Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th Oct 2013 16:37 UTC

Insightful article by John Gruber.

So the irony here is that iOS vs. Android (or, if you prefer, iPhone and iPad vs. commodity smartphones and tablets) is in fact a replay Mac vs. Windows - but not in the way that most who make the comparison would have you believe. Judging by its actions, Apple is keenly aware of the lessons to be learned from 20 years ago. To wit, this has nothing to do with focusing on raw market share, and everything to do with keeping the pedal to the metal on design and quality. If Apple maintains a lead over its rivals in those regards, the Mac suggests that Apple can occupy a dominant, stable, long-term position as the profit leader in the mobile market as well - a market that is already bigger than the PC market ever was, and unlike the PC market, is still growing.

As insightful as the article is, it does pivot on the assumption that Apple does, indeed, "[maintain] a lead over its rivals" in design and quality. Design is largely a matter of taste, but as far as quality goes, Apple has, in my view, been surpassed in almost every aspect by Android - at least, when it comes to software. And let's not even get started on internet services, where Apple is a complete and utter joke compared to its competitors. As far as hardware goes, however, Apple's supposed lead is harder to debate - I've held a lot of phones and tablets in my hands over the years, and while many come close to Apple's, I've never held anything that outright surpassed it (save for maybe the HTC One which no one is buying).

Unsurprisingly, Gruber believes Apple does maintain that lead, and as such, arguing his point becomes relatively easy. However, if you ascribe to the view that Android has surpassed iOS in quality (and certainly in design, in my view), it becomes a lot harder to accept that Apple can, this time, avoid the trap it fell into in the '90s.

Now, before people will twist and turn this into me saying Apple is doomed - I don't believe for a second that it is. However, that doesn't mean a repeat of the '90s is somehow magically off the table - Apple has a lot of work to do in order to avoid it. As Tom Dale stated so aptly almost a year ago, "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services". With Motorola and the Moto X, design might not be the only thing Google is getting better at faster.

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Member since:

If it's true that Android surpassed iOS in design and software quality, which I suspect is true, leaving only hardware quality (and marketing) then Apple will be in trouble over the long haul. People don't keep phones as long as computers anyway. Simply put, they don't have to last as long and differences in quality will be harder to notice. As for marketing, with Samsung's and other's growing advertising budgets and a variety of options in the Android world, Apple has a step climb ahead of it to maintain its already shrinking share.

Reply Score: 2

HappyGod Member since:

Who says Android has surpassed Apple in software design. In what way? By what measure?

I found Android to be borderline unusable. I have owned tons of phones over the years and the Galaxy S4 was the first one that I wanted to chuck at a wall ... badly.

It was one of the slowest and recalcitrant OSs I've ever had the misfortune in using.

I bought it after using a Windows Phone 8 (Ativ S), which runs on slower hardware and was an absolute pleasure to use. As soon as Apple released the 5S, I almost ran to the store to end the madness.

Android sucks balls. I'm sorry to say it, but it does.

Reply Parent Score: 5

aldo Member since:

I think where you went wrong was when you invented the story about owning an S4. Why do so many iPhone owners in online discussions feel the need to do this?

Reply Parent Score: 1