Call it what you will, but the battle between Apple’s iOS on iPhone and iPad vs. Google’s Android OS is an odd match of class distinctions. This is an old argument but with a twist. Apple’s products are considered dominant in the premium segment, while Android is dominant everywhere else in the market.
Apple’s recently released iOS 11.x now runs on about 60-percent of all iPhones and iPads worldwide, while Google’s latest Android, Oreo 8.x runs on about 1-percent of all Android-based devices. Even Android Nougat, 2016’s answer to iOS 10, only runs on 20-percent of all Android-based devices.
What’s going on? Class distinction.
By itself, iOS 11 runs on iPhones going back to iPhone 5s. That’s five model years ago. Apple spreads new iOS versions backwards to run on older devices. That increases the value of Apple’s platform and ecosystem. An iPhone 5s with iOS 11.x is a better device with more features and functions than when it was new.
On the other hand, Android’s class distinction seems to sandwich Apple’s customer base. Only the newest and most premium Android devices receive the latest updates. For example, Google just released Android 8.1 Oreo for Pixel and Nexus devices– made by Google. That’s a class distinction because most Android device owners will never see the latest upgrade, let alone last year’s Android version.
Buy a new Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, or even Galaxy Note 8 and what do you get? Last year’s Android. Not Android 2017. So much for a premium smartphone, huh? iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X all run the latest iOS 11 version but most new Android phones don’t come with the latest Android OS version.
That’s class distinction gone awry.
Critics all Apple’s platform a walled garden. So be it. Apple updates Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch and Apple TV far more frequently and for more customers with older devices than Android or Windows. Those so-called open platforms (hint: not really open) are rife with outdated products that cannot easily be upgraded to the latest OS versions, and both own more than 95-percent of all the world’s known malware.
See? Class distinction.
What prevents the great unwashed masses of Android and Windows users from switching platforms to engage with life in Apple’s walled garden of iOS and macOS? As it is with much in life– money and knowledge. Apple’s products have a higher entry price, but total cost of ownership can be less that comparable competitors. Apple’s customers are considered discerning owners who recognize value that others do not see.
If wisdom is knowledge applied properly, then Apple’s customers are wise while others are not. The world is made up of class distinctions at every level; family, education, professions, tastes, and on and on. Android devices seem to attract two kinds of users. The small but vocal technology group who love the freedom to tinker with devices, and the larger group which just wants a smartphone at the lowest price. Apple prospers within that disparate sandwich as a class unto itself.