steve Jobs. At the time, everyone went berserk because no one knew what Apple would do without their driving force and co-founder. Tim Cook took the reigns, but Wall Street and tech pundits were lukewarm on him. It wasn’t until Phil Schiller was essentially fired by Cook that people started to realize that Apple, and their mobile technology, would be going through a major change.

The rebirth of iOS 7 is evident from the Welcome screen. iOS 7 starts with a plain white screen that just says “Welcome to iOS 7.” That’s it. Quite contrary from the skeumorphism — a design style favored by Schiller and Jobs — which essentially models one’s digital life to mirror reality. For instance, in iOS 6, the Calendar app actually resembles a calendar. But, in Jony Ive’s “flat” iOS 7, the Calendar app takes a minimalist approach, ditching the leather and opting for a cleaner look. As an iOS user from since before I can remember, the change is definitely welcomed.

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Google’s Android

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Despite iOS 7’s differences, Apple is definitely playing from behind when it comes to the user interface. It seems like iOS 7 is just an amalgamation of Android and Windows Mobile’s extremely flat operating system. Apple’s new parallax effect makes it seem like the icons are jumping out of the screen, but Android’s Jelly Bean has had that effect since it’s inception. The thing is, Apple has a unique ability to take the best features of other platforms and convince users that they’re “innovative” ideas. A flat operating system isn’t remotely innovative or groundbreaking — it’s been around for awhile — which is why Android wins this round.

Winner: Android. While iOS may look flashier and nicer, Apple’s essentially copying the best of Android and Windows Mobile.

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Features

Apple’s iOS

ios 7 gif

iOS has added some great features, including Control Center, Airdrop, Notification Center, Siri, Multitasking, and more are all new.

Here’s what we wrote about Control Center in our iOS 7 review:

Just by simply swiping up on your screen, you can turn on and off a multitude of services, like Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb. You can change your screens brightness or the systems volume, easily connect to other iOS devices using AirPlay, or access a flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera. It’s something that is extremely basic, it is incredibly useful for quickly and efficiently turning off some key features that can deplete your battery life.

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Almost every app has gotten a redesign, and some have added features. Siri can now speak in male and female voices, and is supposedly better than before, though we haven’t noticed any changes.

Multitasking is a lot different too:

Instead of switching between apps by double tapping the home button and a small row of active App icons popping up, iOS 7 uses live tiles (like Microsoft in Windows 8) and preview screens of the apps you have open. To close an app, just swipe up. It’s a drastic change from what multitasking was originally; I can definitely see some iOS users getting a little confused when they upgrade their phones to iOS 7, but it’s easy enough to figure out.

Google’s Android

android 4.2.2

Interestingly, Android’s had most of these features, and Apple added them only after users started complaining about the versatility and malleability of the Android ecosystem. A Control Center-esque feature has already been on the Android ecosystem for awhile. Same with multitasking: Android had a much better multitasking feature than Apple since it was released (initially, Apple didn’t even have a multitasking feature). Similarly, with notifications, Android had a similar feature set up long before Apple did. While Apple may be marketing these features as “new ideas,” they’re not.

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Verdict

Here’s the problem with iOS 7: there’s nothing remotely original about it. It’s gorgeous and well-done, even in its beta stage, but all of the feature and interface changes that Apple made have already been done by other ecosystems. So, while iOS 7 may look better, Android win based on ingenuity and inventiveness.

It should be noted that this isn’t the final version of iOS 7, in fact, rumors say that another version of iOS 7 may be coming out as soon as July 8th. To get iOS 7, check out this article.

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