Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
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.
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.
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, 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 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, 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 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 or what to do when the iPhone Home button isn’t working. 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 you need to know. You can truly unlock the power of Siri with the right commands. 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 rolls around? Does the desktop operating system also play into your decision of buying an iOS or Android or a Windows phone?