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  • iPhone V.S. Android: Update History, And Why Apple's Walled Garden Isn't So Bad



    Critics of Apple's "Walled Garden" approach to iOS often complain about how much control Apple has over what developers can do with their mobile operating system. Not enough flexibility, too many rules, not open source and the complaints go on and on. However, the uniformity of the "Walled Garden" has some benefits for regular users and Jailbreak users.

    Pictured above is a graph showing the incredible difference between iOS updates and Android updates. Apple has proven to support their iPhones across multiple iOS updates—major and minor—whereas Android handsets are often left out in the cold when subsequent Android OS updates are pushed out. If and when they do get updated, it isn't the responsibility of Google to provide the update, rather it is the carrier's to distribute out approved updates. Handset makers lack the complete control Apple does.

    This incredible discrepancy hasn't improved. Google even promised in May that it would make an effort to put an end to the rampant fragmentation affecting Android devices. Looking at the table, Apple supported the original iPhone for three subsequent years after its release. The iPhone 3GS is in its third year after release and even runs the latest version of iOS. Android handsets on the other hand often ship with older versions of the Android OS, and are incredibly slow to upgrade. Some phones never even see the current version of Android. The HTC Aria has never—since it's release—ran the latest version of Android. Even when the Aria was updated the phone went from two versions of Android behind to just one.

    This isn't a problem that plagues non-flagship handsets either. The HTC Evo 4G—released last summer and is still being sold—forced users to use an older version of Android for 6 months before being updated to the current version of Android (2.3 Gingerbread).

    This fragmentation creates a headache for developers. Those wishing to product programs that reach the widest audience must produce multiple versions of their applications across multiple handsets with varying processor speeds, screen sizes, and memory. This forces developers to choose which version of Android to currently support, and whether or not to update their programs when a new OS comes out.

    Granted Android is an open platform and infinitely customizable, this doesn't always equate to a romantic developer dreamland. The iOS platform, for all its attempts to be a Walled Garden ecosystem, will never be truly that. Apple provides developers and users who want to play by the rules with an ecosystem where they can make a lot of money, and do so with very little headaches. For the rest of us, those who like to think outside the box, all it takes is a little elbow grease to make Apple's iOS just as customizable as Android. This is why the Jailbreak Community exists.

    Apple's Walled ecosystem is also why the Jailbreak community is so successful. Developers know the hardware, they know their programs are going to operate across hundreds of millions of devices without compatibility issues, and it lets them focus time and energy on producing great games, tweaks, and hacks instead of wasting time making sure everything is compatible across a million varied devices.

    Obviously we would love for Apple to open up iOS and allow every tweak and hack access to the App Store. But, for all of its annoyances, and problems, the predictability, stability, and familiarity of each subsequent iOS release is more a blessing than a curse.

    Source: Minyanville
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPhone V.S. Android: Update History, And Why Apple's Walled Garden Isn't So Bad started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. Phillip Swanson's Avatar
      Phillip Swanson -
      Very true and the iPhone does that, which is why it has been so incredibly successful. But, the Jailbreak Community is comprised of individuals who are little different than your average mobile-phone users.
    1. Mysterion's Avatar
      Mysterion -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      Most people would rather have a phone that just works than an open one.
      I prefer one that works very well and is open. iAndroid
    1. gehjl's Avatar
      gehjl -
      Comparing apples to oranges, good job there. Let's think this out: Apple, maker and creator of iPhone and iOs. How many phones run iOs: 1, the iPhone. Google: Creator of Android, phone supported by Google: Nexus, and that bar looks pretty green to me. The other phones are made by 3rd parties. Apple only has to make sure their OS works on just a couple of devices, and look how that turned out. iPhone 4 users are having problems, iPads frozen up, etc.. Google can't make sure their updated OS works on every possible Android version, that's up to the manufacturer.

      Edit: Figured I'd edit this before someone goes "zomg Nexus iz made by Samsung, not Google". Yes, but it's known as the Google phone...
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mysterion View Post
      I prefer one that works very well and is open. iAndroid
      I said 'just works' - not works very well after you've tinkered with it to get it working how you want to.

      I've nothing against android but most users just want to turn the phone on and use it.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mysterion View Post
      I prefer one that works very well and is open. iAndroid
      Android works. Very well is debatable.
      The key here is longevity. I don't know anyone who has a two or even one year old Android that is running the latest version and still works as well as any iPhone.
    1. ZXMustang's Avatar
      ZXMustang -
      The very simple contradiction to this article that makes apple look so great is because their hardware is still so similar, its easy to make software and continue to support it on older devices that are so very similar. There is little to no work needed to push out watered down software to several model of devices if they are so very similar in terms of design and function. Not to mention, android devices come from several manufacturers and there is no way google is going to be able to keep up with the speed of cell phone technology. This is a loaded article in favor of apples laziness. Nothing more, so it needs to be taken down. This can be compared to car companies. Getting parts for a car that has been made for decades is very easy if it has remained fairly unchanged. Now take a car company that puts out a fresh model every two years, its going to be impossible to keep parts available for many generations back of cars.......
    1. Modmywhat?'s Avatar
      Modmywhat? -
      It's not comparing apples to oranges.

      You're right in saying apple has it easy be ause they only have a few devices. That doesn't make it wrong to compare with android. That's just a good thing on apples side. This especially applies to developing apps. With apples SDK, your one app works on all iPhones all iPod touches and all iPads...without you developing several applications.

      Android is flexible. Companies can bend it to fit their needs. A perfect example is the imwatch (do a review on that when it's out!). The problem with companies tweaking and bending it is that now developers have to update for the new tweaked OS as well.

      Simplicity is inginuity. Apple keeps it simple. Some people like that and some don't, but by them keeping it simple, they keep it working (as seen in the graph)
    1. creasy425's Avatar
      creasy425 -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      I said 'just works' - not works very well after you've tinkered with it to get it working how you want to.

      I've nothing against android but most users just want to turn the phone on and use it.
      This is a very valid point. I really like IOS, and I love android......AFTER its been rooted and running a custom ROM. Most if not all factory ROMS are terrible, due mostly to the bloat ware installed in them by ATT, vzw, etc etc.

      @ Phil Swanson-in all fairness you might've mentioned in your article that pretty much any android device can run the most current android version available after root is achieved ;-).
    1. emerica6708's Avatar
      emerica6708 -
      Quote Originally Posted by gehjl View Post
      Comparing apples to oranges, good job there. Let's think this out: Apple, maker and creator of iPhone and iOs. How many phones run iOs: 1, the iPhone. Google: Creator of Android, phone supported by Google: Nexus, and that bar looks pretty green to me. The other phones are made by 3rd parties. Apple only has to make sure their OS works on just a couple of devices, and look how that turned out. iPhone 4 users are having problems, iPads frozen up, etc.. Google can't make sure their updated OS works on every possible Android version, that's up to the manufacturer.

      Edit: Figured I'd edit this before someone goes "zomg Nexus iz made by Samsung, not Google". Yes, but it's known as the Google phone...
      That's exactly the point the article is making, there are to many different phones, made by to many different manufacturers for devs to keep up with. Just because one phone, the Nexus, is up to date doesn't mean anything. I'm not sure how many people own the Nexus, but let's say it's a million, devs want to reach more than 1 million people. So instead of making a single version of a game, like with the iPhone, they have to make 10 different versions of the same game so that people that don't have the Nexus can use it. There are to many variables from one Android phone to the next, and it's a headache for devs to keep up with.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      And the discussion continues. My question is WHY DOES IT MATTER? Pick what you like, and enjoy it. There is no need to try and justify a choice to others by pointing out why your choice was better, unless you are just really insecure.

      The comments about android not "just working" are ridiculous as well. Any android device I have ever seen lets you make calls, send texts, and browse the web right out of the box (after activation of course).

      I also don't know why people get all uppity about updates. Half the updates pushed out have useless features that we don't even care about (on both OSs). How many of you run an older version of iOS just because there is no untethered jailbreak out for the latest? Custom roms are also available on tons of Android devices. If you want the latest updates, get a Google Sanctioned phone (Nexus variant) and you will get your updates DAY ONE just like you do with iOS. Simply put this is a ridiculous argument that has no reason for going on...
    1. emerica6708's Avatar
      emerica6708 -
      Quote Originally Posted by creasy425 View Post
      This is a very valid point. I really like IOS, and I love android......AFTER its been rooted and running a custom ROM. Most if not all factory ROMS are terrible, due mostly to the bloat ware installed in them by ATT, vzw, etc etc.

      @ Phil Swanson-in all fairness you might've mentioned in your article that pretty much any android device can run the most current android version available after root is achieved ;-).
      I had an Android about a year ago, you're right about rooting it, it seems to make it a bit better with a custom ROM. It still sucked having to read through different ROMs made by different people to find one that worked for you, then root your phone, then download the ROM to the phone, boot in recovery mode, make a NAND back up.... All that, just to have an ok phone. Just my opinion, I'd rather have a phone with an OS the carrier had no control over, and never had the change to add all the crap they add.
    1. KraXik's Avatar
      KraXik -
      Quote Originally Posted by Donnutt View Post
      Android works. Very well is debatable.
      The key here is longevity. I don't know anyone who has a two or even one year old Android that is running the latest version and still works as well as any iPhone.
      Agree but they seem to have more problems with the hardware barely lasting a year than software.
    1. akafred's Avatar
      akafred -
      i just switched to an android phone, its probably a update behind, and guess what it does everything that my iPhone did on the most current update and way more.. plus seeing as rooting is a 5 min task I can run the latest ROM if I want..

      it seems that this article misses the blatant fact that on android your not forced to use a provider rom if your phone is rooted, and after you root it you can install tons of custom roms..
    1. creasy425's Avatar
      creasy425 -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      And the discussion continues. My question is WHY DOES IT MATTER? Pick what you like, and enjoy it. There is no need to try and justify a choice to others by pointing out why your choice was better, unless you are just really insecure.

      The comments about android not "just working" are ridiculous as well. Any android device I have ever seen lets you make calls, send texts, and browse the web right out of the box (after activation of course).

      I also don't know why people get all uppity about updates. Half the updates pushed out have useless features that we don't even care about (on both OSs). How many of you run an older version of iOS just because there is no untethered jailbreak out for the latest? Custom roms are also available on tons of Android devices. If you want the latest updates, get a Google Sanctioned phone (Nexus variant) and you will get your updates DAY ONE just like you do with iOS. Simply put this is a ridiculous argument that has no reason for going on...

      Several months ago, I think it was @jasonpensill had a tweet that basically echoed what you're saying. In essence he said who cares what device it is, they're all basically pocket computers anyhow, so shut up, and enjoy it/them.

      Quote Originally Posted by emerica6708 View Post
      Just my opinion, I'd rather have a phone with an OS the carrier had no control over, and never had the change to add all the crap they add.
      agree 110%. It's never gonna happen, ATT and vzw will always put in their bs software for whatever reason. But still I totally agree.

      Quote Originally Posted by akafred View Post
      i just switched to an android phone, its probably a update behind, and guess what it does everything that my iPhone did on the most current update and way more.. plus seeing as rooting is a 5 min task I can run the latest ROM if I want..

      it seems that this article misses the blatant fact that on android your not forced to use a provider rom if your phone is rooted, and after you root it you can install tons of custom roms..
      AND you can jump back and forth between newer and earlier versions of the OS (on andriod)without the migraine sized headache of SHSH. Granted SHSH is a problem for a very small portion of the iPhone crowd.

      This is the one area where the android has a clear advantage over IOS in the hacking/modding dept. On the flip side, android can't hold a candle to IOS when it comes to themes. I'd give my next child to one of the many talented IOS themers if they were to broaden their considerable talents to include themes for android.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      Quote Originally Posted by creasy425 View Post
      agree 110%. It's never gonna happen, ATT and vzw will always put in their bs software for whatever reason. But still I totally agree.
      That's why verizon wasn't the first company to have the iPhone. Steve Jobs asked them, but they wouldn't except Apple's terms, which include that apple keep control of their software. No AT&T or Verizon custom boot roms or branding.

      By the way, the biggest thing I use my iPhone for that no android will ever do, AirPlay. Gotcha.
    1. GmAz's Avatar
      GmAz -
      Yes, but what happens when you flash an update to your phone and the speed is suddenly doggedly slow and barely useable. Remember when the iPhone got the iOS3 update. Still supported so they can make it so bad you have to buy a new one.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by emerica6708 View Post
      That's exactly the point the article is making, there are to many different phones, made by to many different manufacturers for devs to keep up with. Just because one phone, the Nexus, is up to date doesn't mean anything. I'm not sure how many people own the Nexus, but let's say it's a million, devs want to reach more than 1 million people. So instead of making a single version of a game, like with the iPhone, they have to make 10 different versions of the same game so that people that don't have the Nexus can use it. There are to many variables from one Android phone to the next, and it's a headache for devs to keep up with.
      But the Nexus is to Android what iPhone is to iOS. It DOES mean a whole lot. A reasonably educated person that wants to be on the bleeding edge of updates will choose a nexus device. Now we are just saying "Android is bad because it gives you choice and not all choices equal updates". iOS doesn't give you the choice. If you want updates on Android, get the Android model with updates. I could say the same thing for iOS, but wait, you are not given choice. You can either take iPhone, or you can not. Android fans say that same thing all the time, and it is equally ridiculous.
    1. bish0p34's Avatar
      bish0p34 -
      In all reality though, iOS updates have been known to cause a lot of problems on older phones, and apple's official solution is to buy a new one. Not exactly the best business solutions. Having and iPhone and an android with a carrier-stripped rom, I can see how much the carrier software causes most of the problems android is known for. Kudos to apple for not letting the carriers mess up your product. It's one of the few things I like about your company.
    1. truenorth's Avatar
      truenorth -
      Great article.
    1. mmaboi21's Avatar
      mmaboi21 -
      Nice write up Phil.
      Sorry iOS is TKO over android anyday for me. Everybody has some real good points on why they think their choice of OS is better but in all reality it comes down to what you like. Enjoy your device and let it be somethig that expresses you. Or simply just works