I love my Android Phone. Thank you, Apple! (Google fans, why do you hate iPhone so much?)

Though I prefer iPhone – and Windows Phone – to Android, I understand that some, maybe most, prefer Google’s platform over Apple’s. To each his own. What I cannot understand is why anyone, even the most ardent Android fan, would hate Apple and the iPhone.

Let’s be clear: without iPhone there is no Android. Not like it exists today. Without iPhone, Android probably still looks like a cheap knock-off of 2008’s latest Blackberry device.

The iPhone was released in June 2007. It launched a revolution in telecommunications, entertainment and personal computing. This is indisputable. Odds are very high that, pre-iPhone, you and everyone you knew used a “mobile” or a “cell phone” – but nothing like today’s mobile personal computer, the smartphone. True, Windows Mobile offered enhanced functionality for the few that owned one, mostly thanks to their employer. There were a few touchscreen devices pre-iPhone, such as the HTC Touch, but they were rare and rarely used.  Post-iPhone, a full touchscreen “app phone” is the standard across the industry and around the world.

The iPhone changed everything. If you care about smartphones and the mobile industry, than you owe iPhone your gratitude.

Before iPhone, apps were applications, and even then an oddity, rarely used, hardly understood by the masses. Now apps are a multi-billion-dollar industry that is remaking retail, gaming, search, and personal connectivity. Apps have replaced the “desktop” metaphor for human interaction with personal computing and data resources.

Thanks to the iPhone we now carry with us these amazing and powerful computing devices that we use for shopping, driving, gaming, watching movies, taking videos, documenting our lives, purchasing goods and services and much much more. You should be thankful!

A large part of the Apple ‘hate’ seems to come from this silly notion that Apple is ‘closed’.

Closed is great.

Apple’s closed ecosystem spawned the global app craze. Apple’s closed ecosystem enabled many companies to generate billions of dollars in wealth. That is still a rarity amongst the entire Android ecosystem. Apple’s closed ecosystem delivers movies and music and content that is safe, secure and usable. There is probably no competing Google Play without Apple’s closed ecosystem. Without Apple selling hundreds of millions of its (closed) devices, Google does not pour billions and billions of dollars into rapidly iterating and building out its Android platform. Being closed enabled Apple to profit, to innovate, and to release revolutionary new products into the market.

I love my iPad. Perhaps you have a Nexus 10. Fair enough. But I doubt your Android tablet would even exist without iPhone and then iPad. It’s not like Google is making nay money off these devices. Consider Microsoft. Microsoft has talked for a decade about tablets. For years they’ve shown off their “slate” technology at all the world’s grandest tech conferences. The result? Nothing. Not until Apple sold a hundred million of its iPad tablets, spawning yet another computing revolution.

I admire Apple for its innovation, for its commitment to continuous improvement. I do not mind if you think Android is better. Great, go for it. Choice and competition is good. But think back to before iPhone and before iPad. That’s probably what we would still be using today.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the PC industry. What was the last innovation that industry spawned – that wasn’t a copy-follow of Apple?

If the Apple haters won, there would be no Android; not as we know it today. No great apps. No portable gaming beyond Nintendo and an expensive, clunky Sony device – without a phone. If the Apple haters won, a full touchscreen smartphone would most likely still be something that only a very few could use or afford.

Closed is fine by me.

When I have a problem with my iPhone, I go to the Apple Store. I know who to call, who to blame, who can fix it. How does that work with your Samsung Galaxy? Do you go to Samsung? Google? Your carrier? What about updates? Apple’s closed ecosystem ensures I get timely updates – forever.

It was Apple’s closed iTunes that helped to limit music piracy, and sent that money to the artists and publishers. Admittedly, there are numerous competing digital media platforms and payments systems. But I have not once ever had a problem with a faulty charge, a virus-laden app, a song that did not play thanks to iTunes. I’ve been using Apple’s solution for nearly a decade, problem-free. Open has simply not served me as well.

How many developers are making money from Apple’s closed ecosystem? Ten thousand? One hundred thousand? A million? Far more – and for far more – than on the Android side of the fence.

Even when there are equivalent solutions available, I’ve noticed that Apple’s efforts at design and simplicity for all spur widespread adoption. My parents never in their life made a Skype call. But in just this year they’ve had dozens of videochats with their grandchildren, thanks to FaceTime on the iPad.

It is Apple’s closed ecosystem that has helped make them not just America’s richest company, but the world’s. They have generated billions and billions of dollars of wealth for thousands. So end the hate.

Be happy with your choice. I know I’m happy with mine.

Author: Brian S Hall

Brian S Hall writes about technology, immortality and food for ReadWrite, Techpinions, Unwired View and other publications. His thoughts on the 'smartphone wars' and how these are rapidly de-constructing markets, industries, business models and relationships around the world can be found on his personal site at www.brianshall.com.

Share This Post On
  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    Exaclty – market share. If money is all you care about when it comes to enabling end users, then you, sir, are a shill for big corporations. I like the fact that any joe shmo tech company can take Android and give it a go.

  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    Market share

  • nanoco

    Show us your engagement data!…you are just making inferences on the current market share (not sound logical argument) and because tyou are unfortunately too lazy to reseach the data out there yourself, you expect us to spoon feed you that very few people switch from Apple’s ecosystem? Fact, Andriod grabs more 1st time smartphone buyers,but more people switch from Andriod to iOS than the other way around. Sorry!

  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    First – I am old enough. In fact – My first desktop computer was a Mac Classic. Yeah, that beige box.

    I’m not angry about success. How could I when Android has been pretty damn successful?

    Listen – I am glad that Apple has introduced mobile computing to the masses. Its the reason I felt comfortable getting my mom an iPhone for mother’s day. But when Apple pulls all these design patents out of their arse, it starts to get a little annoying. Its about philosophical approaches that the two sides will never agree to disagree on. One side sees design as the be-all end-all sledgehammer of patent justification. The other side sees ‘gee, that looks nice…but this has already been done with crappier graphics and UI’

    Again – under the hood, I think Apple has done some great stuff. Their hardware is great! Its their software design patents that make no sense to me.

  • Space Gorilla

    The patent system is a mess, no doubt, but if you think Apple is the only company leveraging patents you’re woefully ignorant. There is very little difference in the ‘philosophical approaches’ of Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, et al. They are in business to *make money*, and if patent lawsuits will further that goal, they will all take that route (and all have).

  • nalij

    You’re nutty buddy. I asked for data since it was referenced by the author who I was responding too. Sorry if asking for stats when you state them in an discussion is considered lazy.

    I think market share is a pretty good indicator of people’s experience. Here is a report from IDC, you probably don’t know who they are, but it’s a highly respected research company….not some bullshit blog.

    http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23771812#.UL5SIIOMic8

    And I completely expect that you wont read it but still comment. So let me help you. Android’s YoY (that’s Year over Year) change in market share from Q3’11 to Q3’12 was 91.5%, Apple was 57.3%. Android ended Q3’12 with 75% marketshare based on shipped volumes; Apple 14.9%

    And I understand before you say it that shipped and sold are two different numbers but you have to admit that Android dominates.

    Those are hard, indisputable facts. It seem logical to me that Android would grab most users first and those that switch would go to iOS over Blackberry and WinMo. Can you back this claim up with anything concrete not from some Apple-fanatic blog?

  • http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002VH8ECQ Brian S Hall

    You can’t possibly believe what you are writing. You think Samsung is “willing” to take less money? If Samsung could sell their phones for $100 more, they would. You have to know this.

  • remydlc

    of course, that is logical for every business, but if you wanna compete, their best choice is to lower the price. But my whole point was that just becuase Apple makes 70% profit on their iphone, doesnt mean the iPhone is better than the competition and doesn’t mean WE should keep throwing our money away at Apple because they are the Biggest money maker in the whole world.

    Samsung sell their S3 for 550-600, not like that is cheap either… But they have cheaper handsets made for a different group of people, they even made a more affordable “mini” S3, which doesnt have a price yet i believe, but might sell for less than $400, maybe $99 under a contract. All this lowers their profit margin, but makes them more $ and creates a bigger market share for them.

  • nanoco

    Again BS…Why do you get so mad and spit out all the tired anti-Apple clichés….its just irrational hate. Just tell us you like Andriod’s list of features better. For millions of others, none of these are minor features made Andriod superior. We like Apple’s ease of use and ecosystem. As for arrogance,should we get mad at you forspouting out how Andriod has desktop widgets?

  • remydlc

    you think $ = better product… BMW handles better than Mercedes, ALL their cars, we all know that…yet Mercedes cars comparatively to BMW lineup are $5k up to 80K more expensive than BMW, while BMW offers the same technology and in some cases more horse powers than the Mercedes’ equivalent. Oh and BMW sells more and makes more money go figure!

  • nalij

    Just curious, why are IDC statistic BS?

  • JDSoCal

    Irrelevant, if Google makes nothing on it. Go ask HP about having the
    leading PC market share, and they are circling the drain. Apple has 5% worldwide PC market share and 53% of the profits.

  • JDSoCal

    Dumb bunny, Google’s mobile search does run on Android phones. The point is, Google is not open so they shouldn’t tout it.

  • remydlc

    Google’s search algorithm is on the WEB Server side and you can use it from any COMPUTER, it has nothing to do with Android, there is an app (Google Search) you can install from the play store, although it comes pre-installed with every Android headset, and the app searches on Google.com and your phone. I, for one, am ok with iOS being closed, just the same way Windows is. That’s how Apple makes their money. They should allow developers to do more with it, that is what People dont like about iOS, including me!

  • JDSoCal

    Right, because this is a consumer tech blog. See all the reviews and ratings on tech products? And all this time I thought Brian was writing about the industry and its economics for analysts and investors.

    Stockholders care, genius! I am the corporation! I am the one who knocks!

  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    You’re putting words in my mouth. Of course other companies have to play the patent game! Do you really think someone reading this site wouldn’t know the ridiculousness that has been unfolding? Apple done took it to another level. Its essentially what sparked the arms race we’re all witnessing now. But if all you can see through is the prism of money money money, then I can’t help you here.

  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    If you think market share is irrelevant and money is all that matters, then I can’t help you here

  • happyfunball

    Wireless charging is not new, but who is enjoying it? I don’t know of a single person that does, and I know a lot of smartphone users. Do you seriously use wireless charging? How much did it cost you, and why did you bother? Was the cable that hard to use?

    Multitasking on your phone. Why? What are you doing that requires this? Give examples.

    Whats missing from your arguments are use cases. Tell us exactly how android is better and maybe we’ll believe you. What widget are you using that is so awesome? Why does your wife envy your phone?

    Is she even using the Apple eco-system (ATV, airplay, iCloud reminders, find friends etc) ? Or is she just using an iPhone in a windows geeks’ house in isolation?

    Apple products get more useful as you have more of them, and they play together perfectly without a hitch, driver download, or google search to find an answer. No jailbreaking, not hacking required. They work out of the box.

  • happyfunball

    Did you read that link?

    Android dominates in market share because low-end phones, the kind that do nothing but call, are now running Android. Nokia is losing this market share and Samsung is picking up that market. Engagement is low on those devices because their customers don’t use the browser or install apps. These are < $99 devices.

    As Android market share increases, Apple is still increasing its customer base. That tells you that Android is not eating Apples pie at all. Google is eating up Nokia.

  • happyfunball

    Totally true, I remember when the command line was king and the GUI was for grandmothers. And I was young, and I hated Apple. I got older and smarter and now use an iPhone.

    IMHO, people who use high-end Android devices are just nerds with too much free time on their hands. Once they get a real life, they will appreciate the simplicity and freedom Apple devices give. True freedom, as in freedom from worrying about tech. Freedom to do something else with your time.

  • nalij

    You’re right wireless charging is not new but it is now going to become more popular. My Galaxy Nexus does not support wireless charging but the new Nexus4 does – it’s just part of the package – you know pushing the envelope, well not really since you use an iPhone.

    Half the crap we have on our phones we don’t need. But when the functionality is there, I want to be able to use it on my device. For example on the Note 2 you can be watching a video, split the screen, and pull up email – and compose a message and respond – without stopping or interrupting the video. Is this something I would use every waking second of the day, no – but it’s cool and brings more of the computer experience to my phone.

    My wife has an ipad, ipod touch and macbook – so yes she uses the ecosystem. And as I type this it is on an Ubuntu powered laptop. While I run my custom built PC next to me. You see I don’t care who makes it, I just want the best value for my money.

    Again, the ecosytem can keep users at bay – a great thing for the company maybe not the user.

    You can say the same thing about Google services, Connect your email to your Picasa account, Instant Upload all pictures from your phone, Sync your music across any device, access Google Drive for all of your documents, use Google Magazine for all of your subscription services. Maybe even access Google Maps to know where your going….All of the can be done out of the box – no jailbreaking or hacking. And it just works, as you put it.

  • nalij

    Of course. But, what’s your point. Obviously if Android can command such a market share people must enjoy the >$99 devices and most aren’t that terrible. You can get a free Samsung Galaxy Stellar right now for free from VzW with new contract. Check the spec’s it not too bad and for free it’s damn good.

    Nokia is getting eatin’ alive, maybe the Nexus 4 will slow that – but it’s a direct to consumer sales model, so I doubt it. Although, they are consistently sold out.

    The clientele that Apple serves is more like to make purchases with their device, since they are often, in a higher income segment. But, as far as device engagement I wouldn’t strictly correlate app purchases to device use. I am a hardcore smartphone user and I never purchased any app other than Cerberus and Titanium Backup Full. But, I would consider myself extremely engaged with my device. I think (I don’t have any facts to back this up) but I would assume there are many Android users like this. We might not purchase countless games but we do but our devices to work.

  • JDSoCal

    No shit Sherlock that the algorithm is on the Web side.

    I guess I will have to spell it out. Please try to follow along: The conversation is about openess. Google promotes that being open is some virtue like loving Jesus.

    But Google is quite closed and proprietary in other areas. Like search, the one key to their entire profit model. Mobile is now the key, since the PC is dying, so it is a huge hypocrisy to brag about open platforms when the Android platform was designed for one reason: To monetize mobile via proprietary, trade secret/patented search and mapping algorithms (yes, dur hur, on the server side).

    It is further irony that nobody, Google or otherwise, is open about actual sales numbers of Android phones. Just this fuzzy “activations” number.

  • JDSoCal

    On no, then you mean as a stockholder, I will be stuck with Tim Cook’s vision instead of yours? Damn, I need to sell AAPL!

    Dopey Fandroids, it’s a business, not a religion.

  • happyfunball

    Watching a video and reading your email at the same time with a split screen is your one example of something Android does that the iPhone doesn’t? I for one would never do that on a phone and to be frank, its not much of a selling point. Especially at the expense of hurting my battery life.

    As you point out, you want to bring the computer experience to your phone. I don’t want that, I want something better. Something that makes my life easier instead of my laptop smaller.

    Your example of Google services is not very useful, since all those services are also available on IOS. Yes, Google writes apps for IOS too. You can even use Google maps on IOS, if you must. All you need to do is use Safari. Personally I think Apple maps are much nicer and faster, but I’ve only used them a few times.

    As for IOS apps not on Android, how about Airplay, iTunes Match, Find Friends, location based reminders etc. All those link with and work with my iMac desktop, iPad and my Macbook laptop. Some of that can be done on Ad-roid with spyware and advertising ridden equivalents, but they will be buggy and offer a poor experience.

    Android devices work well with your Chromebook. What, don’t have one? Either does anybody else.

    Android is getting better, but its still inferior for *most people*. If you need to split your screen and you need quad cores, its Android FTW.

    Android devices are effectively subsidised by Google, the worlds largest advertising company. If you think they are not mining your data you are insane.

    Apple on the other hand charges way too much for their devices, but they work well and are spyware and virus free. If you can afford an iPhone, its a very good deal.

  • jayson

    Why are you looking at it as a plus to have to spend more money in your app store? How does it benefit us if apple makes even more money? Apple gives you the least and chargest the most for everything. People buy apple for the name not the product. The iphone 5 is a nice phone but it does fall short a little. If they don’t start to give people something for there money than android and maybe windows will continue to grow strong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnnyrodgersmorris John Morris

    How can Android copy features that are not present on iOS? A file manager, widgets, setting apps as default across the entire phone,

  • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

    Apple Fan: I love how tightly controlled the iPhone is, it is a walled garden!
    Android Fan: What do you mean I can’t use the SIP keyboard with function key support that I need to VPN into Prelude & Gensys? Walled garden? Hell…More like a prison with plants!

  • Z

    You tech noobs are some of the bitchiest, most sanctimonious whiners I’ve ever had the displeasure to read. This is what happens when technology evolves faster than the human species.

  • Daniel Martin

    what the f*** ?is this really an exercise in seeing how many sentences you can begin with a reference to a product from Cupertino? How f****** stupid! Jesus f****** christ! dictated by Google Voice, incidentally.

  • enyibinakata

    Perhaps if the likes of Brian were more measured in their veneration of Apple and vilification of its competitors then there will be no need for this article / Android vs. Apple, iPhone iOS debate

  • enyibinakata

    “All of them had very little impact on the great smartphone disruption iPhone launched in 2007….”

    So you are actually saying that the iPhone did not borrow / was inspired by any of the elements of smartphones / PDA’s that preceded it ? You’re actually convinced about this ? You’re actually not convinced that the inclusion of camera on phone, colour touchscreen, apps etc – the Sony Ericsson p800 comes to mind – had any bearing on the iPhone. Do you even realise that Nokia gets some royalty for every iPhone sold (some as a result of Symbian OS features – e.g. popup keys).

    So much for ‘little impact’ !!

    It is irrational statements and ‘shilling’ of this sort that the Android community detests and rightly so.

    Unwired has milked the Android vs iOS meme long enough, time to move on.

  • Galen Marek

    No way!!! To unlock your Nexus, command prompt, adb shell, fastboot oem unlock and you just unlocked your Nexus. Fact is, there’s a disclaimer and your phone is wiped in the process. They’re not unlocked “out of the box”, you have to do it yourself. The thing is, with the Nexus, you have this opportunity “out of the box”, you don’t need a MSc in computer engineering (HTC One X for example).

  • remydlc

    you are referring to the bootloader, yes it is locked by logic, but it is easily unlock-able. I am saying the Nexus 4 is not locked to any carrier, is a world phone. There is not much reason to root a Nexus 4 other than add a customized ROM. You can do all you want with a vanilla (Google) android or even a skinned Android such as Samsung’s TW. Unlike the non-jailbroken iphone which you are pretty much locked to whatever Apple wants you to have/to do… big difference.

  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    Re: patents – looks like common sense is becoming more and more common as people wake up and smell the roses – http://gizmodo.com/5966835/apples-flagship-multi+touch-patent-has-been-tentatively-invalidated

    And in case you forgot – http://youtu.be/QKh1Rv0PlOQ

  • Space Gorilla

    Yeah, I especially like the part where Han says multi touch isn’t anything new and people have been working on it since the 1980s. In case you forgot :) I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove here.

  • http://twitter.com/peterjohn peterjohn

    Just a slight tangent regarding patents. Figured it was somewhat relevant to the original convo and one of your responses regarding it.

  • Geoff

    Yes, this is the issue exactly. I know people who own iPhones that are only vaguely aware of what Android is (they would call my HTC Amaze a Samsung Galaxy S) and yet still tell me I’ve made a terrible choice in the phone I bought because it wasn’t an iPhone. I’ve had an iPhone user tell me they hope that every other phone operating system fails outright because iPhone is so good it deserves to be the only game in town (like competition is a bad thing).