When ordinary non-geek people find out I’m in the biz, I often hear “I’m going to dump the dumbphone and get something slick. Should I get an Apple or an Android?”
This question is getting harder and harder to answer. Here are some things I used to say.
“Movies, Music, Media? Apple” · This remains a little bit true; the world’s still playing catch-up with Apple’s media ecosystem. But it is catching up; Amazon and Google are both investing hugely in providing low-friction soup-to-nuts offerings, and really want to be your books/music/movie store.
And I don’t see how Apple has a moat here, some special secret sauce that the competition won’t be able to match.
“Live in Gmail & Calendar & Docs? Android” · Yeah, but becoming less true. The Googlers who build iOS apps are damn talented; Gmail is pretty great on iDevices and I assume those guys have their eyes on all the other pieces of that puzzle.
“Love Games? Apple” · Not any more, I don’t think. I guess a few games ship on iOS first, but for most people’s purposes, there’s rough platform parity.
“Use Maps a Lot? Android” · Well, that used to be true.
“Industrial-design junkie? Apple” · I suppose, and clearly the last couple of generations of iPhone are among the most beautiful pieces of electronics anyone’s ever built. But, um, I’m sort of bored; I want Mr Ive to surprise the world again.
And some of the recent HTC handsets are to die for.
“Stingy? Android” · True in the tablet space, for sure. But if you’re cash-challenged and still want an iPhone, you can get the previous generation for not very much at all, and there’s a big used-iPhone ecosystem too.
“Image-conscious? Apple” · Fair enough: a high proportion of the world’s hippest people still carry iPhones.
“Want more space? Android” · Yep. When I’ve handled an iPhone 5, I’ve been wowed by the manufacturing quality and the extreme responsiveness. But if you’re used to a recent top-end Android, the screen is just too small.
And Your Point Is? · The ecosystem is leveling out. It’s hard to find a slam-dunk argument, for any particular person, why they should go for A rather than A. Which is to say, handset competition is maybe becoming (dare I say it) sort of boring.
“Want to Play Ingress?” · Android.