In 1998, the year I was born, two breakthroughs in computer technology occured:
The first was Apples launch of the iMac, a product that would cement Steve Jobs as a computing legend for the rest of time.
The second was the launch of Google, a company and a platform which has only grown with time to conglomerate more and more elements of computing and the internet.
Both these comapnies, Apple and Google, have since bought out and plethora of new products, new evolutions of the iPhone vs Android run products like Samsung. Each new product is always constructed with the core operating philosophies in mind: Apple always keeping their networks closed, Android always keeping theirs open and free, allowing anyone to use and adapt their software as long as the adaptations are shared.
Dualities such as these always beg comparison and competition, we want to know which works better, and why.
It’s the why that fascinates me.
Both approaches, at their core, are based around the want to buy into something. Don’t understand what I mean? Allow me to explain.
Apple is the brainchild of Steve Jobs, a singular and fascinating personality, known as a man who’s intellect was only matched by his ego. Part of the reason for Apples closed network is that Steve Jobs wanted his products to be just like him: singular. Buying an Apple product is like buying into Steve Jobs, you’re becoming a part of his narrative. Compare that to Android. You buy an android and you’ve bought into a community of designers. Android is for those who wish to curate their own Steve Jobs narrative.
Does that help us answer which is better? Maybe.
Where Apple is always contained and unique, Android is always adapting. That’s both better and worse for Android, all their user-designers want to stand out but none will. They cannot be Steve Jobs because their software is not singular, but they try to find ways to make it singular anyway. The result is that Android finds it’s product fracturing and changing, it’s harder to put your finger on what an android product is compared to Apple.
Less people want to design, and more people want to buy into the narratives of others, without the core personality and steady product at it’s centre, Android is stuck to forever fracture and change.