Apple's newest update to its mobile system, iOS 5, brought with it some changes to the Safari Web browser, and Microsoft did the same to their system when they updated Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) with Internet Explorer 9.
The iOS and Windows Phone systems are very different, so rather than comparing the many, many features of each, we'll look at one that everybody is familiar with; the Web browser. As an Apple product, iOS is only available on Apple products, but this is not the case with the Microsoft system. Microsoft licenses their software to multiple smartphone makers, much like Google does with the Android system. Also, the Microsoft system is only a year old, and the 7.5 update, called Mango, came out in September. Windows Phone is still a baby where iOS is a sprightly adult.
But one familiar thing that Microsoft brings with their mobile OS is the venerable Internet Explorer Web browser. We're talking IE 9 here, and it supports tabbed browsing and has a souped-up version of its rendering engine for faster graphics. Its major drawback though is that it doesn't support Flash. That may be fixed in the future, but as Mango is so new, there is no word yet on if and how it will be addressed. On the other hand, iOS 5 is not Flash's best friend either, and while there are some workarounds to allow some Flash content to work in Apple mobile devices, for the purpose of this comparison, we'll give this one to Apple, but with an asterisk.
The new Safari browser has a handy option to open Web pages without any ads on the screen. It's called Safari Reader and it lets you read without clutter. Windows Phone can't do that. Both systems do have tabbed browsing, however, and that counts for something because it means Apple and Microsoft have heard the cries of the non-tabbed browser users. The Mango update also introduced streamlined toolbars so there is more room on the screen for content.
Apple's Safari browser wins this battle, not only for the Safari Reader function but also for something called the Reading List. It's like an archive of the stuff you want to read later. Tap the bookmark icon and then Reading List, and it automatically syncs the content to all your iOS devices.
Tell us in the comments if you have used Internet Explorer 9 or if you have sworn off IE entirely.