It’s only been a week since Apple debuted iOS 8, but I’ve spent most of that week using the new software. Third-party apps are crashing a bit too much for me to use iOS 8 on a full-time phone — that’s understandable given the beta software status — so I removed it from my iPhone 5s and installed it on an iPod touch. As I said not long after iOS 8 was shown off, I’m impressed by the new features.
I think many smartphone users will feel the same way I do. And if you look at the numbers, about 80 percent of smartphone users around the world don’t currently use iOS; they have Android phones. Apple’s new software could change that situation, however, because many of the new iOS features were previously exclusive to Google Android. As Ron Amadeo put in an iOS writeup on Ars Technica, “many of Apple’s announced upgrades were things the Android OS has boasted for years.”
Sure, we could all argue about who borrowed from whom, but at the end of the day, does that really matter to consumers? At this point, most of the major smartphone innovation has come and gone; now companies are down to refining the experience until the next big thing arrives. So when spending hard-earned money on a smartphone, consumers are (hopefully!) going to pick the one that best meets their personal needs. The “best” handset on the market is the one that works best for you.
Some who have used Android in the past think Apple’s new software is now the better choice for them. Case in point: My long-time friend and fellow blogger Dave Zatz, who tweeted this after trying iOS 8:
He later added to that thought, saying “I can’t really justify any other mobile or desktop platform at this point. Assuming a larger screen iPhone.” Boom! If Apple does offer a 4.7-inch iPhone this fall as expected, there’s one less Android user simply based on iOS 8.
One out of hundreds of millions doesn’t mean much, but I suspect Dave won’t be the only person who switches. After all, several of the reasons one might have chosen Android over iOS in the past will no longer be valid once iOS 8 arrives. With an iPhone running iOS 8 you’ll be able to share data with more apps and social networks. Third-party keyboards? Yup, they’re coming. Widgets, too, are an Android staple and Apple is implementing them in the Notification Center for iOS. And Spotlight becomes a more useful universal search feature.
Android still excels at contextual data, thanks to Google Now. Folks who want to choose from a wide variety of handset hardware will still lean toward Android as well. Put another way, Android still has and will have some advantages over iOS even after Apple’s new software arrives. It will just have fewer of them come this fall.
So how about it: If you use Android today, might you consider switching once iOS 8 launches? Or is Apple’s new software still too confining for you on a smartphone? Leave a comment and vote in our poll; I’m curious if Apple’s presentation has impacted the Android users in our readership.
And before anyone asks, I’m not going to vote. I’m lucky in that I use multiple platforms and devices (that includes Windows Phone) for my job, so I don’t have to choose. In fact, by not choosing, I’ve come to have a deep appreciation for all of the available choices; it’s a good time to be a smartphone user!