As device differentiation reduces the volume is turned up on the operating and ecosystem.
Android are trying hard to win hearts and they may be winning. Android’s “be together, not the same” tagline is working well to generate discussion around connectivity and sharing.
In research we’ve run in the last year we’ve noticed how the sentiment towards Apple is shifting. Or rather, the sentiment towards the Apple ecosystem is shifting, as Apple users begin to consider how the openness of Android is better for sharing content and connecting devices.
Two things. Firstly, iOS and iCloud used to be superior in terms of its usability but now there is very little difference between Apple and Android.
Secondly, not so long ago an Apple user would share music, apps, books and movies easily between an iPad, iPhone, iPod and maybe a Mac or Apple TV. But the device landscape has changed and households now have over 7 connected devices from a wide range of brands.
Tablets, smartphones, wireless speakers, smart TV’s, games consoles, activity trackers, smartwatches etc. from hundreds of brands (we track over 100 in our wearables study) create a need for easy connectedness and content sharing.
Whilst Apple devices are still loved and the brand is still revered, we hear Apple users becoming annoyed with the restrictiveness of the Apple ecosystem.
Sharing content – why Apple users are annoyed
1, If ports are required to share content, Android uses standard ports to share and sharing content across Android devices is extremely simple. Apple uses ‘lightening ports’ that offer little benefit and converters are required to share content with non-Apple devices.
2, Wirelessly, it is difficult to perform cross platform access of content from iCloud unless you are technically inclined. Android’s Google Drive and MS Windows play nicely together - with Android, you just need a browser.
3, For music, there’s a difference in the wireless standards – you need to understand the difference between ‘Airplay’ and ‘Bluetooth’ when selecting a new Audio device. And remember that iTunes is needed to access and convert content playable on a non-Apple devices.
4, For wearables, ‘Android Wear’ is available across a wide range of wearable devices. The Internet of Things promises even more challenges as Apple’s ‘Homekit’ requires a bridge for connection with white goods, cars or home systems that do not support it.
More devices, more openness
Whilst Apple users are familiar with the operating and ecosystem they are beginning to feel restricted. For Android users, the perception is that it is restrictive.
As more devices are internet connected and content is increasingly streamed and not owned, so Apple will need to consider its ‘walled garden’ vs. the ‘open’ ecosystem that Android has embraced.
There are signs that Apple are adjusting their approach - the new Apple Music service will have an Android version in the autumn. This may signify an Apple strategy that resolves to take into account a world where increasing numbers of devices and brands demand the easy and intuitive sharing of content and information.
More on the future of Ecosystems
If an 'Ecosystem' is of interest to you, this article from Accenture is a great way to make sense of what it is and why it is important for businesses. It’s not just Apple and Android – many large businesses have created ecosystems.
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