It used to be that iOS and Android were considered polar opposites: One was all about a locked-down, walled garden that delivered a very smooth user experience while the other was a wide-open platform whose freedom came at the expense of consistent user experience. However, Jan Dawson at Techpinions points out that over the past couple of years, Apple and Google have been working to make iOS and Android a lot more alike than either company would like to have you believe.
In Android’s case, Google is doing a lot more to lock down what its biggest vendors partners can do with it to help ensure a stronger user experience. Next year Google and its partners will unveil the first phones that carry the “Android Silver” label, which will signify that they meet Google’s new standards when it comes to delivering a consistently better Android experience with less bloatware and heavy-handed UI changes.
On Apple’s side, we’ve seen signs that the company is looking to open up its mobile platform bit by bit, most recently when it announced that iOS 8 would for the first time let third-party developers offer replacement keyboards such as Swype and SwiftKey. In addition to this, Dawson also notes that Apple is starting to get more Google-like ambitions to get iOS onto more devices instead of just a small, focussed handful of products.
“In the form of HealthKit and HomeKit, Apple is beginning to look far beyond its own products to the challenge of integrating a plethora of third party devices for tracking health and fitness on the one hand and controlling the smart home on the other,” Dawson writes. “In both these domains, Apple is pursuing a much more open approach, controlling only the software connecting other people’s hardware, which in some ways is much more like the approach Google and Microsoft have taken in the past.”
What does all this suggest? It seems that, contrary to what we hear out of certain fanboys, no one company does everything perfectly and that Apple, Google and Microsoft all have a lot to learn from one another. The result is that, whether Google and Apple admit it or not, Android and iOS are getting more similar and not more different.