iPhone 4 vs. Android – Why Apple has lost it

Like millions of other Apple fans, I had my eyes on the poor live videos craving for the “New” on the WWDC day. Steve came on the stage and after few magical announcements, lifted the curtains off the new iPhone & asked the audience, “Tell me if you have seen it.”

Sure, we had been watching it for a long time now. But still it was joyful to walkthrough all the new stuff we didn’t already knew.

But soon after it was over, a deeper thought on each one of the aspects reveals a different story, Lets have a re-look at everything that agonizes iPhone 4:

The Design

The new look, the charm, everything its hard to resist. I may not have liked the new Form-factor (which is less human than the previous one) but, what I did admire is the new innovation revolving around body-integrated antenna — a cellular antenna embedded into the body of the mobile device instead of restricting it to one region of the phone . The  aluminum body wireframe acts as an antenna which gives the user lower signal blockage, better reception, better battery life, that too at no added costs.

(On normal phones, your hand can absorb most of the RF waves coming in and going out of your phone, which both reduces signal strength and battery life.)

A Pure work of a genius, isn’t it? Wrong! Users are reporting poor network reception while they are holding it in left hands. doing so covers the black colored antenna tip that lies on the left side. Now Steve Jobs teaches us that it is the wrong way of holding a Phone. Damn, will apple teach us how we should hold phones? Despite knowing the RF facts of telecom industry, I would disagree with him. Cellphones are all about mobility and freedom. There’s no Right way or wrong way to do it.

Wasn’t these demos published by apple (source engadget)

Here’s a PoC:

What is annoying is that we are seeing issues we haven’t seen with previous iPhones. As gizmodo reports, some users have volume buttons upside down, others have yellow streaks on screen and pixel constellations.

Apart from that, the new Glass front and back is a great idea to bring strength and durability at no added gains to the weight and loss in looks. However, some claim that its not as durable as showcased, it can still withstand some basic stress tests, no surprises in here

The Display

The new high pixel depth Retina screen almost makes it the smartphone with the best IPS display, ever made. Its really impressive that it is said to produce higher pixel depth than what your eyes could resolve to. But wait a minute, did Technology really reach the limitation set by human body? That sounds strange, isn’t it? Well, Apple is wrong! A number of scientists, evangelists believe that this is a hoax, Human Retina is capable of doing much more higher, and this screen no where near.

Adding to the fire, Samsung claims that it’s not the world’s most superior display. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Phone features AMOLED which is a self-illuminated OLED screen that doesn’t need to be lit by external light sources, unlike IPS (LED backlight) display in iPhone 4. As a result, AMOLED can give out rich colors at much lower power usage, and result is 30% battery savings. However, practical tests have showcased that there’s hardly any difference in picture quality among these screens, so having reduced battery consumption handovers the crown to AMOLED.

The Camera

The introduction of High quality, though low res. 5MP still holds like a great deal as far as quality is concerned, But introduction of 720p HD video recording is what was most awaited in this space. But the fact is HTC EVO 4g does 8MP (with practical better quality) and has a higher resolution front camera too. And now that even Motorola Droid X does it very well, I’m no longer  impressed.

Hey Apple, Is that All?

This year’s WWDC was different from the usual. They seriously lacked on an important factor: New Ideas.

Apple appears to have really run out of new ideas to make iPhone better than the rest. They had been growing rapidly over last 2 years and now they are stagnant limited by the new features, innovation they are putting on to the New product. Often newer features are crippled by Steve Jobs’s aim for perfection. Multitasking was sure a big jump, but it came long after the Android, which had it from the beginning, built ground up. They literally had nothing new to show in the iOS since their last announcement. We haven’t seen any improvements in performance, features, and and to take it to worse, their Top 8 features looked like a thing from the past.

Related: Features Takedown — iOS 4 vs Android 2.2 – War is Over

Multitasking:

Talking about the Multitasking, it won’t be wrong to call it a ‘misnomer’, for which, most users would fall for. All they’ve done is used Frozen-in-Time processes for apps and renamed it to Multitasking. Max thing iOS 4 can multitask is streaming an Audio in the background for Radio apps like Pandora and VoIP apps like Skype,  receive cloud notifications, run GPS. Still the 3rd party (App Store) applications cannot process anything in the background (say background service updates, network activity), unless and until they are brought to the front.

Processor:

Apple might call the iPad’s secret powerhouse A4 chip a custom silicon design for performance, but the reality falls back to: “it is nothing but a Regular ARM chip with decent  graphics power”, something similar to Nexus One, if not more. But apple has chosen to underclock it to somewhere near 800mhz to pull out more battery juice.

No Love for the Cloud

Apple has forgotten the importance and the power of the Cloud. They are still living with very basic support for cloud services, and most Hot features are still unavailable: Sync, OTA updates, Wireless Data & Music transfer, etc.

Notifications

Notifications is one big thing I’ve been annoyed with, on iPhone. There’s no “Organized” way of doing it. Alerts can popup anytime anywhere making it both annoying and impossible to trackback. Android does it so nicely by grouping up things to the way it should be: One Place, infinite reachability, manageability, more peace of mind.

Is Apple running out of Ideas ?

In contrast with the features introduced in Google I/O for Andorid Froyo release, Apple seems to be lacking in a large number of fields.

It’s not just the features, improvements in the iOS, they have run out of ideas for something as simple as naming a product: Doesn’t Cisco own the name “IOS”, which describes the software at the heart of its routers, switches? And isn’t FaceTime the name of a company that helps customers secure and manage their unified communications environments? Didn’t Apple learn from previous lawsuit from Cisco where they screwed Apple over the name “iPhone”, which was once a TM for Cisco’s VoIP phone?

Software Perspective: Knowing the fact well that Apple’s next release would be a year later, Android has enough time to grow to something non-defiable by Apple over this period. With Android already ahead in the race (as far as features, innovation is concerned) and Android being open to innovation, Android would be a giant step ahead of iPhone.

Hardware perspective: iPhone 4′s hardware is almost comparable to today’s Android Phones: Evo 4g & Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Droid X.  To add to that, by the end of the year, Motorola plans to launch 2Ghz Nvidia Tegra based Android smartphone.

By the time its WWDC 2011, iPhone would be losing seriously on both OS (software) and hardware sides.

Today, the only thing Android lacks is the number of Applications iPhone has: 60,000 vs. 230,000 does matter. Today the Android Market is adding few 100s of app per day, with the same growing pace, it can reach to the iPhone level in a year. Android is adding 2 new users every second or 160,000 new phones each day.

Eventually,  Google will earn  faith from majority by showcasing stronger market, bringing in more developers to the Google’s platform.

On the Hardware front Motorola, HTC, and other vendors would just keep on bringing newer and better phones. If the current ARM architecture finds limitations, Intel might solve the problem as they have already ported Android to x86 Atom processors, so we can expect Phones (as well as Android Google TV) to run on upcoming more powerful Atom-Z processors, coming later this year. Nvidia wants to kill Intel in the mobile space, so for us as customers, we would ultimately avail better choices from both these new platforms on Android.

iPhone 4: When are the number of Issues too many?

As users report, the issues are dwelling everywhere: few have volume buttons upside down, others have yellow streaks on screen, pixel constellations, call drops and bad network reception. None of them can be fixed with Firmware upgrades,they are hardware errors. Isn’t it the worst build quality iPhone ever delivered?

Verdict:

Apple iPhone 4 will get good traction initially, but eventually, Openness would capture the flag.

What’s your take?

P.S. I’m a iPhone owner for 3 years, now also a Nexus One user.

For latest Open Source, iPhone, Android, Tech news @taranfx on Twitter or subscribe below:

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iPhone 4 vs. Android - Why Apple has lost it, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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  • non-iphone-user

    you know, i was going to post a well-reasoned counter argument, but instead i’ll summarize: you’re an idiot.

    thanks for listening

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  • http://twitter.com/LiveGadgets Live Gadgets

    damn! you nailed it

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  • Asfa

    Gud article taran liked the way u explained everything it's right aaple cannot tame ppl for long enough one day ppl will be fed up by the excessive control . Keep writing http://www.twitlonger.com/show/24g6mh

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  • http://techneur.com/ JP

    Damnit. It's not about how many ideas Apple has. It's about refinement of existing ideas. I love how everyone points out how other phones had the features before the iPhone. Ya know what? Nobody else cares. They just want their phone to be a phone first and for everything else to work. I own both an iPhone and a Nexus 1. (I'm a mobile dev)… and on the Nexus 1, I never did figure out how to end a task. That's a problem. One that Apple is trying to avoid.

    Your only valid point is Apple's lack of love for the cloud.

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    • Masztaar

      menu -> settings -> programs.

      Seems like very basic knowledge of any electronic device would lead to that conclusion. Perhaps you should get another job? Or maybe start using a pager?

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  • guest

    In other news, Apple sells 1.5 million iphone 4s on launch day…..losers ;-)

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    • Masztaar

      So if the first gameboy sold 1.5 million units a day, would that make it a revolutionary and good product?

      Refrain from procreating.

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      • heyho

        yes… 1.5 million people don't buy something on launch day if it's not revolutionary

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  • The Admiral

    Quite a fitting article. It is about time some one was forthright about the iPhone's Pros & Cons like they have been about the HTC EVO and the Google Nexus One. All three of these phones are used by my employees, family and friends. Owing to this I have been privy to the dialectic surrounding these phones. As an iPhone 3GS user I have to admit that I have been partial to the iPhone since I have been an iPhone user for the past 3 years. With this bias in mind I have to admit Sprint's Android based phone, the HTC Evo 4G, is without any doubt the best phone I have ever used. The only problem with this phone is that I can't find a store that has one to buy. This is frustrating when you are are willing to pay full price for something you can't get your hands on. Kudos must go to both Google and HTC for producing such a Technological marvel. This is one time I will admit Apple has lost the game.

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  • Mersi

    Your points seem valid, but you seem to be comparing on a different note. iPhone 4 as a phone may not be better than all the phones combined, however, what I noticed was you compared each features with a different phone eg, screen with Samsung, camera with HTC.

    iPhone 4 as a phone itself may lose out on certain aspects, but you should be comparing it on a phone by phone basis. Yes, Andriod is getting better and competitive, but IMO there is yet a single phone out there which beats the iPhone 4 in most aspect.

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    • Kkkkkkk

      compare it to the nokia n8. compare it to the evo or the. the iphone is a backward phone simply put. nokia had phones wth 5 mp cameras + a forward facing camera eons ago, the symbian os has more app on the internet than the app store and android market combined. Iphone's one ace card is the app store. but on features alone its hard to beat a Nokia phone.

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      • Peter

        And how much was that n8 phone when it came out, KKK? The iOS user interface is superior and iPhone users upgrade to the most current version much more uniformly than other mobile OS users, so we're all on the same page. Finally, the iPhone is the only phone with a built-in iPod and no other phone can claim that.

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        • Masztaar

          HAHA. “The only phone with a built-in iPod” Listen fanboy, Spotify for smartphones beats the shit out of walking around with an iPod. As a matter of fact, the only thing that makes the iPod special is its software, wich i hate.
          I'd much rather not have to use their bullshit “iTunes” and simply just drag and drop all my songs on to my phone as i did with any other mp3 player. Then i can download whatever app i want to customize my music player.

          Your argument is invalid. And dont try to imply that the iPhone is somehow a cheap phone, its one of the most expensive pieces of shit out there if you dont want to bind it to a provider, wich still makes it extremely expensive.

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    • Masztaar

      Look, HTC desire beats iPhone 4 in every aspect save for the screen, Samsung Galaxy S beats iPhone in every aspect.

      Since android is an OS, and iPhone is the only phone using IOS4, then we definitely compare any phone to the iPhone.

      I have done this so much today that i CBA to write everything that sucks with the iPhone compared to android, but i have to ask you this: Did you read the article above? it points everything out – the iPhone doesnt lose on “certain aspects”, thats just defense talk. The iPhone is a BAD DEVICE.
      It's multitasking is inferior, its antenna is inferior, its screen has pixel and color issues, they put the volume buttons upside down, its operating system is inferior, its processor has the same speed as the three month older HTC Desire – All this compared to oh lets just say HTC Desire.

      What you just said is like saying “lets compare a brick with another brick”
      The rest of us are interested in content.

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  • phila

    JP, you want everything else to work?
    You mean like the calls to drop when you're holding it in your left hand?
    You mean to have the volume buttons the wrong way round? (I mean, SERIOUSLY!)
    You mean like multi-tasking only working properly on iOS4 developed apps? (others have to re-start when you switch to them)

    If that's what iPhone users believe is WORKING, then I'd hate to see your definition of a non-working phone.

    Yes, the interface is lovely, but the functionality is sadly lacking MANY features to make it a real smart phone to compare to others out there at the moment – even BlackBerry have had proper multi-tasking for about 3-4 years, so why can't Apple do it properly after all of this time?

    Steve Jobs makes out that everything they're adding is new and “invented” by them – the only way you can call it “new” is if you say “new to iPhone”, which if you remember the first one, it didn't do a LOT that other phones had been doing for 5+ years (like forwarding a message)

    The best thing you can say about the iPhones is that the interface is very well done, but it's like saying that you bought your car because you like the layout of the dashboard, but you can't indicate and have the AC on at the same time, you're limited to filling up at the iGas Station (which takes 3x as long to fill up your tank and you can only get a full tank, not put just $5 in), and your car cuts out at random times because you're holding the steering wheel “the wrong way” – while everyone else on the road is faster, getting better gas mileage, carrying more passengers, and have greater flexibility of design, but your dashboard has pretty lights, so that makes the car better, right? :P
    (the “3x as long” comment was in relation to how long it takes iTunes to fully synch while other phone OSs allow you to copy/delete/move files at will)

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  • Antvb

    I am not going to say you'r not right. But the title suggests a comparison vs Android phones.
    I don't see much of a comparison here.

    I mean, okay the've got the buttons in the wrong order in 0,..% of the phones.. But thats HW and says nothing about how Android does it.. since thats pure SW.
    And I am sure that whoever produces phones with Android running on them will have some of these problems as well. If you would put those numbers next to each other I would be able to conclude myself if Apples iPone actually is that bad. But all I see here is a lot of emotional arguments..

    As if a regular user actually understands the meaning of multitasking?? And would die to have it running like a charm?

    I mean I could write the same artical about Andoid phones summing up all weaknesses I could find or that people supposedly report somewhere on the net.

    So i would LOVE to see a proper comparison with a conclusion founded on a bit more scientific research instead summing up weaknesses of the one and leaving the other out of the equation.

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  • Zaycolvin

    I personally love android phones and I encourage iphone users to switch…

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  • Chad

    Just not having Flash support on the iphone was the deal breaker. I currently only run Android 2.1 on my phone I still have some flash support and the browser is actually faster.

    I ran an iPhone 4 on the same WiFi network as my android phone and my android phone loaded the whole page faster than the iPhone did.

    All of the other issues with the iPhone also didn’t help my decision to get an iPhone. Bad Reception, hardware errors and what not is not what I want in a phone, since my next phone at the time was going to be a business phone.

    One thing I like the iPhone for is the email app.

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