A mushrooming breed of soothsayers in tech websites and blogs are predicting the demise of Apple iPhone, and by extension, arguing that the Google Android OS will beat Apple's iOS as the mobile operating system of choice in future.
Expectedly, Apple fans scream blue murder. What essentially fuels the iPhone demise talk is the apparent edge Android phones have in terms of certain specs like screen size, processing power, battery life and camera capability.
A closer look at the unique features of iOS, and the iPhone, will dispel some of the fears that the flagship Apple device is facing some imminent danger. Far from it. Apple has strengths that none of its competitors has. iPhone will remain superior to smartphone competitors thanks to the fact that Apple is uniquely positioned to design the software as well as hardware for the phone, a factor that distinguishes its phones from myriad Android devices.
Rival manufacturers make competing products based on the Android operating system. Maximizing the features of the OS and making them sync with the hardware with utmost efficiency is not their forte. Or at least, Apple has an edge on this front. The very fact that Apple owns iOS will make its products far superior to the competition. Of course, there have been allegations that Apple's is a closed system compared to the Android. However, if efficiency and ultimate user experience are more important than piecemeal advantage in terms of certain specifications, then iPhone will be the winner.
Let's consider some useful details here.
iPhone obits are written based on the dashing features its competitors are boasting of. For example, Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 2X have dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 chipset while HTC Sensation is powered by 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon. And Samsung Galaxy S2 boasts of dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP GPU, Orion chipset.
The iPhone 4 runs on Apple A4 processor. Gadget circles say iPhone 5 will have the A5 processor, the same that Apple rolled out to power its iPad 2. It is pretty pointless to compare devices against iPhone 5, which is not yet launched, but iPhone critics say the beasts from the Android stable, like Samsung Hercules for example, will have blazing fast dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor.
How much does processing power matter? It does matter a lot, but a more balanced judgment would be that the totality of a phone's efficiency matters a lot more than mere speed. Here, a more balanced comparison should be made between iOS and Android OS. Apple probably doesn’t need to jack up the processing speed in its iPhone purely because its OS is a winner against Android OS. In other words, an Android smartphone needs higher processing speeds to run applications as quick as in an iPhone.
It is also pointed out that though ipad 2 has a slower processor than quite a few tables boasting of dual 1 Ghz, it emerges faster of the lot. Android 2.3 Gingerbread is not as refined as iOS in terms of simplicity, innovation and in terms of aesthetics. Apple's advantage is that its OS has more meaningful control over how the software performs in tandem with the hardware.
Another area where iPhone 4, and the hitherto unannounced iPhone 5, are pilloried by tech bloggers is that the Apple phone has smaller screen size. iPhone 4 sports a 3.5-inch screen, and the rumor is that Apple could go for 4-inch screen. And then, iPhone critics point out that a whole lot of Android phones have bigger screens. For example, Samsung Galaxy SII has a screen size of 4.27 inches, display resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and Super AMOLED Plus display screen.
Would many complain if Apple decides to stick with 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 5, especially considering that people do not like to lug around a larger phone without obvious advantages?
And, for argument's sake, it can be pointed out that in terms of resolution, iPhone 4 will beat the Motorola Droid Bionic, which is touted as a mighty iPhone slayer. With a 960x640 resolution on 3.5-inch screen, iPhone 4 could easily beat Droid Bionic's 960x540 at 4.5 inches, in terms of pixel density.
Attacking iPhone 4, and iPhone 5 by extension, on the battery capacity spec has mostly become a case of missing the wood for the trees. IPhone 4 has the Li-Po 1420mAh battery, which users have found quite handy and reliable. But comparisons are always made against a slew of new Android phones sporting batteries with higher capacities. For example, Samsung Galaxy SII boasts of a 1650mAh battery while Motorola Droid Bionic has Li-Po 1930 mAh battery.
A straight comparison here may not be the right thing to do here. It is argued that smartphones running on Android OS with cumbersome features will require bigger batteries to compete meaningfully against iPhones powered by smaller batteries.
Overall, Apple iOS is used by about 200 million people while Android OS is running on roughly 135 million active devices. Android smartphones’ sheer variety gives them a combined sales boost as they represent the myriad faces of the competition against the monolith that iPhone is. And then Android is also getting a helping hand from carriers, which unabashedly promote Android devices basically because of their low prices. Android’s open-source platform helps carriers customize the phones in terms of features and services. Again, carriers can afford to give various Android smartphones free under a contract whereas Apple has so far shied away from such a strategy. It is also pointed out that Android phones usually have many lower-end features that appeal to a larger section of people.
However, Apple critics latch on to this last point and hammer the tech leviathan for being elitist and closed ended. The critics say more innovations take place in the Android world than in the iPhone sphere and that this could prove fatal for Apple. Just as BlackBerry tumbled from a position of ominous strength, and as Nokia lost out in the high-stakes game, the tide will ebb away from Apple gradually, they argue. It is interesting to watch how the smartphone war shapes up!