Apple’s iPhone And Google’s Android: Mac Vs Windows All Over Again
So it’s become clearer that Apple’s iPhone is “Apple’s playground” and they intend to micro-manage the platform, providing the conduit for installs and approving what ends up on the iPhone.
Even to me, an Apple fan for whom this control is annoying, this is no big surprise. Apple, relative to other technology companies, has always been a company of control. The list of past examples endless – the way they’ve wanted developers to conform to the Apple look and feel, and the blatant lifting of promising shareware apps (Watson -> Sherlock, Konfabulator -> Dashboard).
Steven Hodson asked me a while back on one of his podcasts, why, as an Apple consumer, I put up with this stuff. Well, generally speaking, in my particular case, the benefits have outweighed the annoyances. Apple presents a more unified front where apps behave similarly. The “user experience” is touted as a big advantage on the Mac vs. the PC where there is a veritable free for all regarding how a program is supposed to look like and behave. I find this argument to be true (I use a PC at work).
Anyhow, Apple’s closed, more controlled mentality was on display all the way back the Mac competed with Microsoft’s Windows on PCs. Apple kept its OS and computers closed, and lost big time to the PC and Windows which basically took over the entire computer ecosystem with clones and low cost computers. The Mac’s huge market share was eventually destroyed. In retrospect, Apple’s closed mentality is looked upon as a huge mistake, which nearly killed Apple in the mid nineties.
So anyhow – to fast forward to today, we have Apple making serious inroads in the “smart phone” mobile computing space, with a closed, controlled system – and doing remarkably well. But Google is coming around the bend with Android – their mobile cellphone OS – that like Windows was back in the day, is more open, designed to run on a variety of cheaper hardware and with less restrictions on developers.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. I can already sense many people are hoping history will repeat itself, and the closed Apple will once again end up with egg on its face and the “free market” will again prevail.
I’ve already chosen my side by buying an iPhone. It works pretty well despite some grumbling and annoyances. At this point – just as it was on the Mac in the mid-nineties – the only thing that will drive me from Apple is an iPhone that failed to work at all – just like how OS 9 sucked serious wind with daily system crashes, extension conflicts, and no clear advantages when compared to Windows. The recent 2.1 update has alleviated some of my concerns. But that decay in the Mac OS took several years, and I’ve already signed a contract that locks me in to Apple / AT&T for two years – yet another check in the Apple column.