Android M vs iOS 9: a first look after the I/O and WWDC keynote fairy dust has settled

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

I/O 2015 and WWDC 2015 ended, and we lived to tell the story. Awesome new Android & iOS features were announced. Huge ambitions were made evident once again. Minds were blown. Stocks were climbed. It was Apple and Google's time of the year, bustling with excitement and exploding with information density. We loved every moment of it. Even Eddy Cue's goofy dancing. Especially the goofy dancing!

But now that the glorious keynotes are behind us and the fairy dust has fallen off our eyelids, it's time to sit down, take a deep breath, and have a good look at everything we experienced. This year's keynotes were especially revealing – not only did they showcase Android M & iOS 9 as state-of-the-art mobile operating systems, they also contained big hints for the future of mobile computing and put Apple & Google's differing philosophies under the spotlight.

Grab a fresh cup of joe, read through the lines, and share your opinions & impressions in the comments section!

Android & iOS: a heated game of chess


Essentially, what we witnessed at the keynotes was a typically upbeat Apple and a typically serene Google matching each others moves in a game of mobile development chess. There was plenty of mojo on display from both grandmasters, but the outcome was a draw, unless you consider the Apple Music announcement a checkmate. Apple turned music streaming into an embedded feature of iOS that's as native to it as, say, the Phone app on the iPhone. This way, Cupertino is recruiting its existing user base for the service, without forcing it down their throats like an U2 album, and it's offering the goods to everyone who's interested.

Google Play Music works largely the same – it's ready to greet you every time you search the Play Store, it is platform-agnostic, and it generally does the job. Google, however, couldn't make it stand out quite like Apple did at its keynote. Google being Google, an engineer's playground above all, took care of the service and systems, but forgot or neglected the show business part of the equation. We wonder if it's too late to make up for that?

Anyway, Apple Music is basic competition, not a revolution. We can say the same for Android M and iOS 9 as well. The main focus: user experience. Google Now and Siri received shots of artificial IQ that rendered them smarter and more contextually aware. One day, the two will grow self-aware and will be laughing together at our stupid queries behind our backs. Just wait!


While we're at it, Android is finally getting iOS's lucid app permissions, which gives users control over app privileges without tormenting them with incomprehensible data. Meanwhile, iOS has adopted Android's serious attitude towards battery life with new monitoring and power saving features. It also got the long-awaited multi-tasking features, which several Android phablets have been pulling off for quite a while.

Interim, Google has caught up with Apple's achievements in mobile payments by announcing Android Pay and a native fingerprint recognition API for developers. Also, Google is letting Chrome fill in as an in-app browser for Facebook and Pinterest, while Apple is enabling a Safari Services Framework for app developers with the same goal. And just so you know, Apple Maps got upgraded with transit information, while Google (having already taken care of that) went on to make Maps available offline for users in poorly connected countries.

Obviously, industrial espionage is strong on both sides of the Cupertino - Mountain View route. Heh, just kidding! What Apple and Google are actually doing reminds us of a terrific rock band guitar duo. The two musical pros steadily keep up with each other, and they occasionally enter into face-melting guitar duels to show off, because the crowd loves it! Yet, none of the two is trying too hard to one-up the other by playing overly innovative jazz fusion licks. It's against the code.

Of course, the two tech giants had plenty of work to do on Android and iOS, aside from maintaining technological parity. Android M and iOS 9 each received their small changes and long-awaited nips and tucks. These are too many to be summed up briefly in here, so we kindly invite you to take a look at our explanation of Android M's 55 new features, or our recollection of minor, yet cool iOS 9 features that didn't get stage time. Once again, "user experience" is the master word here.




Google Now & Siri: on a quest for proactivity


Android and iOS's voice-controlled assistants got a lengthy chunk of keynote time this year, and that's because they matter - more than they ever have, and more than you probably think. We are no smartphone prophets, but Google and Apple's keynotes hinted at huge plans for voice control.

See, the antics of Google Now & Siri that we saw demoed at I/O and WWDC — all the automated suggestions, reminders & app launches that worked almost as naturally as firing up the app drawer and doing things "the old-fashioned way" — are just baby steps into what could be the voice-controlled future of smart devices.

As algorithms for natural language processing and making sense of user data grow more advanced, blurting out a speech command to the always present, always aware friendly AI in your smartphone could one day become the preferred user interface for many customers.

Consider the fact that you'll be able to enjoy Google Now and Siri's enhanced contextual awareness capabilities this fall (or right now, if you install Android M or iOS 9's developer previews) mostly as a sweet little treat to users from people with plans much bigger than the immediately obvious.


Apple and Google: crowd pleasers in loose shirts vs product managers in philanthropists' clothing


While their products are locked into tight competition, Apple and Google's presence and delivery couldn't have been more different. I/O and WWDC '15 have been more revealing about the companies' attitudes and ambitions than any past event. Right now, the only things Apple and Google seem to have in common is a love for bright developers and a concern for gender diversity in the tech industry. Both companies take pride in making their platforms more accessible to develop for every year, and enthusiastically let female leaders take the stage.

Examining the glaring differences is much more interesting, however. See, Apple's keynote was all about its best-selling products, and all the work put into improving said products was solely dedicated to two things - bettering the experience for existing users and making it more attractive to potential customers.

In contrast, Google never left the impression that it built Android M for people in stores. No way! It told a humbling, uplifting story of designing Android features to look and feel the same for everyone in the world. It highlighted functionality addressing the challenges of users from developing countries. It talked about a mission of making the world a better place through the power of computer science.

Well, that's certainly a very noble and a very American thing to do, but a sober look at reality reveals Google's true initiative. Being a global technological missionary is exactly what Google has to do if it wants to grow its main business, which is selling online ads. It also needs people willingly donating their user data in order to advance its machine learning algorithms.

What Google's doing is awesome beyond doubt, but also calculated, and somewhat disguised. Meanwhile, all Apple does is work its collective hands off to sell iPhones, Macs, and iPads. Our general impression is that Cupertino could do a fair bit more to help the world through the wonders of computer science, while Google's image could benefit from a little less "look how Android's helping these disadvantaged people out!" imagery when the company is really looking to profit from them.

Conclusion


No matter which side you're on, there has never been a better time to be an Android or iOS user. At this point, both operating systems are cohesive and mature, yet still incredibly forward-looking. As smartphone users, we felt delighted that Apple and Google never seem to become complacent, but quite the contrary – they genuinely care about improving their products to serve us better (and to sell better, of course).

Yet, we must acknowledge that both keynotes lacked huge, paradigm-shifting announcements. They were more like love letters to users & developers that hinted at potentially great things to come. All those great features Android & iOS received, meaningful as they are, seem like fairly subtle improvements in the long run to the genuinely amazing artificial intelligence and voice control trickery on the horizon.

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36 Comments

1. Dr.SamX

Posts: 240; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

Let the battle begin: Android is much better than iOS... :-)

2. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

OK. Fighting has zero sense.

9. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Why does no one make money with Android then?

11. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Because Android OEMS do not have the option of pimping out sheep like Bobby Buster or making them pay uneccesarily high bills for low end hardware.

25. Ahovking

Posts: 711; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

paying a unnecessarily high bills for low end hardware that some how is able to keep up and in some speed tests and benchmark test out performs cheap high-end hardware... I think its android users who are getting ripped off xD

35. jalebi2000

Posts: 181; Member since: Mar 01, 2015

its quite simple. The apple a8 chip is the only up to date component in the iPhone. It has 1.4ghz dual core cpu with a 6 way super scaler. A snapdragon 805 chip has 2.7ghz 3 super scaler. In other words, the A8 gets twice as much out of every clock, but uses twice the power as well. So the a8 is like a dual core 2.8 ghz cpu. its still slower then a S805, but since its running iOS it only runs the opened app, and closes it as soon as you go to the home screen. The background apps are just shortcuts to the app. Because of that, they can give us 1gb of ram, and a cpu which is still missing the other two cores. And the screen is just awful. The iPhone in other words is only powerful enough to open a single app at a time. Its giving us an illusion of speed, and charging us over $100 more than a 32gb S6 for a iPhone 6 16gb.

12. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Cause sheeps like you brag about overpriced phones, there you go.

15. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

I don't see Samsung, Xiaomi, or Lenovo going out of business becuase they aren't making any money. You're a blind idiot.

3. waddup121 unregistered

Both good to me imo

4. Zomer

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2013

iOS is much better than Android.

5. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Android needs quadcore processors and 3GB of RAM, so no comments.

8. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

But we Have them for much lower price

14. Simona unregistered

we have octacores ..

23. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Ans soon deca cores.

22. tedkord

Posts: 17312; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yes, to do things IOS can't, so no comments.

31. AndroidTaj

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

Uhhhh........if i was you i will remove this comment because what you just said is soooooooooooooooo stupid........

6. IT-Engineer

Posts: 535; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

To make it fair, it should be IOS 9 vs Android Ice cream Sandwich 4.0.

18. gaming64 unregistered

Feature-wise yes. Performance-wise no.

7. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

It's the iTunes that really don't float my boat, on Android media management is such an easy thing.

10. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

So where is Windows Phone 10, Tizen, and Black Berry 11? Not that those Operating systems matter in the long run but if you are going to have a new OS showdown in a click bait article, might as well invite everyone. Let's get sense 8 and all the different OEM skins in here too. Lol

13. vivaapple

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 02, 2015

android has too ugly UI, I dont know if Google knows the elegant looking. Are they contented with the Lollipop UI? it seems yes because of the look of android M. come on. Yeah the element of Android Lollipop/M is well organized than the iOS UI but iOS choose the better color combination and structure. See, Google Now already exist for how many years? but Apple implement the counter part of Google now with some eye candy interface and it seems more reliable suggestion too. Even the implementation of Splitscreen/multiwindow, It is better on iOS not like on the experiment version of android M. It's too messy on android M. Yeah Google has a good idea, and Apple make that idea better.

19. gaming64 unregistered

Your comment made my brain splatter even reading Caitlyn Jenner articles are more worth reading

24. sgodsell

Posts: 7215; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Clearly you never used Android. Because if you did, then you would know that you can make the UI into anything you want. Colors are easy to change along with icon packs, themes, launchers which are all missing from iOS. So when someone writes up something as stupid as 'Android has a too ugly UI'. Then clearly you don't know anything about Android at all. So all you are doing is showing the world how ignorant you really are.

27. vivaapple

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 02, 2015

Yeah. Android users always use this excuse. You can customize whatever you want. That is the proof that the default design of android is too ugly. Thats why some people root their phone, use a custom roms or tweak their phone, and use a design that better than the stock. And I very impressed for their custom designs. Then I'm thinking why Google not to research for these design and make a default design to beat those custom rom design. If some people are not so technical, They are just relying on changin the launcher, messaging app, etc. but the ugly notification dropdown, settings menu, or overall System UI will left behind to them

30. techhahn

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Actually, Apple benefits from Android, by copying it. Google now, Notification shade, app switcher, multi window, lock screen, list goes on and on............

17. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Another weekly account from BobbyBuster, pretty easy to spot

20. gaming64 unregistered

Both of them improved from their previous versions, that's all what matters to me.

21. muhammed50

Posts: 20; Member since: May 29, 2015

the winner is andriod

34. AndroidTaj

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

No! i dislike apple but... IOS wins is being simple android everything else

26. Ahovking

Posts: 711; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

I love it that android users are declaring IOS is the copyer, while igoring the fact android stoled iOS's lucid app permissions, Apple's achievements in mobile payments, native fingerprint recognition API for developers etc..

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