Both Apple and Google have beta versions of their upcoming new mobile operating systems available for testing. Last week at its WWDC 2016 event we saw Apple announce iOS 10 and Google has had its Android N beta available for some time. But, how do these two mobile operating systems differ from each other, what are the key differences? In this article, I am going to try and answer that!
iOS 10 and Streamlined Interactions
With its new OS iOS 10, Apple has reached the 10th iteration of its mobile operating system, and as such has decided to pay lots of attention to streamlining interactions and gesture support and improving upon 3D Touch. Plus, it has also decided to catch up with a few services, which the likes of Android has offered for some time.
Android N, Closing the Third-Party Gap
As for what’s new with Android N, Google has a lot riding on its latest mobile OS iteration. Focus has been on making this Android version even more appealing, and the closing of gaps in features that have opened up between stock Android and those that are provided by third-party manufacturer skins.
Meet in the Middle
Whatever side of the mobile operating system fence you sit on it is clear to see that both Apple and Google have very different approaches and philosophies, where OS development is concerned. However, recently is has become obvious that these two software’s are almost about to meet in the middle. This is because, both systems have been struggling with a balance, which is between rich features, easy to use UI’s and how they look.
Yes, I understand that both software’s are currently in their beta stages and it would not be fair to judge them in their current conditions. However, comparing them both at this stage in development will give us a good idea of how they compare and what the future may hold.
Look and Feel
From a very general point of view, it is clear to see that Android over the last few years has been focusing on how it looks, with iOS focusing on adding deeper functionality. However with the Android N and iOS 10 beta, these pieces of software are nothing like what you would expect a beta to be like from other companies.
With regard to navigation, both beta’s are not the finished products so should not be expected to be as stable as the final release versions. However, both are quick to respond to commands and offer very little lag. As for gestures, they both now respond when picked up, with the Android N screen switching straight on with a simplified high contrast view, but you still have to press or swipe the screen to fully wake the OS. As for iOS 10, once a device is picked up it springs into life with a bright full-color lock screen offering notifications and widgets.
Apple has gone to great lengths to improve how its apps and third-party applications are recognised in iOS 10. Now, as long as a developer builds in support for sharing options will be greatly improved. However, this is where Android N leads the way as phone updates are largely controlled by handset manufacturers, which has meant that large amounts of Stock Android apps can now be found on Google Play. This allows Google to update Android, with more timely updates and bug fixes.
Deleting Stock Apps
Whilst there have been rumors surrounding iOS 10 and its ability to delete stock iOS apps, unfortunately, this is only allowed for some of them. In iOS 10, you can disable iTunes, calendar, and maps, however, news and health are not able to be deleted. And the same goes for Android N, especially if you are using a handset with a manufacturer’s own skin overlayed onto to Android.
At this part, it is easy to see where design between the two operating systems has started to meet in the middle. As both have a Cards orientated layout with access to content that a user could be interested in. As for iOS 10, Apple has increased the amount of 3D Touch interactions that are possible via the lock screen and notifications tray, but personally, I think this will only make up the deficit for only having the home button on the iPhone.
However, back, home and multitasking navigation buttons on Android N offer something completely different, in that this is a tried and testing system that has been improved upon over many different generations.
Apple’s Photo app has seen some serious improvement and now provides on-device photo sharing and scanning. Now there’s also memories, which sort content and create short movies of your content. However, yet again Google’s Photo app is still the better ‘even on the iPhone’ it is ahead, thanks to its pinch to shift scaling and an assistant to provide help in creating movie memories.
Apple music has had a huge update, which gives it new big and bold text and an improved UI. Simple tabs now allow you to move through new content allowing you to discover new mucic. However, it does seem to lack support for album art from other downloading music services. Moving on to Play Music, it has a much more busy UI, however, it is focussed towards people who like to download individual tracks and is a better catch-all app.
Siri, as you may know, is getting smarter. She can now chain commands and search larger strings. In fact with iOS 10 Apple has released what it is calling the Sirikit to developers, with this Siri can be integrated with more apps greatly improving on her functionality. As for Android N and Google Now, it is being pushed to work with more Android N apps, however, it does still not work with all applications. Something that users of both operating systems are calling out for.
Yes, this was a fun comparison. But, it is easy to see where both Apple and Google are both arriving at similar solutions to similar problems. However, there is still some obvious individuality remaining and that is just enough to make this year’s Ios 10 and Android N betas extremely interesting to compare.
What are your thoughts, do you have a favourite OS beta?