Dec12

Apple’s iOS 7 vs Android’s KitKat: A User’s Perspective

Apple’s iOS7 and Google’s Android operating systems are presently the two juggernauts in the mobile space and are vying for supremacy. This leads to lots of interesting clashes, bickering, improvements, and above all, much confusion. Is one really better than the other, or is it just personal preference?

In this series we will let these behemoths go blow for blow as we bring out the best, the worst, and the not commonly known.  We will let you comment on who wins each round, and that will ultimately determine which is the last OS standing.  We’ll begin by looking at things from the end user perspective.

The User Interface and Functionality

From a User Interface perspective, iOS 7 ditched the gradient/beveled look in favor of a flat, minimalistic design. “Content is king”, is the new catchphrase; out with everything that is not absolutely essential, and in with a clear focus on displaying essential content. Animations are also king here, zoom ins and outs, animations that make the OS come alive.

KitKat also posed a UI Refresh, beautiful to look as and providing an immersive experience. Subtle changes that differentiate it from the stock Android look are present; the top and bottom black bars are no longer present, making a devices screen look bigger. Full screen wallpapers are now even grander. A feeling of plunging in is the result

The control center addition to iOS 7 is a winner. Functionally it gives the user quick access to a multitude of things such as: Airdrop file sharing settings, screen brightness, camera access, clock app, volume, music playback control, wifi, airplane mode, and more. This in a sense is reminiscent of Androids quick settings, which was already in place.

On the flip side, Android KitKat’s notification system is superior. Plus the ability to have widgets is ever present. Calendar and email app wise both KitKat and iOS 7 have the same functionality with a slight different look of course. One pro for KitKat is the support for grouped contacts. IOS on the other hand, has a great unified inbox.

Web browsing is primordial, has been for a long time now. iOS 7 brings to the table Safari while Android brings forth Chrome. Realistically though, there’s little to separate the two default web browsers in terms of user interface, but Chrome has a slight edge if you want to experiment with HTML5 web apps. Chrome usually outscores Safari but by a mostly negligible margin.

In terms of multitasking and swapping between open applications both operating systems are top-notch. It is a simple scrollable view of all open apps, with a tap to switch to, or a swipe to close it. That’s simple and efficient. Android’s approach, at its core, is more flexible, but the iOS method helps conserve battery life – a concern we raised in an earlier Android post.

Both push the boundaries by being more user-aware than ever before. iOS 7 learns when you like to use certain apps and updates content before you regularly launch said app. KitKat learns a user’s habits as well, who calls you or whom you call most often; based on this information, it rearranges the way your contacts are displayed in a logical manner.

iOS7 takes off the gloves when it comes to certain aspects. The iOS app store clearly trumps the Google Play store. The gap has narrowed quite a bit, but iOS still is superior in this area. Regarding security and manageability, iOS is also better. By enforcing tight controls on the types of applications Apple ensures that the end user will have a safe environment with which to work. Additionally, iOS has enterprise friendly features as well.

Another area where iOS trumps Android heavily is via upgrade-ability. iOS 7 has been adopted by around 75% of users, whereas KitKat has only been adopted by approximately 1% of Android users at the moment (hardware and such needs to catch up among other things, not as tightly coupled). The tight-knit nature of Apple’s hardware with its software allows for this landslide victory in terms of rolling out updates that are actually adopted by the user-base.

This isn’t to say that KitKat is going to take a knee – it is a highly customizable operating system, much more so than iOS.  Android users have multiple schemes, widgets, keyboards and many more options available to them.

The less said about Apple’s default map solution the better – Google maps is decidedly more reliable and functional.  Fortunately iOS 7 users can download that app again in the iTunes store.

While the concept of Apple’s Siri is innovative, the reality is that using Google to perform searches generally results in more refined results.  Again, it is relatively easy for an iOS 7 user to access Google searches, but when looking at an out of the box solution, Google beats Siri.

Do We Have A Winner?

Each OS had quite the myriad of punches and counter punches to launch at each other. KitKat keeps the mainstay of Android devices strong and alive: customizations, maps, and voice among other things. IOS 7 continues the Apple tradition of being easily upgradeable, providing strong security, and featuring a great app store.  Both excel in basic user needs with their respective approaches that address a users email, calendar, web browsing, multitasking, and the like. All in all a very tight round in regards to iOS 7 v.s Kitkat.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below – do you think Android KitKat beats Apple’s iOS 7?  Or does iOS 7 beat Android?  Maybe you think it is a tie…  In any case, tell us who wins in your book and why.  We’d enjoy the conversation.

We’ll continue the discussion over the next few weeks, moving from a user point of view to an iOS development vs Android development perspective.

 

1 Comment

  1. […] up on our two installments of the iOS vs. Android debate, our mobile app development team presents their closing arguments with one final glimpse into […]

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