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iOS 6 vs. Android 4.1: How Apple's Newest Features Compare to Android

Steven Blum
19

iOS 6 is officially available to download as of yesterday. The latest version of Apple's mobile OS is said to offer more than 200 new features. Since, in addition to my Android, I also own an iPod Touch (fourth-generation), I decided to install the latest iOS version and compare its newest features directly to their Android 4.1 equivalents. Here's what I found!

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps

 

Much ado has been made about the inaccuracy of Apple's new maps service. It is indeed a disaster, plagued by navigation issues, inaccurate information and a bevy of apocalpytic 3D graphics. But, on the bright side, Apple now finally offers the turn-by-turn navigation Android has been offering for over a year. 

In our tests, we preferred the look of Google Maps for Android, hands-down. Not only do the maps show more information, but the navigation was on a street-level, not from a birds-eye-view – much more helpful if you're lost.  Even worse (of course): Apple gave us the wrong directions to a popular Berlin landmark, Alexanderplatz. In reality, the entrance to the soaring tower is on the other side of the street.

 

As far as 3D-mapping is concerned, Apple has created some impressively three-dimensional areas of the city, but by no means is every block available in 3D and even famous landmarks look really bad. In conclusion, Apple needs to update Maps with user-input ASAP! For now, it's no question: Android is the clear winner in every regard.  

Facebook Integration:

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One of the features Apple is touting in their  new iOS is complete integration with Facebook. Of course, Android owners probably wouldn't get too excited about that. We've been able to share anything on any network ever since Android 2.0. But it's a nice addition, and the way the Facebook icon pops up when you want to share is quite cute. Otherwise, there really isn't anything to see over here.

It must be noted as well that Android owners can also share photos and just about anything on not just Facebook but also Twitter, Dropbox, Bluetooth, Picaso, Skype and hundreds of other apps.

Apple does have one leg up, since they allow users to sync their Facebook contacts with their address book. Android 4.1 only offers a roundabout way of doing it; you need to download a 3rd party app to synchronize your Facebook account with your Android.

App Store vs. Google Play Store:

  

At long last, Apple has updated the look of their App Store. The refresh was sorely needed, in my opinion, as the old store wasn't so visually appealing.

The new design brings a much more aesthetically-exciting look but navigating around is actually harder. Maybe it's because the icons are too big now, but it looks like not everything fits into the screen. In fact, the icons on the far right are almost always cut-off. Graphically, it's quite pretty, but you can't help but feel that some space is being wasted.

Of course, the Google Play store is far from perfect. The apps don't look as shiny and appealing, for one, and there aren't any beautiful headers of which to speak, but at least everything fits on the screen. 

Passbook:

 

The idea behind Passbook is both simple and ingenious: an app that can organize movie and concert tickets, vouchers and coupons. To redeem, you can simply have someone scan your device. But that's not all: Passbook will even scan your location and open your ticket automatically when you unlock the screen; helpful if you're already distracted and trying to get to your flight. Passbook will even notify you of gate changes. 

In other words, this is a damn cool service. There's really nothing this comprehensive in Android land.

Do Not Disturb

Another simple yet ingenious new iOS 6 feature is Apple's "Do Not Disturb." This allows you to set quiet times for your iPhone when no one should be able to disturb you. However, you can still make it possible for friends and loved ones to call you anyway, or even set the app so that if someone calls multiple times in a row, the call will go through (in case of emergencies).

Stock Android 4.1 doesn't offer this feature, but certain ROMS like Cyanogen Mod offers something similar. Even if you don't root your Android, you can find a number of apps that allow you to create designated quiet times for your phone. 

Conclusion: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Apple would like you to believe they've made over 200 changes to iOS in the latest update. In reality, the number of updates you'll actually notice is quite small. Although many of these changes were badly needed, they don't go above and beyond anyone's reasonable expectations. iOS  has evolved a bit, but the evolution is too slow; the homescreen still looks the way it does five years ago, there still aren't any widgets and notifications aren't interactive like they are in Android. The only real innovation Apple has brought to the table seems to be Passbook – and you still can't use it with NFC because the iPhone doesn't even have that yet. In conclusion, Apple has barely innovated, and where they have innovated, sometimes they haven't done such a great job. At this point, it just looks like they're playing catch-up.

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Comments

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  • jose rodriguez Sep 21, 2012 Link

    "Stock Android 4.1 doesn't offer this feature, but certain ROMS like Cyanogen Mod offers something similar. Even if you don't root your Android, you can find a number of apps that allow you to create designated quiet times for your phone. "

    Motorola Android Phones offers this feature with the "Smart Actions" app, included in all models since GingerBread. Actually, that is just one of the actions you can execute for that event. Lots of events can be monitored and actions could be from sending a sms, activate plane mode, control volume,...anything you can do with your phone... so, I think this feature in Ios 6 just innovate in Ios, not in Android.

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  • Patrick R. Sep 21, 2012 Link

    Most of what comes out in iOS is in Android in some shape or form. With the above list, only passbook is not in Android - AFAIK. The rest are in Sense, Touchwiz, Motoblur etc. (including custom roms). MIUI is one of the most complete roms I have encountered. Google would learn much if they monitor Xiaomi development.

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    DaBartonator Sep 21, 2012 Link

    Taken from ur conclusion apple still sucks

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  • Ibraheem Satti Sep 21, 2012 Link

    This is an objective article ... i like it

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  • mohamed hisham Sep 23, 2012 Link

    i still love android os

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  • Mike Carroll Sep 24, 2012 Link

    I like both. And will develop for both. There are certain things I like about Apple and things I love about Android.

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  • CJ Brown Sep 24, 2012 Link

    I'd say PASSBOOK (along with a re-designed iTunes) is one of the best features that APPLE implemented in years .... DO NOT DISTURB is a nice feature, but would these two features make me become a member of the Apple Cult Consumers? No, because I believe Android will have similar apps available to download (or certain features will eventually be implemented in Ice Cream Sandwich / Jelly Bean updates) ...


    C J

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    Christopher Silva Sep 24, 2012 Link

    Apple made some steps here to implement new functionality ,and as usual, a couple hit a home run and a couple have failed.

    Maps as a failure is simply unacceptable. Imagine not longer having accurate GPS !

    I use mine every day.

    This is where we expect Apple not to fail, the big ticket functionality, Maps.

    So what does this say about iOS6?

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  • Jordan Dietrich Sep 26, 2012 Link

    I was under the impression that you could sync Facebook contacts to Android natively. Am I mistaken?

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  • Michael Phillips Sep 26, 2012 Link

    I have been a HUGE Google fan and in some retrospects, I still am. Between me and my family, we have owned three Android phones; HTC, Motorola and Samsung and all three have been nothing but multiple issues from power cycling, folders locking up, disappearing icons that you have added to your home screen...to name a few. and most of it has had to do with the Android software not working correctly with the device...Basically Google is having to design the Android software to work towards multiple manufacturers phones which can lead to quirks and software issues (iPhone designs both their phones and their software which leads to less issues).

    Yes, when software issues come up, Google will fix the bug and make software updates available only to find another bug...and it becomes never ending. I have owned the HTC Thunderbolt for almost two years now and I am stuck with it until I am able to upgrade but Google stopped making software updates for this phone and now I am stuck with a phone that power cycles and freezes up on me and I have done a factory reset with no change.

    Why am I saying all of this? I know a ton of people that have owned iPhones since the first version came out and they have had nowhere near the issues that I have encountered with Android phones; some have had absolutely zero issues with their iPhones and my point is...It does not matter how many improvements or bells and whistles a phone manufacturer offers on their phones when they tend to not be so reliable. You can do any web search and see for yourself that the iPhone is more reliable than any Android device and that is why I have decided to switch to the iPhone when my upgrade becomes available.

    I am, in no way, trying to slam Google...as I stated above, I am still a HUGE fan of Google and they may have the edge when it comes to innovation however, they need to step it up on software reliability....

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  • Jordan Dietrich Sep 26, 2012 Link

    @Michael Phillips: Don't get me wrong, because I know the frustration you are feeling and I've experienced some of the same issues you've described. However, they aren't Google's fault. Google isn't responsible for updating Android for each phone, the manufacturer is. All of the issues you've described are manufacturer-specific, and it is up to them to fix it. Google update the main build of Android, and that's it. Sometimes they'll fix issues that are caused by inherent flaws or problems in Android itself, but then it is up to the manufacturer to adapt that update to work on their phones.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is one of the few phones that Google DOES update, since it runs stock Android. I've used and abused the hell out of this phone, and I've had no major issues or glitches.

    Like I said, I understand your frustration, and, given your experiences, I don't blame you for wanting to switch to the iPhone. I considered it after my first Moto Droid due to the folder locking issues as well as the missing icons issue.

    Just thought I'd clear up some apparent confusion :)

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  • Michael Phillips Sep 26, 2012 Link

    @Jordan Dietrich: Thanks for the clarification...and if that is the case, then the phone manufacturers need to step it up if they want to be competitive with iPhone as far as reliability.

    The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the phone my sister has and she has had nothing but issues with hers and I believe she sent hers in and they sent her a new one with no change. Another issue you think they would try to fix to be competitive is the battery life. I know both the iPhone and the Android phones are basically hand held computers and require a lot of power to run them but the iPhone has always had a much better battery life than the Android phones.

    I jumped into the Android hype head first and now I am regretting it... :-)

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  • John Bernard Sep 26, 2012 Link

    I have made my way from Blackberry to Iphone and finally Android (three days ago. My major complaint with iphone had to do with outlook syncing issues which was overcome in the android world but only through third party software (which, ironically is now available for iphone).

    I actually think the iphone moves about a lot more smoothly but for me, coming from the PC world, looks a lot like communication in a foreign country; you know what theyre saying, but it sounds different.

    I don't believe there is any remarkable difference between them, having used both (Blackberry is nearlt defunct) but found myself wanting to migrate back before the fourteen day Verizon period was over, largely because I had become very familiar with the iphone.

    Its still a little early for me to say anything definitive about this Droid Razr MAXX but my sense is that it is more compatible with overall computer experience.

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  • Jordan Dietrich Sep 26, 2012 Link

    @Michael Phillips: I agree wholeheartedly with the manufacturers needing to step up their game. Being on Verizon is particularly painful in this regard. I just got my update that was released months ago by Google thanks to a hang up on Verizon's end.

    Battery life is one area that the iPhone (and most Apple products, for that matter) handily trounce MOST Android phones in. The Droid Razor Maxx and Samsung Galaxy SIII are a few notable exceptions, but even they are simply equal to the iPhone's battery life, or slightly better, depending on usage.

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  • John Bernard Sep 26, 2012 Link

    Jordan; that was one thing I found with the iphone. I had no trouble keeping the battery for a day anyway.

    It's a good piece of gear but I think the Droid is more comparable to the PC world, at least from my vantage point and with Companionlink, I seem to have beat the problem with Outlook. Looks like I have my contacts (in excess of 1600) along with all categories etc...

    I miss the smooth acting form of the iphone but this seems more PC ready.

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  • Jordan Dietrich Sep 26, 2012 Link

    John: By smooth acting form, do you mean the responsiveness of the UI? If so, the newest version of Android, Jelly Bean, made HUGE strides to improve the somewhat laggy response of previous versions. Even with a year old phone that is a little weaker spec-wise that is full of countless apps and docs, Jelly Bean's enhanced response time makes a very noticeable difference. I still don't think it is even quite as smooth as my friend's 6-month old iPhone 4 though.

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  • Rafael Cantu Sep 28, 2012 Link

    "Apple does have one leg up, since they allow users to sync their Facebook contacts with their address book." WRONG!. Android CAN sync with Facebook with contacts! I'm doing that on Gingerbread 2.3.6 on my Samsung Galaxy s2! Do your homework before reporting mistakes like that!

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  • Jordie Lewis Sep 30, 2012 Link

    @Rafael Cantu You're quite correct. I've been Facebook linked since my Galaxy Gio on Gingerbread. Now I'm using ICS on an Xperia Neo and... Nothing changed! I'm not sure where he got that bit of mis-information from.

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  • Murali Dhar Pendyala Dec 23, 2012 Link

    very attractive post man! thanks alot by the way,you helped me to learn more about this thing. Here is another post for comparision . please give it a look :) thank you !
    http://www.techsoulz.com/2012/10/apples-ios-6-siri-vs-androids-jelly.html

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