With both iOS 9 and Android M having been announced recently by Apple and Google respectively, how do the two mobile operating systems compare to one another? Here ValueWalk assesses the new features in the proprietary Apple software and compares them to the Android M system.
iOS 9 versus Android M – Multi-tasking
Apple has made a great deal of fuss about the multitasking capabilities of iOS 9, and these are certainly impressive. However, it is pretty much impossible not to notice that iOS 9 has very much taken its cue from the Android operating system in this department. The app ribbon which forms part of this new multitasking functionality is quite obviously copied from the Android operating system, but Apple has also added some neat functionality that ensures that it exceeds Android.
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The ability to swipe apps off the screen in iOS 9 will be instantly familiar to aficionados of the Android operating system, and it is indeed a rather shameless imitation of the Android software. However, Apple’s determination to deliver unique multitasking in iOS 9 has been realized to a certain extent, with the Slide Over function really providing something of value.
Slide Over delivers a native split-screen multitasking in iOS 9, and this function has already been linked with the potential release of an iPad Pro. Regardless of this, there is no doubt that Slide Over is an attractive aspect of the iOS 9 operating system, and it is something that Android M cannot match at this point in time.
The list of compatible applications which park on the right-hand of the screen, and which are instantly accessible from the right bezel, is another useful aspect of iOS 9, and overall the multitasking options which Apple has included in this operating system makes the existing iPad feel a much more capable tablet.
Android M and Google Now
One of the most admired features of the Android operating system has been the Google Now service, and this continues to be a dominant factor in Android. This is an extremely useful aspect of the operating system, which makes accessing appointments and everyday usage of the system just significantly more convenient.
Apple has attempted to respond to the Google Now software with its own Proactive assistant. This delivers similar functionality to the Google Now service, but the Android M option is significantly more established, and thus is slicker and more feature-packed at this point in time. No doubt Apple will be looking to close the gap in future releases of the iOS operating system, but it doesn’t yet have the software to match that of Google Now.
One nifty aspect of Proactive is its ability to plug content from providers directly into the system, ensuring that it is not necessary to access websites in order to gain access to certain forms of content. This is a welcome inclusion in the software, and one that works extremely seamlessly in iOS 9.
iOS 9 Siri versus Android M
The Siri personal assistant which is included in the iOS 9 operating system is significantly smarter than previous iterations of this software. Thus, on can expect the iOS 9 version of Siri to send reminders on a daily basis of huge variety and diversity, often without requiring any input from the user whatsoever. The software is also capable of reading text out loud, and also allowing you to reply via your own voice. This particular piece of functionality can only be replicated by Moto X among Android handsets.
The voice recognition of Siri has also been significantly improved from previous versions of the software, and the personality that the assistant is able to display to users is a pleasing touch, and one which makes the software a much more attractive proposition to utilize. However, it must be said in mitigation that it is not yet as versatile as the voice interface included in Android M. Siri still requires things to be voiced in a stilted, programmatic delivery in order for them to be understood, whereas the similar software in the Android operating system is clearly more sophisticated in this regard.
iOS 9 versus Android M – Keyboard
However, Apple’s new stock keyboard delivers a lot of potential. Google has improved text in Android M, but Apple has delivered new formatting shortcuts and two-finger scrolling which really makes iOS 9 more enjoyable and convenient to use.
iOS 9 versus Android M – privacy
Android’s app permissions can be a sticking point for third-party apps, so Android M attempts to make this simpler by allowing specific apps to specify privacy and security provisions. It is impossible to manage each of these permissions individually in a separate application hub. This is an improvement over previous versions of the Android operating system, but critics of Google will still point to a rather obvious conclusion.
Apple continues to position itself as the advocate of privacy, and Google still has a considerable distance to go in order to catch up with its rival. Android M still requests a great deal of information from the user, much of which appears to be completely unnecessary, not benefiting the user in any meaningful way, and indeed rather intrusive.
Those wishing to keep the amount of personal information that they disclose to a bare minimum will unquestionably favor iOS 9 over the Android M operating system.
iOS 9 Omissions
iOS 9 has always been an extremely slick package, if one that lacks the customization options associated with Android. But there are a few omissions from iOS 9 which could have improved the software still more. Ensuring that control center shortcuts are accessible via Force Touch technology would have been a welcome addition. Additionally, a less finicky Touch ID system that didn’t erase notifications inadvertently would be an improvement. And an easier way to access active content would also be a practical inclusion.
In conclusion, both iOS 9 and Android M have their strengths and weaknesses, and these aren’t too different from previous versions of the software. But Apple has recognized areas in which iOS is somewhat weaker than Android M, and at least attempted to address this with iOS 9. Both mobile operating systems will retain their fans and detractors, and the battle between them certainly won’t be settled in this generation.