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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