If you ever read the BGR comments section — a dubious idea even on the best of days — you’ll see hordes of smartphone OS fanboys getting into comically emotional and overwrought arguments over why their preferred platform is superior. As a longtime Android user who’s spent the past two weeks using an iPhone 6 (about which I’ll write much more in the future), I’ve come to see how incredibly stupid these arguments are, and not just because they involve supposedly grown men fighting over whether using iOS or Android makes you more likely to be a registered sex offender.
The single most baffling sentiment that I see expressed by smartphone OS fanboys is the desire to see all rival platforms completely obliterated and sent into the same purgatory now occupied by webOS. This is utterly idiotic because iOS and Android are good for each other.
As I’ve been using iOS for two weeks, I’ve see several features that Android had first and that Apple likely never would have added had Android not been around to serve as competition. Conversely, I see that Android has swiped features from iOS over the years that have made it a far better platform than it would have been otherwise.
Let’s start with this simple fact: There is no way I would have ever been tempted to switch to iOS if it hadn’t become more like Android. The reason I went with Android over iOS in the first place was because it simply offered me a lot more choice — so for example, I never wanted to get stuck with a dinky display like the ones Apple used before the iPhone 6 came out and I never wanted to be forced to use Apple’s crappy default keyboard instead of a superior alternative like SwiftKey or Fleksy.
Once Samsung and its Galaxy Note phablets started taking off, however, Apple realized it would have to go big for its new devices. Similarly, it decided to give its users more freedom to choose their own keyboards starting with iOS 8. Now I can have an iOS device that includes some of my favorite features of Android.
When it comes to features Android has swiped from Apple, we have to look no further than Android M’s new native support for fingerprint scanning technology, which is something that Apple first added with iOS 7 back in 2013. Similarly, Android has made a bunch of major iOS-inspired design improvements over the years that have improved the platform’s overall look significantly. My first Android phone used Android 2.2 Froyo and the difference between that and what we see now with Android 5.0 Lollipop is incredible… and there’s no way Google would have made these design improvements without iOS around.
These are just a small fraction of the features that the two platforms have swiped from each other over the years and I imagine they’ll continue swiping each other’s best ideas for years to come. And this is why iOS users should be grateful for Android and why Android users should be grateful for iOS: The two platforms’ intense competition makes things better for everyone.