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Apple mocked Android at the iPad Air 2 launch. Does it have a point?

Apple and Google tried to steal each other’s thunder this week by hosting events within 24 hours of one another, and Apple took pot-shots at Android KitKat during the iPad Air 2 launch. Is there substance to the shots or are they meaningless bits of marketing?

iOS vs Android 4
We love a bit of silly rivalry, but is there any substance to the criticisms? © ANDROIDPIT

Apple traditionally mocks Windows during its public statements - Steve Jobs’ comment that iTunes on Windows was like offering a glass of iced water to somebody in hell is fairly typical - but in recent years it’s taken pot shots at another target: Google, usually in the form of Android. The iPad Air 2 launch was no exception, with digs at Google Wallet and a big graph designed to make Android look bad.

Did Apple have a point?

To an extent, it did. Apple hammered the point home that its Apple Pay service was “private” - a clear dig at Google Wallet, whose lack of widespread support is generally believed to be because Google wanted access to shoppers’ purchase history. Retailers weren’t keen and if Google hadn’t been insistent, there might not be an NFC payments niche for Apple to exploit. 

Android kitkat ios 8
Android gets a mention at most Apple events these days. / © Apple; AndroidPIT

Lies, damn lies and statistics

The bigger point was in the big graph, though. As Apple pointed out, 48% of its users were on iOS 8 within 26 days of its release. For Android KitKat, the figures were 25% - and 313 days.

There’s a bit of selective reporting going on here, of course. Apple didn’t mention that iOS 8 adoption is stalling, probably because the stingy storage of its entry level mobile devices doesn’t leave enough room for over-the-air iOS updates, and it didn’t mention that due to Android’s much bigger market share, 25% of Android devices means a hell of a lot more devices than 48% of iOS ones. Apple says it’s sold 225 million iPads and it’s believed to have sold 500 million iPhones; sales of Android devices in 2014 alone are expected to top 1.2 billion. 

The percentages look fairly accurate, though, and they once again underline a significant problem with Android: manufacturers are often very bad at supporting Android updates on older devices. Google, like Apple, tries to support its Nexuses for as long as it can - the lack of the Nexus 4 in the Android 5.0 L device list was an accidental omission, Google says - but third party OEMs aren’t always so keen. If you want to be sure your Android device is as future-proof as possible, keep an eye on how the various manufacturers deliver, or don’t deliver, Android L for their existing customers.

What do you think? Do Android manufacturers forget about their customers once they've got their cash?


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  • CJ Brown Oct 22, 2014 Link to comment

    Its all propaganda during these p.r. stunts from both sides to encourage sales

    I chose Android over Apple for personal reasons

    I also learned that if you want immediate software updates? Buy a Moto , or Nexus (I have zero trust for HTC , Samsung , LG after owning their consumer electronic goods)

    Custom ROMS are nice (so are immediate updates via Google Play)

    Its up to Google to insist that Manufacturers offer customers 2 - 3 years guaranteed software updates (provided smart phones with less ram / processors then today's models can support the latest OS)

  • What Apple fails to discuss is that their update process is a fairly scorched earth thing. They do not support backward compatibility. The older iOS apps may or may not run on the new iOS, but new iOS apps don't run on old versions of iOS. So yeah, users update to IOS 8 and it's free, but that doesn't eliminate the fact there's a gun to your head.

    And when Apple decides your device is no longer worthy of support, be that one year (original iPad) or longer since you bough it new, you will soon lose access to new apps. That's the bottom line, and the real fact is that more older Android devices run the latest apps than iOS devices.

    Not that companies shouldn't offer better version upgrades, and that can start with Google. They dropped support for my Galaxy Nexus after less tan two years, and sure, they had TI as a scapegoat. But that was a cowardly way out, since it wasn't a sufficient answer... TI provides the board support software, the very low level code. Far as I can tell, the hardware never changed. And the fact a few freeware coders delivered ASOP to the GN is a pretty indication it was possible. And good.. 4.4.3 is the best OS I've had on that phone.

  • Lee Oct 17, 2014 Link to comment

    Apple isn't Apple without Steve Jobs, but then again Apple wouldn't be Apple without it's flock of iSheep 😊

  • CyanogenMod, the saviour! 😂

  • droidmanX Oct 17, 2014 Link to comment

    We can always update the latest firmware from Xda developers. We really don't have to depend on companies to release software. It is not about who gives the updates first. It is about having proper bug free firmware which does the job. And most of the time firmwares are pretty good. Android has improved by leaps and bounds. It is apple who is getting taking ideas from Android. If anyone deserves to be mocked. Then it is apple.

  • Yes I think they do, especially Samsung. Very slow on updates.

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