Why People Are Switching From Android to iOS :The Future of Smartphones

Ethan
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DEAD RIVALRY

Hundreds of millions of people are ditching Android. Once upon a time, the rivalry between Android and iPhone was one of the biggest in the world. It was as divisive and alienating as politics, religion, and whether you eat the frosting in an Oreo first. The iPhoners were seen as snobs who worshipped Steve Jobs and were willing to pay up any price. 

Meanwhile, Androiders were seen as geeks who just didn’t quite understand the elegance of the iPhone. For the longest time, it seemed like this battle had been settled the same way as the PC vs Mac battle. The PC was the choice for the overwhelming majority while the Mac was the choice for a few creative types, coders, and of course snobs. But it’s not quite playing out the same way within the smartphone space. 

Android popularity within the US graph


In fact, the iPhone has not only been gaining on Android but it has straight up overtaken Android in terms of popularity within the US. Things haven’t gone that far internationally but the iPhone is still very much gaining on Android outside of the US as well. 

In fact, within just the last 5 years, Android’s global market share has fallen 8% from 77 down to 69. That might not sound like a lot but keep in mind, virtually everyone in the entire world has a smartphone. We’re talking about 6.92 billion people. 

So an 8% loss in market share translates to over half a billion people switching teams. Another decade of that and Android will no longer control the majority. And honestly, looking past the numbers, it seems that this shift is already underway. 

Back in the day, it was iPhone users that were seen as outsiders, a select minority of Apple sheep. But today, it’s usually Android users that are seen as outsiders. 

What’s Happening To Android?


A green text bubble is a legitimate reason not to date someone, facetime is a must have, and even flagship apps like Instagram and Snapchat are very much biased towards the iPhone as they work way better on the iPhone. 

This is especially true for younger generations, aka the future of the smartphone market, of whom 79% prefer iPhone. Hearing that, it seems like the demise of Android is almost inevitable, so what happened to the king of smartphones? 


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CASE FOR ANDROID 

To answer what happened to The Case For Android the Android community, we first have to take a look back at what gave rise to the Android community in the first place and for that, we have to go all the way back to October of 2003. This is when four friends named Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White would create Android but it was nothing like what we know today. 

In fact, Android wasn’t even meant for smartphones as smartphones weren’t even a thing. Android was trying to create better software for digital cameras but they quickly figured out that this was a rather niche industry with little money. 

So, out of desperation, they would pivot to the mobile phone industry which got off to a surprisingly strong start. In fact, they would end up having conversations talks with Samsung and HTC. And these negotiations would catch the attention of an up-and-coming startup named Google, you might’ve heard of them. 

Google would go ahead and buyout the company for a mere $50 million. With Google’s backing, Android no longer had to worry about funding but they still didn’t have a winning product in their hands. Android was initially being developed for blackberry-like devices with physical keyboards and no touchscreen functionality. 

It wasn’t until the launch of the iPhone that Google went back to the drawing board and focused on a touch screen based experience. Even then though, they wanted some fundamental functions to be represented by physical buttons. And that’s why all the early Androids came with the classic 3 buttons at the bottom. 

Steve Jobs furious as he would vow to destroy Android


This blatant copying made Steve Jobs furious as he would vow to destroy Android but that’s a whole other story. The fact was that while Android had a rocky start, the 2010s would be a rocketship as its marketshare exploded from some 20% to nearly 70%. This explosion can be attributed to 3 main factors starting with price. This one is pretty self explanatory. 

Androids were in general far cheaper than iPhones. The cheapest Androids started at just $100 to $200 making them far more accessible than the $600 to $700 iPhones especially in developing countries. But don’t let this cheap price fool you into thinking that Androids weren’t capable. 

In fact, Androids often had way better specs than iPhones for half the price which brings us into our second point for Android: performance. 

Samsung started cheating on benchmarks and got banned from Geekbench


Before Samsung started cheating on benchmarks and got banned from Geekbench, they used to legitimately be the king of performance and it’s no wonder why. Just take a look at the specs of the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 for example. 

Samsung had a 40% larger battery, a nearly 2 times higher pixel density, 3 times more ram, a 3.5 times higher resolution, over 5 times the CPU speed, and a camera with double the megapixels. So, for people who made their choice based on the spec sheet and price to performance, Android was the clear way to go. 

And speaking of choices, there were simply far more choices with Android. You could go with Samsung, Google, HTC, OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi, Huawei, and basically anyone else who wanted in on the smartphone market. Meanwhile, from Apple’s side, there weren't even phones with different screen sizes up until the iPhone 6. 

You basically had to choose between a white iPhone and a black iPhone and that was pretty much it. Also, this abundance of choice or lack thereof extends well beyond the brand of the phone. With Android, you could take advantage of widgets, swap batteries in a matter of seconds, and add storage like it was nothing. And let’s not forget about how easy it was to jailbreak them. 

Jailbreaking or enabling root access to an Android phone was literally a matter of pressing a button. With iPhones, on the other hand, jailbreaking was a long and tense process as you hoped and prayed that you didn’t brick your phone. 

But anyway, putting my childhood fears to the side, when you combine the price, performance, and customizability of Androids, it’s no wonder why Android became so popular. But, clearly, these factors aren’t holding up in 2023, so what happened? 


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CASE FOR IPHONE

The Case For iPhone Looking back, I don’t think any of Android’s winning factors have necessarily fallen out of favor. People still want price, performance, and control, but then why is Android getting destroyed? Well, I would argue that Android no longer offers any of these while Apple has made strides in all of these. 

Let’s start with the price, for example. Everyone loves to talk about how iPhones have become far more expensive but have you looked at the Android market? The original Samsung Galaxy S1 was launched for $400 in 2010 alongside the iPhone 4 which launched for $600. So, Samsung was a solid 33% cheaper. 

But since then, the price of the Galaxy has not only matched the price of the iPhone or even the pro iPhone. It has literally overtaken the pro max iPhone as the Galaxy S20 Plus started at $1200. And it’s not just Samsung who has jacked up prices. 

Android prices have exploded to match iPhone prices across the board as everyone tries to be seen as premium smartphone premium. Even the Google Pixel 7a which is supposed to be a budget phone, now starts at $500. 

Now of course, you could argue that the price of the iPhone has also skyrocketed during this time period and that’s completely true, but there’s one major difference. By jacking up prices, Apple wasn’t cannabilizing its own userbase. 

In fact, they were just building up the status and appeal of their phone which is why a lot of people buy their phones in the first place. Android, on the other hand, was cannabilizing their userbase. 

When an Android user sees that the new galaxy is more expensive than the flagship iPhone, most don’t say “Wow, Samsung has really stepped up their quality and status.” Instead, they go “Damn, if it’s more expensive than the iPhone, I might as well just get the iPhone.” 

This has only been exacerbated by Apple becoming a lot friendlier when it comes to pricing. All we hear about Apple is their flagship costing more than ever, but here’s the deal: flagships aren’t meant for the average person. They're meant for the people who want the best regardless of price and to shape the Apple brand image. 

For everyone else, Apple has been offering cheaper phones than ever, starting at just $430 and going up in increments of $100. So, as Androids have become more expensive and entry-level iPhones have become cheaper, pricing has become a non-factor when choosing between iPhone and Android especially when you throw in carrier deals that largely favor iPhones. 

But it’s not just pricing that Android has lost out on, they’ve also lost out on performance. A lot of Android phones still have better batteries and better processors and more RAM and all of that stuff but this no longer translates into real world performance. 

CASE FOR IPHONE


You see, Apple has gotten extremely good at optimizing their software to work in synergy with their hardware. So, even though they still often have worse specs on paper, they end up having better performance and battery life. Take the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the iPhone 14 Pro Max for example. 

On Geekbench, the S23 Ultra comes in at 1877 and 4968 ultra while the 14 Pro Max comes in at 2516 and 6351. In fact, the top 20 scoring mobile devices all come from Apple, but honestly, this is completely irrelevant because in 2023, performance itself is irrelevant. 

And that’s not to say that people don’t care about performance but rather that all reputable smartphones are more than capable. So, performance has also become a non factor which brings us into the last hero factor for Android which was customizability. 


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To be blunt, Android’s customizability has fallen off a cliff. They’ve very much taken the Apple approach when it comes to customizing the hardware. You can no longer switch batteries, upgrade storage, or even plug in headphones. 

Even getting a charging brick is an anomaly nowadays. These Android phonemakers think that this makes them more premium and more like Apple, but really it just makes them less appealing. As for the software side of things, Android is indeed still customizable but so is the iPhone. 

After resisting for years, Apple has finally caved in and given users customization options whether that’s dark mode, widgets, different fonts or whatever else. This has not only completely eliminated the need for jailbreak but also the last remaining advantage of Android. But honestly, while these factors offer a logical explanation for the downfall of Android, I think there’s also a more qualitative explanation at play. 


WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

As you can see, Android has inarguably lost much of its distinguishing appeal over the past decade, but I think there’s more to this trend than just objective reasoning. The X factor that we have yet to discuss is the rising importance of smartphones. 

Back in the early 2010s, smartphones were the new tool. It helps you reply to emails, surf the web and chat more conveniently than ever. Most were looking for the cheapest and most practical way to accomplish these tasks and this set the context for their purchasing decision. 

They weren’t as concerned about small bugs or having the perfect UI or the smartphone experience or all of these other factors that Apple focused on. These were seen as nice to haves or luxuries but by no means necessities and as such, the majority went with Android. But the role of smartphones within society has largely transformed over the past 10 years. 


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Smartphones are no longer a tool, they are a necessity to engage with the modern society and economy. As such, people are more willing to invest in a nice smartphone instead of trying to get the cheapest one on the market. Moreover, people value the experience part of it more than ever. They enjoy how seamless iMessage, Facetime, and now even phone calls are on the iPhone. 

They appreciate that all of their favorite apps are natively built for the iPhone even if they don’t know that’s why iPhone apps feel better. They love the synergy between their smartphones and all of their other Apple tech gadgets. 

And most importantly, they value fitting in with their friends and family. Combine this with the fact that Androids are now just as expensive, lost their performance lead, and come along with the same shortfalls as Apple, and there’s really no reason not to switch to iPhone. 

And looking forward, this trend will only amplify as younger generations value these characteristics more than ever. And that’s why everyone is ditching Android. I would also argue that the modern tech economy is destroying the middle class. Check out this video to learn more.


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