iPhone and iPad

Apple vs. Android: Buy the Ecosystem, Not the Gadget

Mihir Patkar 08-06-2015

You love your Android phone. You want to buy a tablet. Everyone tells you the iPad is the best tablet— and really, it is the best. Still, it probably makes more sense for you to buy an Android tablet. Why? Read on…


No, the reason isn’t emotional loyalty. Apple and Google have been battling to be your the mobile rock in your life, and this often leads to comment sections full of vitriol and hate. If you ask someone what to buy, chances are, they will give you an opinion, not an objective choice. The fact is Android and iOS are so similar now that the Apple vs. Android debate is irrelevant Your Apple/Android/Windows Hatred Is Irrelevant, Give It Up Getting upset because someone is buying something you're not interested in benefits no one – so why do we get mad anyway? Read More .

Sticking to one operating system or one ecosystem has several non-emotional, practical benefits. In fact, these benefits might outweigh the hardware itself.

You Don’t Pay for Apps, Movies, Books Twice


An operating system is only as good as the apps you use on it. And if you want a quality experience, you’ll often have to pay for a good app. Premium apps are actually worth it for several reasons, including the fact that ad-supported free apps drain your battery faster. Apart from that, there are some apps that are worth every penny You Should Buy These: 5 Android Apps That Are Worth Every Penny, And Why There is a vast ocean of Android apps on Google Play and it can be daunting to browse, especially if you're new to Android in general. Free apps are great and all, and there are... Read More .

However, buying an app on Android does not mean you get the same app on iOS too. Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store are completely different and app purchases need to be made separately on both. So if you buy Monument Valley on Android, that does not mean you get to play it for free on your iPad.


Any device you purchase should ideally serve you for a couple of years. Over that period, you will end up spending quite a bit on apps, music, movies, books, and other things that are likely tied into either Android or iOS, be it a song from iTunes or a book on Google Play. Do yourself a favor and stick to one ecosystem, it’s easier on your wallet.

You Can Use the Same Cables and Accessories


The iPhone and iPad have a “Lightning port”, a proprietary connector made by Apple. Most Android smartphones and tablets use a standard micro USB port. So even if you buy the best Lightning cable for your iOS device The 7 Best Lightning Cables to Charge Your iPhone or iPad Looking for the best iPhone charger cable for your iPhone or iPad? Check out these options that blow Apple's out of the water. Read More , you can’t use it with an Android — and vice versa.

It’s the same deal with accessories. An iPod, iPhone and iPad dock usually won’t work with Android devices. In fact, when it comes to music players, there’s even a difference in the wireless standards. You need to know the difference between AirPlay and Bluetooth Speakers AirPlay vs. Bluetooth Speakers: Which Do You Actually Need? If you're an audiophile with a Mac or an iPhone, you've probably considered getting some wireless speakers and have been faced with the question: AirPlay or Bluetooth? Read More and then figure out what to buy accordingly.


Given how many things are incompatible with each other, it is far more logical to buy devices that fit into one ecosystem, then stick to that ecosystem.

You Can Sync Data Smoothly


Google and Apple are both betting big on cloud storage services. There is an ongoing battle between iCloud and Google Drive Which Is The Mobile Cloud Option For You? iCloud vs. SkyDrive vs. Google Drive It seems the cloud is hard to escape these days - both in your daily tech life, and on websites such as ours. Only last week I wrote an article about cloud-based PowerPoint alternatives, the... Read More , and as far as everyday usage goes, things get simpler if all your devices are using the same service. It especially matters when it comes to syncing data like your contacts and messages.

Sure — you can access iCloud on your Android 5 Ways to Access iCloud on Your Android Need to log into iCloud mail, calendar, and contacts on your Android? Here is how you can sync your iCloud account to an Android. Read More and there’s a Google Drive app for the iPhone — but these service only provide easy cross-platform access if you’re technologically inclined or are using them only for storage.


You Will Know How To Fix Things


It’s not just apps; the more you use an operating system, the more easy you find it to use and customise. Don’t ever underestimate how much muscle memory helps in being more productive with technology. As you get accustomed to Android or iOS, your brain will learn patterns to perform tasks and start executing them faster and faster. Switching OS will only set you back.

Another benefit is that when things go wrong, you will probably know how to fix them. For the sake of an easy analogy, let’s consider Windows vs. Mac. If you have grown up on Windows, you know you have to hit Ctrl+Alt+Del if a problem crops up. Do you know what to do when you face a problem on a Mac? Save yourself the time of Googling it.

A core element of productivity is fixing problems quickly, and by using one operating system more, you won’t have to research how to fix common Android problems 20 Common Android Problems Solved This comprehensive Android troubleshooting guide will help you solve the most common Android phone problems. Read More or what to do when the iPhone Home button isn’t working Is Your iPhone Home Button Not Working? 5 Quick Fixes to Try Your iPhone Home button isn't working? Here's how to repair or work around a broken Home button to make your device usable again. Read More . You just know it.


Google Now vs. Siri


Google Now and Siri, the voice-activated core apps of Android and iOS respectively, are incredible. The artificial intelligence behind both these features is incredible, but you have to remind yourself that it’s artificial intelligence. Even now, both apps are heavily dependent on your commands.

In the initial phase of using either Google Now or Siri, you will find many occasions where the app does not understand you. But both learn your voice over time; and over time, you also learn the right tones and inflections to use in your voice so that your command is understood.

Much like clicking an “X” with your mouse to close a window, you also have to learn voice-based commands. There are 20+ useful “Ok Google” commands OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone Google Assistant can help you get a lot done on your phone. Here are a whole bunch of basic but useful OK Google commands to try. Read More you need to know. You can truly unlock the power of Siri with the right commands Do More With Siri Using The New iOS 7 Siri Commands If you find yourself fumbling with your iPhone to make a simple phone call, launch an app, set a reminder or wake-up alarm then you're probably not using Siri enough. Read More . However, the phrases needed to activate these aren’t the same across platforms, so it’s better to stick to one and learn it well.

The fact is that both services have matured to a point where they provide hands-free access to a bounty of information, services and settings — you just need to invest a little time learning how to use whichever you choose.

What About Windows?

When it comes to the big two mobile operating systems, it seems pretty logical to stick to one platform across devices. But will that change once the cross-device Windows 10 Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More rolls around? Does the desktop operating system also play into your decision of buying an iOS or Android or a Windows phone?

Image credits: Bloomua / Shutterstock.com, Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock.com, PIX 1861 / Pixabay, Belkin, K?rlis Dambr?ns / Flickr, JESHOOTS / Pixabay, kropekk_pl / Pixabay

Related topics: Android Tablet, Buying Tips, exclude_ios, iPad Air, iPad mini.

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  1. John Power
    October 9, 2016 at 8:49 am

    I'm an "oldie", not very tech savvy, use very few apps(if any). I started off with an iMac, then changed to a MacBook Pro, and now an iPad Pro. I have an Apple TV, and AirPort Extreme . I have an Android Moto G, which now needs replacing. I can't justify paying the price for most IPhones, but would consider an se. However I also like some of the Chinese brands, where I can get a much higher spec for the same money. What could I do with the se, that I couldn't do with an Android Chinese phone? BEARING IN MIND MY LIMITED USE OF APPS.

  2. Brutus
    February 28, 2016 at 4:25 am

    It is the ecosystem that demands loyalty but in a way the ecosystem itself exists only because of loyalty. that is we those vase resources come from.

    Actually the happiest people I meet don't have either. They leave their computing etc for their home PC and they have much more time and inclination to enjoy sailing, sport, etc etc

  3. bezerkus
    December 6, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Don't buy into an ecosystem. Fight against it if you want the best experiences, best design, most personalization, best value and ultimately the freedom to use technology the way you want to use it. Be wary of companies that try to force you into an ecosystem as well as those that recommend it as a way of convenience.

  4. DeztMusic
    November 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    It's unfair to compair Apple stuff with Samsung, we must compare to LG phones, LG G2 was the best smartphone of 2013 and even now it beats easily the iPhone 6 Plus, use one LG G2 with the new Lollipop, or CloudyG3 KitKat or CloudyG2 KitKat, you'll not regret, there's only few things that iPhone 6 Plus could beat the LG G2, and there's nothing that an iPhone can beat LG G4 or LG V10, enough said.

  5. Anonymous
    June 10, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I have a Samsung Mobile phone & in the process of buying a tablet. To date have always used Android. I am really torn whether to buy Samsung Tab S or the IPAD air 2. What would you suggest in my case?

    • Anonymous
      June 11, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Kevin, I was in the exact situation as you. I spent a couple hours in the local BestBuy comparing and handling the Ipad Air2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. I struggled trying to figure out how to do tasks on the IPad despite their being designed for "intuitive" operation. In the end, I opted to stick with the Android platform since I already had a Nexus 7. I believe it was the best decision. I'm really happy with the Samsung, and Google makes it so simple to load all of the apps onto another Android device, and the Android OS updates automatically. For me, there is only one compelling reason to even consider Ipad and that is to be able to purchase apps that are not available on Android. Some of the apps I really want are only for Ipad. But I've chosen to purchase similar-but-probably-not-so-good Android apps that work fine and will wait until hopefully the Android versions are released.

    • Anonymous
      June 17, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Tablet is entirely different from mobile and even laptops. You must experience it first to find appropriate need for it.
      I suggest, go to a store and try few different tablets. Ecosystem doesn't matter here much as there are generally low number of apps on all platforms.
      I generally don't feel the need for tablet but if I've to choose, it'll be Surface 3.

  6. Anonymous
    June 10, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Yep! Really difficult for me to get to android after using ios for a long time. Still figuring out how to move my music collection over!

  7. Anonymous
    June 9, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Your account is a strong reason to hang on to one ecosystem, since in the main, applications are purchased to your account, rather than to a specific device - and you can have several devices on the same account.

    For Android, you quite likely have both a Google Play account and an Amazon account - certainly if you like collecting freebies that turn up on one or the other, such as Amazon's "app of the day" - and unlike some "of the day" deals, once you've added it to your account, you have it for any time, any device on the account.

    The Voice assistant thing will be further shaken up by Cortana arriving, but may not have the same level of control over the device

  8. Anonymous
    June 9, 2015 at 11:56 am

    What I find most fascinating about this "discussion" is that the one big elephant in the room that is never discussed is not whether Android is compatible with Android but that Apple purposely shuts out any other type of technology. It smacks of fear on their part. Why not be interoperable with other operating systems? Why not open up their OS? It's amazing when I hear how much Apple products cost compared to ANY Android product. Even cables. They've manipulated the market that there are chips in the cables that won't work with Apple devices unless they are "auhorized" by Apple. You want to fix an Apple device, you have to take it to the "store" and have them charge you an arm and a leg to do what you should be allowed to do yourself.

    I can take apart and fix and update and do almost anything I want with my Windows device. I can update the OS on my Android device. Hell, I can put any OS I want on my Android device. I can run Linux and dual (and triple) boot and do anything I want on a Windows machine.

    It's the difference between allowing yourself to be manipulated by a company that is simply afraid of competition and shuts out all other comers or one that opens up every aspect of its OS and hardware so that there is a choice as to what you want to do.

    I just don't get the argument FOR Apple, I've been forced to use their products in the past and they just give me a headache. Nothing in an Apple OS makes sense to me. They seem to be dumbing down the interface simply because they're worried that their users will figure out that there is something better out there.

    • Anonymous
      June 10, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Hello Sanjsrik,

      Your response was very entertaining. Do you ever wonder why no other technology company has ever survived against Microsoft? Or why there are a ton of Android devices, Android OS versions, and compatibility issues? Why there have been hundreds of PC manufacturers, some still present but most defunct?

      The answer is that "Open" does not always mean better. Manufacturers die because it it impossible to maintain consistency and quality once you create a product that relies on the development of other entities. There is no quality control, no reliability, or a common core of software and hardware compatibility that ensures consistent dependability.

      Apple may upset you because you can't do what you want with it (maybe because you don't know how), but their model of "same people that build the hardware also build the OS and control the development of software" works. It's why their the #1 technology company in the world. You can argue whatever you want against it, and even the biggest fanboys are annoyed sometimes, but that's why they're the only company that survived against Microsoft. If you buy any software for a Mac in the store, it will work on any Mac for the generations it's designed for. Period. You can't say that for the PC. You may need a different video card, or find compatible drivers, or upgrade your ram. Macs just work.

      There are many choices, and "better" is objective. Some like iOS, some like Android. Your assessment that there is "better" out there is ignorant and not worth the time to challenge since your dislike of Apple isn't based in fact, just opinion. My MacBook can boot to Windows, or OSX, and runs Linux so your argument is moot. Apple even includes the ability to install Windows in its Preferences so where is your argument?

      The Apple model works. The apps on mobile devices are as powerful and consistent is Android apps, quality control is better, and their devices are great. For people who like them. Android devices are great for people who like them. Any true fan of technology admits that readily. Those who argue that one is better than the other is one who doesn't take the time to acknowledge true greatness of design, form, and function.

      • Anonymous
        June 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm

        I love this reply. It completely ignores the fact that if I want to buy a cable for an Apple product, I'll spend no less than $40, yet, I can go out and buy ANY micro-USB cable for about $3-4 and know it will work with any number of my Android devices.

        Better is NOT about gouging your users simply because your entire universe is closed to any outside competition. I've been working in software for the past 25 years. Any software I can think of is always developed for the PC first and (maybe) for the Mac later. Almost anything I can use on the PC, I cannot be guaranteed to use on the Mac. As for Android, I can be sure that there are at least 3-4 apps of the type I'm looking for to do the job I need. I don't need some arbitrary authority to tell me that it has been approved for the "store" based on some nebulous criteria that Apple never reveals.

        All this secrecy around everything they do, all this closed-environment nonsense is NOT good for consumers, it's simply good for the company.

        When people buy Apple products, they're definitely NOT buying superior products, they're simply buying an image. It's all Apple is, image.

        There was an expression many years ago, "If you have nothing to say, dress it up with color."

        That's Apple.

        • Rob
          August 14, 2017 at 2:49 pm

          "Better is NOT about gouging your users simply because your entire universe is closed to any outside competition."
          People are willing to pay the price because the products WORK, people like the Apple ecosystem. The way the software and hardware work together is Apple's strength. No fragmentation, no waiting for updates through the vendor or carrier. They are NOT closed to outside competition, Android is their competition.

          "When people buy Apple products, they're definitely NOT buying superior products, they're simply buying an image. It's all Apple is, image"
          People stopped buying Apple because of image a long time ago, they buy Apple products because they work, are reliable and if they have any problems they can take it into an Apple store for free tech support. Apple revolutionized the mobile phone and music industry, they didn't get to #1 on image alone.

  9. Anonymous
    June 9, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I agree 100%. I've had a Mac laptop and/or a Mac mini since about 2006. Before that I was in the Windows environment (except for the Apple IIe in the late 80s). Within that time, I had a couple of Palms and various non-Apple phones. After phones and tablets got smart, I went to Android-based mobiles. It was a disaster trying to keep the Apple and Android OSs in sync. I finally went to iOS and now I have an iPad, iPhone, iPod and two Apple TVs that work seamlessly. I must admit that the Windows-Apple communication is getting better since I can get most data working with my PC at the office. That's due more to cloud-based storage than to communication between devices, though.

    I'm not trying to sell you on Apple, but to agree with Mihir. Figure out which OS you want to go with and get all your devices, mobile and desktop, within the same family. You'll save a lot of headaches.

  10. Anonymous
    June 9, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Google Play lets you access your contents (books, movies, music) through their web interface. Regardless of your OS and device, if you have a working browser you can access your Google Play stuff.
    With Apple, you need ITunes.

    • Anonymous
      June 10, 2015 at 11:33 am

      That is incorrect. An Apple user can access purchased content from any iOS device connected to the Internet. I can also download an app and have it instantly added to all other iOS devices on my account, or Family Share devices. iTunes hasn't been required since iCloud came out years ago.

  11. Anonymous
    June 8, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    "Buy the ecosystem"

    While I too went with Android phone and tablet at the end -- my motivation was to AVOID tying myself to any single ecosystem! Android and Windows play nicely together in ways that Apple never will (by design). So for my needs and wants, Apple ruled itself out entirely.

  12. Anonymous
    June 8, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    There are over 10,000 Android devices to choose from, but only one iOS device as Apple doesn't allow it's OS to be copied to other devices unlike Google which partners with manufactures. Apple gives you iDevices and Android gives you choices