For far too long have we debated this topic. Countless hours have been lost in trying to conclude this argument. And yet, we’re no closer to finding an answer than we were when it all began.
If we want to end this, we need to go back to the very beginning: September 23rd, 2008. The day it all began; the day Android 1.0 arrived and this war began. The first Android smartphone was the HTC Dream:
Isn’t she a beauty? Well, not really.
The Dream was described to have a “charming, retro-future look; like a gadget in a 1970's sci-fi movie set in the year 2038.”
It wasn’t anything special at the time, especially when the vastly better first-gen iPhone had already been available to consumers for over a year.
Android improved over the years, of course. From version 1.0 to 5.0, the design language drastically changed over the years until it became what we know today as ‘Material Design’.
iOS began its legacy on June 29th, 2007. Originally, it had a skeuomorphism-inspired design.
Skeuomorphism is the design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts
Over the years, it moved toward a more flat, minimal design language, to what we see today in iOS 7 and 8.
So, even though iOS might have been objectively better 4 years ago, Android has caught up pretty fast indeed.
However, Android still has a long way to go. As evidenced by the 26,470 reported bugs on Google’s own issue tracker. iOS is significantly more polished and has about 3 bugs in total.
And hey, I’m not biased. I use a Moto G…that should count for something, right? It’s...uhh... not like I’ve been an Apple fan for life and have been following liveblogs of every single one of their conferences since the dawn of time and nothing will ever convince me that Android is better. Nope, nothing like that. And I definitely don’t have a shrine to Steve Jobs on my desk; heh, that’d be crazy…right?
Still on the fence about which is better? Well, I tried. Maybe this completely objective (I swear!) comparison will help you make up your mind:
Again, I tried my best to make this as objective as humanly possible.
If you currently don't own either an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, then you're a blank slate, you're not tied to either ecosystem, and whichever path you take is ultimately dictated by your personal preferences.
As far as the platforms go, there’s the questions has individual strengths and weaknesses. iOS has strengths and Android has weaknesses.
What about usability? iOS is way easier to set up and get started than Android. However, once set-up, Android can be customized to fit your requirements to a greater extent.
iOS is also much more reliable and crashes maybe once a year while Android has the frequent SystemUI crash or random app force-close. This is in part because Android gives deeper system-level access to apps and so it has various launchers, lock screen apps, widgets and more which iOS is still working on implementing without any security compromises.
Battery life varies greatly depending on your usage, but generally iOS is better optimized allowing greater screen-on-time throughout the day.
Oh, and the iPhone 6 and 6+ have pretty much the best phone cameras available right now. I’m talking DSLR-level.
Ultimately, though, it depends on which ecosystem you’re heavily invested in. When you made that choice, you pretty much made this decision too. You could, of course, migrate from one to another; but chances are, you’ll want to stick with what you chose in the first place.
Or, do what I do - and use both!
(But iOS is still better).
(Sources include: www.apple.com, www.appleinsider.com, googledevelopers.blogspot.com, talkandroid.com, ipaddicas.com)