Every time a new mobile phone is released, the internet is awash with reviews and comparisons articles. Some people are iPhone evangelists while others stick to their Android guns, but more recently Android have shown an increase in market sales, overtaking Apple by a considerable margin and now account for three quarters of the market share.
One could argue this is because of better User Interfaces, faster hardware, the ability to hold a charge or the fact that iPhones bend permanently, but I think it’s more unconscious than that. In a growing tech-minded world, people just don’t like to be told what to do anymore. Since early 2000s, when Apple’s breakthrough mass market product, the iPod, was plugged into just about everybody’s ears, Apple have been controlling how we live with personal tech. With their shiny white headphones and inaccessible battery, the iPod/Pad/Phone cartel have removed the public’s ability to be unique, their ability to choose.
As the computer nerds of the Eighties have grown up, they’ve gotten used to hacking software, to customising their tech and making it perform the way they want to. As technology becomes part of everybody’s lives, not just the geeks, ordinary people want more freedom too. Not only is it better for the user, it’s also interactive, it’s fun! After all, who wants a dog that can’t learn any new tricks? We’re teaching our children, who are already ten times more tech-minded than we were at that age, to code and to build software. There’s an inherent joy in creating something and watching it perform to your commands. iPhone removes the ability to control our own tech, as if we can’t be trusted to see what’s inside the bright white casing.
Quite simply, Android technology shows more faith in the user. Rather than having to go to the shiny Apple store and speak to a ‘Genius’, Android phones can be serviced by the user. If you’ve created an app, the Google Play store allows much easier access for smaller designers, whereas the Apple app store has Apple-shaped hoops the creator must jump through to comply with their guidelines. Android phones can be customised in a multitude of ways (something Apple has now caught on to), in order to make the phone work for the user, not the other way around.
From being able to service a device yourself to making your UI suit your needs, Android is more user-centred. iPhones remove that trust in the user. In much the same way that new cars cannot be serviced by the owner, but must be taken to a brand-named garage to have a computer run diagnostics, any iProduct must be returned to the all-knowing maker. In short, Apple has little confidence in their consumer, and deems them not smart enough to know what they want or make it happen for themselves. Android on the other hand, gives us free reign, with open source software and says ‘show me what you can do’.
Words by Lauren